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  • Terry Awards – The Petersens Win Little Big Show and Fiddle Player of the Year

    Terry Awards – The Petersens Win Little Big Show and Fiddle Player of the Year

    Katie Petersen Wins Fiddle Player of the Year When it comes to playing the fiddle, it’s hard to find anyone who does it better or with as much heart as our lovely Katie. This past year she has spent many extra hours practicing and taking her talent to the next level and we love seeing her recognized for all her hard work. This award was an especially high honor because of the other incredibly skilled fiddle players who were nominated and grace stages day after day in Branson, Missouri. Other nominees included Nathan Agdeppa of The Baldknobbers, Wayne Massengale of Grand Country, Amy Dutton of The Duttons, Janice Martin of A Janice Martin Cirque Show, and Louis Darby of The Sons of Britches. The Petersens Win Little Big Show of the Year The Little Big Show of the Year award is given to a show that performs in a theater that seats less than 500 people. We are so honored to be given this award and to play week after week in the Little Opry Theater. The small size of our theater allows us to interact with our audience and provides an intimate feel and connection unlike any other venue in Branson. Other nominees included The Sons of Britches, Johnson Strings, A Tribute to George Strait Dinner Show, Doo-Wop & The Drifters, and 50 Years of Kenny Rogers. The Terry Awards The Terry Awards is an incredible organization founded by Terry Beene as a way to recognize entertainers in the Branson community. For more information about the awards, you can visit their website here. The event is open to the public and you can like their Facebook page for more updates and pictures. Many thanks to The Branson Insider for the pictures.
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  • The Petersens Perform at Ellsworth Correctional Facility

    The Petersens Perform at Ellsworth Correctional Facility

    Our Most Captive Audience On The Road Again For the past several years our family has had the opportunity to travel and play music in different countries. We are set to return for our third Ireland tour in January of 2019 and are currently on our second tour in Canada this summer.  It is an honor to share the American culture through our music while creating fun memories and stories along the way. The full-time Branson show is our dream job, but it is fun to shake things up a bit, explore very different venues, and grow as a band. In addition to touring internationally, our new 2018 Branson show schedule allows us to take short road trips to a larger region. In June we played evening shows in the cities of Abilene and Hays, Kansas, through BDS Productions reuniting with old friends and making new ones.  We were treated so well and had a great time. It was a blast! We also added an early afternoon program at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. This would be our first opportunity to perform in a correctional institution.  Randy and Emmett Franz said they had spent a lot of time in and out of prison (playing music, of course) and that it would be a great experience.  We accomplished all the extra paperwork for ourselves and our equipment for pre-approval. Surprisingly, both the banjo and Matt made the cut. Ellsworth Spiritual Life Center Inside Ellsworth Correctional Facility stands a small beautiful chapel called the Spiritual Life Center (SLC) which seats around 300. It is the pride and joy of the prison and the community.  The surrounding private and corporate community raised funding for the materials, and the “offenders” built it themselves. We passed through security and questioning, then were escorted to the chapel. It actually had a great stage and a complete sound system.  Everyone was so proud of the chapel and eager to assist us in any way. Two guards were stationed in the back of the room during the standing room only concert in case they were needed, but, truth be told, we have never played to a more appreciative and attentive crowd. They cheered for all the instrumental solos, clapped along during our upbeat bluegrass songs, teared up during Beulah Land, gave a standing ovation for More Than a Name on a Wall, and screamed out “GET IT, MAMA!” louder than we’ve ever heard. A Moving Experience After the show, every single man stood in line single file to get our autographs on specially made postcards with our pictures.  They thanked us for taking the time to visit their facility. They said they laughed at how Matt picked on us. It reminded them of their childhood and siblings. They loved how proud we were of Julianne as she sang and played her mandolin. I was humbled by how they said they saw Jesus in our family. They were grateful to us for coming out of our way to bless them.  One comment I remember in particular was from an older gentleman with tears in his eyes. As he shook my hand he said, “You made me feel free for an hour.” Bittersweet Reflections Overall it was a bittersweet experience.  We all walked to the van thoughtful of the contrasts we had witnessed, men who were paying the price of imprisonment for crime, yet some were full of love and hope there.  The Christian community was loving and strong for each other. The love shown from the chaplain, his wife, and the town who cared for these men and sacrificed to make it a better place.  We all agreed we wanted to reach out to this segment of society again. It was a great reminder of the hope and promise God offers everyone and how beautiful it is to share that message with others. Our dad has always prayed Philemon verse 6 over our family’s music. “And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” We all have so much for which to be thankful.
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  • The Petersens at Silver Dollar City’s 2018 Bluegrass & BBQ Festival

    The Petersens at Silver Dollar City’s 2018 Bluegrass & BBQ Festival

    Bluegrass and BBQ Festival Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ festival has arrived again and for the Petersen family this is the most wonderful time of the year! Bluegrass enthusiasts, including many family bands, from all over the country and even the world will be traveling to Branson, MO to participate and listen to their favorite music and musicians.  In the bluegrass community, the month of May in Branson becomes a big family reunion. KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Competition One of the highlights of the festival will be the 17th annual KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest on May 26 held in the Opera House at Silver Dollar City. Young bluegrass players, under the age of 21, accompanied by family members will compete as bands in two rounds for separate panels of judges. The contest is much more than a competition for the participants. It is a time of networking, building lifelong friendships, learning and encouragement for everyone involved. Frequently, the participants gather the evening before the contest to perform their songs for each other to offer constructive criticism and encouragement to their fellow musicians. On contest day, the bands cheer each other on both backstage and from the audience. The Petersen family thoroughly enjoyed playing in the KSMU contest for several years and had two second place finishes.  Even though their contest days have ended, the friendships have endured and grown over the years and they now enjoy going and cheering on the next generation of bluegrass kids. The Draw of Bluegrass Community The community of bluegrass musicians and fans is what initially attracted the Petersens to bluegrass music. In 2004, the Petersens were vacationing in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and attended their first bluegrass festival. After meeting several of the musicians and family bands at the festival, the Petersens fell in love with the bluegrass family and began their own bluegrass journey.  Fourteen years later the Petersens perform full-time as a bluegrass band with their own show in Branson, MO.  The Petersens perform three days a week at the Little Opry Theatre located inside the Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex and perform in special engagements in other venues by request. The Heart Behind the Bluegrass Festival The Petersens are very grateful to Silver Dollar City, the Herschend family and D. A. Callaway for providing their first stage and wonderful fans to play for at the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival. The heart and driving force of the festival is D. A. Callaway who encouraged the family from the very beginning giving them the Medicine Wagon stage for performances in 2007.  Mr. Callaway has encouraged  many families with his kind words and respectful treatment for bands at all levels of ability.  He has connected the bluegrass community in many wonderful ways by providing venues and making introductions.   His particular heart for young musicians and families playing bluegrass music together along with Silver Dollar City’s outstanding stages and patrons continue to inspire new musicians and promote established bands.  The Petersens’ opportunities to perform at the park allow them opportunities to grow as a band, gain new fans and play alongside the world’s best musicians.  The Petersens will be performing at the Bluegrass and BBQ festival this year on May 10th and 11th at the Dockside theatre. They will perform four shows per day at the following times: 11:15 AM, 1:30 PM, 3:45 PM and 5:00 PM. The Petersens in Branson If you are unable to catch The Petersens at Silver Dollar City, you can find them all year at the Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex. Their show is currently rated #2 on TripAdvisor out of 153 shows and attractions in Branson. They perform their Bluegrass and Gospel show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 PM and their all new Gospel show on Sundays at 2:00 PM. You can find their upcoming show schedule here.
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  • The Petersens Take Fourth Place at SPBGMA’s International Band Competition

    The Petersens Take Fourth Place at SPBGMA’s International Band Competition

    Branson’s bluegrass family makes strong showing at SPBGMA international bluegrass championship Each February the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) hosts an event drawing bluegrass musicians from around the world to the Bluegrass Music Awards, National Convention & International Band Championship in Nashville, Tennessee. Many well-known bluegrass bands got their start through the band competition including Alison Krauss and Flatt Lonesome. Bands competed twice on Saturday, February 3 at the Sheraton Music City Hotel, with a final round on Sunday. Ten years ago, when the Petersens had just started performing, they competed in the championship and placed 24th out of 25 bands. 2018 was the first year they had returned to the event and the family was very excited to advance to 4th place overall. To help them prepare, The Petersens worked with John Chapman, a past winner and owner of the Acoustic Shoppe in Springfield, Missouri. Taking the band’s musicality to a new level is their newest and highly-praised member, Emmett Franz, on the dobro. Participating in the competition made The Petersens more polished than ever, and they are excited to showcase the songs throughout the 2018 season. For a complete show schedule, see the Show Dates page. Tickets for their Branson show can be purchased here.
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  • New Year, New Opportunities

    New Year, New Opportunities

    It seems like there is never a dull season for the Petersens. The band could not be more excited for 2018 with its brand new Branson show schedule, Ellen free from graduate school, and another Canadian tour in the works. Julianne is currently a sophomore at Gloria Deo Academy and is enjoying taking some dual-enrollment college classes through Drury in Springfield. Matt has taken over many of the band responsibilities and has become quite the businessman. The Branson bluegrass show will kick back off January 20th at 7:30 PM at The Little Opry and continue on Saturdays through the end of February when the new schedule begins. The band will miss the first Saturday in February as they head to Nashville to compete! Keep reading for more news and updates on the Petersens. In the fall, Ellen graduated with her Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a graduate certificate in Marketing from Missouri State University. Ellen worked as a graduate assistant in the College of Business Graduate Programs Office throughout her time as a student in order to graduate debt-free. Working to pay for her education was not a foreign concept to Ellen as Kaite, Matt, and Ellen all worked their way through College of the Ozarks to earn their bachelor degrees. Ellen received attention from the Springfield News-Leader for her unique path through business school and music and the article can be found here. Ellen will use her MBA to help run the bluegrass band and teach part-time business classes to undergraduate students at Missouri State. Katie has loved teaching fiddle and piano to students in the Branson and Springfield area the past couple of years. She teaches all ages and skill levels and enjoys passing her love of music on to others. Pictured here are some of her fiddle students at their 2017 Christmas recital. If you or someone you know is interested in fiddle lessons, Katie can be reached by email at kathrynlpetersen@gmail.com. The Petersens enjoy visiting Nashville every now and then for the country music scene and to see several friends who have moved there over the years. We always make it a point to see a show at the Station Inn when in town and while seeing Fireball Mail perform there in January, the band was called on stage for an impromptu performance! The bluegrass community is always so encouraging and supportive and instances like that are always a wonderful reminder of how great this culture of bluegrass truly is. The Petersens are heading back to Nashville the first weekend in February to compete in the SPBGMA International Band Championship. A schedule for events for the convention can be found here. We would love to have you join us and cheer us on!
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  • Shenandoah CD Release Party at The Little Opry

    Shenandoah CD Release Party at The Little Opry

    CD Release Party for Shenandoah The Petersens are excited to announce the completion of “Shenandoah”, their newest album. To celebrate the nine-month project, The Petersens’ Sunday, October 22 show has been designated as the Shenandoah CD Release Party.  At this concert, The Petersens will play through the entire Shenandoah CD track-by-track sharing the history and inspiration behind each song as well as some of the funny things that happened along the journey. About the Album The Petersens began working on Shenandoah back in January. This is the second album that John Chapman from The Chapmans has produced for them in the DigiGrass Music studio in Ozark, MO. The album features a mixture of original music, gospel, acapella, and, of course, some hard driving bluegrass. While the recording process started in January, thanks to Ellen’s busy graduate school schedule, Katie moving to Nicaragua for the Spring (more details here), Matt finishing his last semester of college at College of the Ozarks, and Julianne breaking her wrist, the actual album was not finished until early October. Needless to say, The Petersens are VERY excited to share their music with everyone. The release party is one of the last shows of the regular season as Christmas shows start in November. The Petersens’ show schedule switches from Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 5 PM to just Sundays for November and December. The Real Hero This album would not have happened without the one and only John Chapman. He is quite possibly the only person the Petersens know that is busier than themselves. John spent countless days working in the Acoustic Shoppe, teaching lessons till 9 PM, and THEN working with the Petersens far into the night. He helped choose the songs, arrange the selections, and then coached them every step of the way in the studio. From laying down the guitar, teaching Ellen banjo licks, and adding many extra special effects to the album (which may or may not have included hammering on pipes), John went above and beyond to make Shenandoah an album we are all proud of. The Petersens want to extend a huge thank you to all of the Chapmans for putting up with us and making our album sound so amazing. Event Details The Shenandoah CD Release Party will be held at the Little Opry Theater.  The Little Opry Theater is located inside the Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex. The theater is a perfect venue for the event as it is where The Petersens have their weekly bluegrass shows. The theatre seats just over 200 people and we recommend early to reserve your seats. To reserve tickets for the 5 PM Sunday, October 22nd special show, call the IMAX  box office at 417-335-4832. For more current event details, check out the event page on Facebook.
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  • A Summer Full of Bluegrass

    A Summer Full of Bluegrass

    Summer Kicks Off with Bluegrass & BBQ Katie returned from Nicaragua, Julianne’s cast came off, Matt graduated from college, Ellen is finishing final exams, and The Petersens are ready for some BLUEGRASS! There could be no better way to kick off a summer of music than performing at Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass & BBQ Festival. If you have never made it out to this three week bluegrass festival, you should definitely make plans to do so and see us on stage May 14th and 21st at the Boatworks Theatre. We will be performing four different sets each day at 1 PM, 2 PM, 3 PM, and 4 PM, followed by, of course, a mad dash to the Little Opry Theatre for our 5 PM show.  This endeavor will be entertainment in itself. Cheers to coffee, prayer, and speeding. #BlessGrass (Katie’s idea) Plot Twist: We Actually Leave the House this Summer Other shows outside of Branson include performing for the American Medical Association’s presidential inauguration of Dr. David Barbe in Chicago. He is an old family friend from Mountain Grove and we are honored to be included in his ceremony. We will also be playing at churches and other local events this summer (more on that here). But wait, there’s more! Another set of shows we are excited about will happen during The Petersens’ second international Ireland tour.  This July, the whole family will tour together for one week and then split for the fourth annual #sibtrip in Europe! Home Sweet Home While traveling is fun, nothing compares to the love we have for our weekend shows at the Little Opry Theatre. Our locals who come week after week are like family to us and we feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share our lives and music with them. Petersens Performing at the Little Opry Theatre Bring. It. On. Here’s to another summer of traveling, music, coffee, Jesus, and spending time with those we love most. And, of course, BLUEGRASS. Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaw!
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  • Katie Reflects on Her Internship in Nicaragua

    Katie Reflects on Her Internship in Nicaragua

    The Call to Nicaragua I have been extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to spend the past three months serving in Nicaragua. I had been praying for a chance to serve in a Latin American country for several years and studied Spanish in high school and college and had been saving money in the process of waiting. Last December, I heard about the Taellor’s House internship through Denise Meyer, and after she interviewed me and told me about what we would be involved with as interns, I felt God’s confirmation specifically in three areas I had been praying for: 1) Wanting to spend time dedicated to serving others besides myself. 2) Wanting to learn how to speak Spanish fluently. 3) Wanting to explore teaching to see if I should pursue that further as a possible career option. Denise explained that I would be able to pursue all three of these things during my time here, and she was right. The Beautiful Nicaraguan People I had never been to Nicaragua before, and upon arriving on February 4th, I was immediately taken back on how beautiful the country was. However, that pales in comparison to how beautiful the people are. I have fallen in love with the warm and selfless hearts of the Nicaraguan people, and they have taught me and shown me the beauty of putting the needs and interests of others above your own. The other two girls interning with me at Taellor’s House have become two of my best friends, and we loved getting to serve together as a team. Daily Life at Taellor’s House My weekly schedule involved teaching English at Taellor’s House on Tuesday’s, Music/Dance on Thursdays, and serving with Aida and the Project Hope medical team once a week going to different villages to provide treatment to those in need. When teams were on base, I enjoyed getting to interact with them as well and was able to help build houses a couple of times! There were several good things to be involved in, but God almost immediately showed me where my heart would be most invested at: Taellor’s House. The kids won my heart over in no time at all, and God has allowed me to develop deep relationships with several of them. Words cannot describe how much I have been impacted by their love and how quick they are to trust and love on the people around them. One of my favorite parts of the day at Taellor’s House is when the gates open in the morning and they all come running in with big smiles on their faces to come up and hug you. I get sad every day when school is over and they have to go home. It’s like a part of me goes home with them and won’t come back until the next morning. The kids are always excited to learn something new and we had so much fun learning new songs and line dancing! One of my favorite memories is watching each of their faces explode with excitement as they played my ukulele and violin for the first time! They absolutely loved taking turns and singing while each of their classmates played the chords behind them. Each morning and afternoon before classes started we would have a devotional time where we sang through all of the songs we had learned followed by one of the teachers or the principle teaching from a Bible passage. The staff and teachers at Taellor’s House are some of my favorite people and closest friends I developed while in Nicaragua. They all have hearts for the Lord and genuinely cared about how I was doing every day. I felt like I had a family working alongside me each day I was there. I learned most of my Spanish just by interacting with them at mealtimes and having conversations throughout the day. Katie playing music with children at Taellor’s House Challenges and Blessings Through all the wonderful experiences I had here, there were also a lot of difficult circumstances to work through as well as unexpected situations that I had not encountered before, but I have found them to be very strong reminders for me that we live in a sinful world where nothing is perfect, and there is only one place that is. One day we will have complete perfection living in the presence of our Lord where there will be no more pain, no more injustice, and no more goodbyes. I have been praying that God would allow me to see with his eyes, listen with his ears, work with his hands, and break my heart for the things that break his, and he has been faithful to do that over and over again during my time here. I have also found that when I seem to be challenged the most in my own life, I draw nearer to God than ever before. It ends up being a sweet blessing resulting in a closer relationship with Jesus. God greatly impacted my life through living in Nicaragua for this very short period of time, and the Katie going back home is a different girl than the one that got here on February 4th. Dios le bendiga, ~Katie Petersen Katie with children at Taellor’s House
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  • Spring Show News

    Spring Show News

    Winter Season Comes to an End It’s March!  Wow!  It’s hard to believe the winter season has come and gone. We just finished our first weekend of the regular season schedule of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 5 PM. During January and February, we worked up a lot of new songs and even a new acapella.  The winter season was a challenge as we juggled learning the new show and adjusting to Katie’s temporary absence.  We now feel like we have found our groove with Julianne on fiddle and singing on most songs, and we have loved having Get It Mama back on stage with us. All About That Bass The first three-show weekend at the IMAX was another juggling act!  Our bass player, Eric Green, took the weekend off to be a part of College of the Ozark’s spring production, Meet Me in St. Louis. A big thanks goes out to our dear friend, Kyle Barnard, who filled in on bass Friday night. We first met Kyle when he was guitarist and lead singer for the Sherman Mountain Boys , the winning band in the 2012 Youth in Bluegrass Contest at Silver Dollar City. Saturday and Sunday was a special treat for us because our dad came back to the stage to play bass in the family band.  It was fun to perform with both of our parents again. There will always be something sweet about playing music as a family and we are so grateful to have bluegrass and gospel music to bring us all together. Spring Break! I don’t think anyone in the Petersen family knows what the word “break” actually means. While most Branson shows close down during the winter season, since 2010 we have kept playing through the winter.  We had to go to school anyway, so why not?!? One of the perks of being in school is the glorious week in March called Spring Break. Ellen is currently in graduate school at Missouri State University earning her Master of Business Administration with a graduate certificate in marketing. She will be traveling to Cuba for 10 days for her international marketing credits. As entertaining as “The Matt and Julianne Show” could be, the band as a whole vetoed that idea, so there will be no shows for the middle weekends in March while Ellen is out of country. Spring Show Schedule Our show will resume the last weekend of March and stay strong until our tour to Ireland in July. Be sure to check our Tour Dates tab to have the most up-to-date show schedule and information.
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  • Winter Update: Lots of Changes for The Petersens

    Winter Update: Lots of Changes for The Petersens

    It’s Show Time! We are so excited to be back in the Little Opry Theatre after a restful winter break and have lots of things we want to update y’all with for this upcoming season. We spent a majority of our time off working on our next album (more to come on that later) and learning new songs for the show. We are bringing back several of last year’s favorite numbers like Julianne’s version of Fields of Gold, but I think you will really enjoy our new additions. The Return of Kardboard Katie A big challenge we will face this Spring is (more…)
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  • A Branson Bluegrass Christmas

    A Branson Bluegrass Christmas

    Christmas Show Time! Christmas is in full swing in Branson and we are thrilled to join in the festivities with our bluegrass Christmas show! The first half of our show still has all the bluegrass favorites, but the second half has all new holiday material that we were thrilled to debut last Sunday. For the show, we are adding standards like Silent Night and Joy to the World as well as some great bluegrass Christmas songs like Santa Train by the great Patty Loveless. Because we will only have four Christmas shows at the Little Opry, but are adding some extra tour dates out of town in Osage Beach, Bowling Green, and Pella, Iowa.The first memories we have singing together are from when we were kids living in Florida. We used to all grab jingle bells and walk through our neighborhood and carol as a family. We still enjoy caroling and make sure to include that as a part of our Christmas festivities every year. Joy to the World As some of you know Ellen is working on her MBA at Missouri State and as a project for a management class she had the band work up Joy to the World to post on YouTube. How many people can say they played their banjo for a graduate school requirement? Music continues to open doors for us in all different walks of life and we will forever be grateful to have it as a part of our lives. We have loved adding all these classic songs to the show and hope you get the chance to come see us at the Little Opry Theatre!  
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  • The Petersens are Listed on TripAdvisor!

    The Petersens are Listed on TripAdvisor!

    Moving on up in our Branson Show Reviews! This year we have really been working hard to promote our Branson show at the Little Opry Theatre. We are so thankful to have a steady job (as musicians that is no easy feat) and the intimacy that the Little Opry provides is a perfect fit for our bluegrass show. We were recently listed on TripAdvisor as an attraction and started out as #395 out of #384 (not even sure how that is possible haha). The last time I checked the concerts and shows category we were #61 out of #158! TripAdvisor is a great tool that allows visitors to read real Branson show reviews to make their decision on what attractions will be worth their time. We greatly appreciate everyone taking the time to rate us. The reviews are so encouraging and we love reading feedback on our show. If you haven’t already done so, click on the link below and help us out.
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