School is starting up again for the year and that means Karen and Abigail are signing up more violin and piano students! They teach everyone from wonderful retired adults who are seeking to learn a new skill or fulfill a dream, to little kids that are fascinated by music and enjoy teachers who make learning interesting and fun for them.
PURE JOY! Be sure to experience The Johnson Strings Christmas show this November and December! Listening to strings at Christmas - what could be more fitting for the season?
Come see this family of 8 award-winning musicians and vocalists cut loose in a fun-filled Christmas show that will steal your heart! Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Piano, Mandolin, Banjo, and Vocals! Enjoy amazing cookies and brownies made from scratch by our in-house chef!
***Call 417-231-2420 for tickets!***
At the historic Majestic Steaks building theater- 2849 Gretna Rd. behind the Tanger Outlet Mall in Branson, MO. Click here to purchase tickets: http://www.thejohnsonstrings.com/purchase-tickets/
Sit back and relax during special renditions the Hallelujah Chorus and the Nutcracker. Clap along to banjo and mandolin on Jingle Bells and see trick fiddling on The Orange Blossom Special. Experience a stirring patriotic tribute and then listen to the celestial sounds of What Child is This, done in a way you've never seen before! See four people play one grand piano (that's 40 fingers on only 88 keys), and then listen to Silas sing O Holy Night. That's only the beginning! We'd love to see you at our Branson Show! The Johnson Strings Christmas!
Shooting video in the rain.....or at least shooting between downpours! What fun. NOT! It was discouraging to get all the paperwork done, logistics worked out, and time spent to drive all the way to MO, only to be met with BAD weather! But, God worked out everything for the best and we came away with a video that has more weather features than we had originally planned on! His ways are always best, even though while you’re going through them, it can be easy to wonder.
As you can see above, we did all sorts of things to keep the rain off the instruments as much as possible!
Umbrellas were our best friends.
The details: We arrived at the location only to have the skies pour and drizzle. Even though the rain lasted all day, we were able to shoot video now and then when the skies let up. The canopy we brought along at the last minute was invaluable - we were able run under it when it poured and also do some closeups under it during the rain. I would be almost out from under the canopy on one side while the soloist would be as far away from me as possible while still remaining under the canopy. Crowded! Have you ever tried to get 8 people, 8 instruments (including a piano), a generator, umbrellas, and camera equipment all under 1 ten by ten foot canopy? It was tough to keep stuff dry! Beth (a very nice runner) brought us towels to use in drying off our instruments and even opened up her home in case we needed a place to warm up/dry off - thanks Beth!
Here, you can see the canopy when it was only filled with 4 people and part of the equipment - we weren't even shooting footage under it!
Because of all the rain, we weren't able to capture all the footage we were hoping for, so we were able to schedule a return to the park (on our way home from Texas) to finish the video. The only problem was it poured Monday morning when we were again scheduled to shoot video - thankfully, the rain dried up mid-morning, and were were able to grab a few shots before heading home!
I forgot to mention: the hill here was treacherous for filmmakers trying to get a smooth shot without stepping in holes and slipping a bit on rocks!
Take a listen here and see what you think! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8LsbYpw-2w
In case you’re interested, here’s the backstory behind this unique burned out castle:
According to local folklore, Ha Ha Tonka is an Osage Indian word for laughing waters, alluding to the springs in the gorge far below the castle. This American mansion was built by Robert M. Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City businessman, on more than 5,000 acres. Construction began in 1905 only to be halted a year later with the untimely death of Snyder in one of the state's first automobile accidents. Snyder's sons finished building their father's dream, eventually leasing the property out for use as a hotel, until tragedy struck in 1942. The entire interior was consumed by fire when sparks from a chimney ignited the roof. Today only ruins remain of one man’s dream.
It must have been gorgeous before, but I love the feel it has now!
Check it out on YouTube!
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 see the finished video on YouTube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUigOhTXUNg
The reflector came in useful for this shot. Karen could feel the heat of the sun!
My highlighted, detailed shot list and notes. (These were actually the notes from Granny, Does Your Dog Bite, but you get the idea!)
Luke, Seth, and my dad took turns filming a few moving shots that included me.
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!
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!
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUigOhTXUNg
See you later!
Hi again, everyone! Time has been flying along at break-neck speed around here, hence the sad shortage of blog posts recently! Hopefully that shortage will be fixed soon. Anyway, to get to the exciting part, we have now released our next YouTube video!!! Granny, Does Your Dog Bite? You can watch it here, like it at the link below, and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you will be notified when our next video comes out!
Time for some behind-the-scenes details and pictures!
Do you see the stream? It's deeper and more slippery to cross than it looks! We threw one pair of mud boots in the van when we were packing and used those and a handy stick to ferry people across the stream... put on mud boots, hold onto stick, wade across stream with expensive instrument, have someone on the opposite bank toss your shoes over to you after you've crossed, toss the mud boots back over the stream, repeat!
Yep. It was interesting getting the piano and the bass down there.
Toby, our dog, was hilarious! The out-takes of him are definitely worth watching. After we told him to "go get it!" to eat the sandwich, Luke was on the opposite side of the camera with a dog treat to call him after he snarfed down one sandwich quarter. After doing the take a couple of times, Toby got wise, looked at Luke, and then snarfed down a second sandwich quarter before running to Luke. It was a riot!
Getting the cellos safely into the watery cave!
Our two cellists! You can't imagine how cold the spring water was coming out of the cave!!! The boys' feet were quite cold at the end of this scene!
To get to the next location meant packing up all the various instruments and camera equipment, and carrying everything to the next spot where we unpacked it all again! Generator, amplifier, piano, bass, instruments, etc....
Of course, for this video we had Toby with us, so we all had to make sure all the dog hair was gone from our clothes before each take! It was worth it, though, to have him along!
Well, I'll leave you with this image - our very buggy scene! Bugs in our eyes, bugs in our mouths, and so on!
It was a fun, exhausting, and rewarding day!
P.S. Our next video is on track to be released in two weeks!