Throwback Thursday Video and Before & After Pictures!

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For Throwback Thursday, check out this never-released video of The Johnson Strings at the James J Hill House Mansion singing "Life is Hard"!

Did you know? This beautiful mansion was once used as a convent, and NUNS used to roller skate on the marble floors in the basement!
Also, check out the fire-breathing dragon gas lamps, the green leather wallpaper, the carved woodwork, and the gold leaf ceiling! Pretty cool! Be sure to like it and share it with your friends!
Here is the LINK:  

Before and After - The Transformation of our Theater:
Many people have been asking about our gorgeous little theater that we remodeled before opening our show in June of 2017, so here are a few before, during, and after pictures! We started the renovation process in March of 2017 and then worked SUPER hard, super LONG days to get everything finished in time for our opening on June 8th, 2017! In the picture below, you can see the progress… we went from a white ceiling, brown walls with white spider-webbing on them, ripply carpet, ugly lighting, curtains instead of doors in 4 areas, and a kitchen badly in need of an update, to the beautiful space we have now! 

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Here you can see progress on the painting job, a wall taken out to free up space, and the start of the new doors being put in! 

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Gold walls, black ceilings, chandeliers, a cute little kitchen, re-stretched carpet, new baseboards and trim, and a baby grand player piano certainly make our theater very inviting!

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And of course, here is the renovated theater itself, complete with Luke’s beautiful new stage lighting!

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One thing we enjoy when we are not working at the theater is playing family games while eating dark chocolate and drinking tea! Do we have any Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights fans out there?

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We've got a show tonight, so I better sign off for now!
Laura for The Johnson Strings

"I Will Sing" Music Video - Behind the Scenes

Although it doesn't show in the video, we were battling soggy ground, mud, and later lots of rain on the way home! This made walking somewhat treacherous for the girls, who were in heels....we had many clean up sessions in-between takes! 

Making music videos is an adventure. This one was no different! With hours of travel time and many hours of filming, we had one long 16 hour work day!

Karen wasn't quite tall enough to get the shot I needed here, so we helped her out!

...relaxing when it's not their turn to be filmed...

Here, the guys are a safety net to make sure no one tumbles off the edge of the bridge during a song take!

Just (carefully) having some fun!

...getting set up at the English Garden... It's a race against time! Once the sun moves enough, the lighting will turn ugly and we'll have to move on to a different shot.

Waiting to start playing once again... By the end of the day, you have played the song so many times that your fingers begin to rebel! 

Dad had to stick his end pin into a piece of wood to keep it from sinking into the soft earth.

...what a cute, young praying mantis - how nice of him to pay us a visit!

Dad had a marvelous idea to end our long day... go to Culver's! Both the food and the frozen yogurt were especially delicious due to the fact that we were so worn out and hungry!

To watch the finished video, click on the link below! 

This movie was filmed on location at The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Visit them at 

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Schindler's List Video Shoot - Behind the Scenes!

To see the finished video on YouTube, go to 

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The reflector came in useful for this shot. Karen could feel the heat of the sun!

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My highlighted, detailed shot list and notes. (These were actually the notes from Granny, Does Your Dog Bite, but you get the idea!)

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Luke, Seth, and my dad took turns filming a few moving shots that included me. 

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This was definitely the toughest shot of the movie! As the last scene, I wanted a drive-away moving shot. With all sorts of bumps and ruts in the road, getting a smooth shot wasn't easy! Seth hung out the back door and held the Glidecam HD 4000 for me while I filmed. Luke was at the wheel. After trying several takes with the Jeep, we got the winning take using our Sprinter van. That way, we were able to stand up and hang out the back doors, absorbing the bumps with our knees. All in all, it was quite a feat to keep our outfits clean during the whole process!

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Before filming, we moved all the items that wouldn't fit the look we were after.

Inside the vandalized house - because of its age and the vandalism, this house fit the "war scene" feel very well. We were thrilled that we were able to get permission to film in this perfect location!

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Filming the night scene was both fun and eerie! I could really feel the music!

Talking about how we should film the next scene...

Preparing mentally before another take...


Again, if you're curious to see how these bits and pieces came together in the finished product, go to 

See you later!

New YouTube Video!

We were all dead tired after 11 straight hours of filming! I'll share some fun behind-the-scenes pictures and stories later!

We finally have our Schindler's List video up on YouTube! I know some of you have found it by yourselves, but now after working through some technicalities, we're excited to have it up! Have fun watching - and don't forget to subscribe to our channel - our next video will be coming out soon! In the music video below we perform Theme from Schindler's List, a sad movie about the Holocaust. During the Holocaust, about 11 million people (many of them Jews) were exterminated, which is why we chose the somber settings and graveyard scenes.
Here's the link to view it on YouTube!