ACQ 2015

The Appalachian Christmas Quartet
December 4, 2015
West Side Christian Church
Springfield, Illinois's what's happening! Our cruise director for the weekend, Randy Brown, takes across the Missouri River at just after our first photo op. (photo by Danl Blackwood) Here is most of our group of ACQ Roadtrippers, most of whom met face-to-face for the first time that morning. We would be meeting one more in Springfield. Per Randy's recommendation, we had just stopped at this Mark Twain landmark outside of Hannibal MO for our first photo op.  (l. to r.) Danl Blackwood (Topeka), Betty Horn (Kechi), Connie Sibbe (Newton), Sue Boahn (Wichita), Randy Brown (Bennington), Aurora Myers (Haysville)   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Betty captured this pic of me directing the pose as I set up for a self-timed shot (see previous photo). I am always amazed at the faces I make when shooting. :-)    (photo by Betty Horn)
We arrived at West Side Christian Church in Springfield with plenty of time to spare (as planned, thanks to Randy!), and after setting up in the sanctuary, I took a moment to relax in their Fireside Cafe. (photo by Danl Blackwood) We have cafe's in Topeka that are not this nice, and I'm certain there aren't ANY that serve a bacon, egg, and cheddar breakfast sandwich and carmel latte as awesome as the West Side Christian Church Fireside Cafe.  (photo by Danl Blackwood) From the moment we walked in West Side Christian Church, I felt at home. This is certainly not unusual, but this church family could be the poster church for how to greet and treat visitors! The lady on the right, Diane Beeman (Facilities Coordinator), was one of the first people I talked to. She very quickly made me feel welcome, and accomodated my repeated requests for info and access. So I want to take this opportunity to send a great big THANKYOU West Side CC from our whole crew! At the ACQ Merch table, (l. to r.) Brenda Reavis, Diane's husband Jay Beeman, and Diane.    (photo by Danl Blackwood) Just before the showtime, I was very pleased to see this family. Jen Guyer (on the left) has been a "ragamuffin" friend for a very long time, having first met online when she was a subscriber to the Rich Mullins Mailing List I moderated in the 90s. Jen and her family had traveled from St Charles (near St Louis) to Wichita on more than one occasion to see ACQ in the "old days" (when I lived in Wichita and most all performances were only in or near Wichita). It was awesome to see them again. (l. to r.) Jen Guyer, Jacob Guyer, Alexa Guyer, John Guyer, Jessica Guyer   (photo by Danl Blackwood)
Michael tracked us down before the concert so he could meet those of our group he had not yet met, and to visit. He said he was very excited to have a bit of "home" in Springfield w/ACQ! So it was time for another group shot! This time with Michael and Lisa (left) who was the final member of our ACQ Roadtrippers group, having traveled from the opposite direction (near St Louis).  (l. to r.) Lisa VanOsdol, Aurora Myers, Connie Sibbe, Sue Boahn (front), Danl Blackwood (back), Randy Brown, Michael Aukofer, and Betty Horn.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Some of the little ones.  Jack A. Lope and his wife Pearl have been separated during ACQ's four year hiatus.  Jack has been responsible for these two little ones during his time in Illinois.  Pearl will rejoin the group as soon as ACQ makes it back to perform in Wichita (hint, hint)   (photo by Randy Brown) Betty with the little ones. (photo by Betty Horn) Since we were there before the crowds, Randy took the opportunity for a quick photo tour of the stage. Of course, boomwhackers, helmets, hats, vibraslaps, deskbells, castinets, noseflutes, Velcro everywhere – they are back at it with additional creativity!   (photo by Randy Brown)
Rob Farmer has a deep love for the washboard – which made it’s face known during the show.   (photo by Randy Brown) Rob and Eric were fighting for who could have more playing time on the autoharp.   (photo by Randy Brown) The lovely chime lyre made for Michael and the band by Jim Steck in Wichita KS. The double bass stands behind it.   (photo by Randy Brown) For a band that has been on hiatus, how do they have so many new arrangements (5 that are not on any of their previous recordings)?  There must be a new recording in the works!!!  (photo by Betty Horn)
West Side’s wonderful auditorium.  There were over a 1000 in attendance for the concert.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Now THAT’s a great band backdrop.  That jack-a-lope had to have been 10 feet tall.   (photo by Betty Horn) Jeanne Anne, Eric and Michael sang in wonderful harmony for the opener “Coming Home” while Jeanne Anne played concertina (wait, when did she learn to play that?!), Rob played accordion (wait, when did he learn to play that?!), Eric played the upright bass, Michael played the cello (wait, when did he learn to play the cello?!).   (photo by Danl Blackwood) The view from the balcony.  (photo by Danl Blackwood)
Michael and his cello.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Jeanne Anne on concertina with baby on board!!! Yep – Jeanne Anne and Michael are having their second child this April.  Their first, Clare, is 4.5 yrs old now.  (photo by Danl Blackwood) Rob Farmer and the accordion.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Eric Goodman and the bass. Eric is the newest ACQ member starting with the return from hiatus last year. Eric is also at home here as he is Worship Minister at West Side.  (photo by Danl Blackwood)
Rob on percussion (washboard and cans), Jeanne Anne on dulcimer, and Michael on banjo and harmonica.   (photo by Randy Brown) They are definitely back at it – incorporating multiple instruments into each arrangement.  The band has clearly spent time honing transitions and turning this into a top notch show – Wow!   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Rob and Michael – starting back in Wichita, they have played music together for over 20 year now.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Jeanne Anne on drums and harmonica, Michael on bass, Rob on dobro,  and Eric –on guitar and harmonica.   (photo by Danl Blackwood)
It wasn't until I was taking this picture that I realized this was a first, having never seen Michael on bass and Jeanne Anne on drums. This is now my new fav rhythm section!    (photo by Danl Blackwood) Rob really enjoyed getting out from behind the percussion this year and mixing in up with all of the other instruments.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Ah, the box bass.  Eric knows how to smaltz it up.  He was meant to be in this band.  I don’t know how they found him, but Eric fits with the band like a glove.   (photo by Randy Brown) Michael on mandocello and vocal on the new arrangement “Jack’s Playlist.”   (photo by Randy Brown)
Rob and Eric having a blast.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Eric mixing it up w/the audience,   (photo by Randy Brown) Jeanne Anne on flute and psaltry and foot bells for the new arrangement "O Come All Ye Faithful/Jesus Shall Reign."   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Michael on dulcimer, chime lyre, bells and soprano dulcimer for the new arrangement "O Come All Ye Faithful/Jesus Shall Reign."   (photo by Danl Blackwood)
The boys pounding the skins – and yes – there was double bass drumming included – wow!   (photo by Betty Horn) A wild drum feature.   (photo by Betty Horn) Mandolins and toy keyboards – only at an ACQ concert.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) ROCKIN OUT!   (photo by Danl Blackwood)
The band, along with the audience, seemed to be loving every minute of the concert!   (photo by Betty Horn) Small tribute to The Who.   (photo by Betty Horn) Battling mandolins.   (photo by Betty Horn) Here's a video sample of this mandolins and toy keyboards selection. I was so busy taking photos, it wasn't until I watched this video that I realized they had the keyboards strapped to their legs! :-)   Creativity seems to be everywhere in these four and in this show.  Additionally, the chemistry between the four is unmatched.  Even watching them set up and tear down the show is a lesson in group dynamic/chemistry.   (video by Danl Blackwood)
Just this visual alone is worth the price of admission – wait, it was a free concert…   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Jeanne Anne lunging for the cymbal. The band says this is payback for all of Rob’s wrong notes. I have tried several times in years past to catch this shot. Though it's blurry, Betty caught it.  (photo by Betty Horn) A video sample of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."  I want to take this opportunity to once again send a great big KUDOS to the West Side CC staff. These videos that have been posted were shot with my iPhone mounted on a tripod. Ideally this requires: 1) a secure place to set the tripod (to minimize getting accidentally bumped), 2) a clear unobstructed view of the stage, and 3) access to a nearby outlet to plug in the iPhone. I was assisted by Grady Martinie (Audio & Tech Engineer at West Side CC), who efficiently fulfilled my every request! Grady... YOU ROCK!    (video by Danl Blackwood) Jeanne Anne and the dulcimer.   (photo by Betty Horn)
Michael seems to be trying to draw attention away from the crazy double necked instrument he has on – what is that???   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Doing their thing – a couple of mandolins and drums.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Jeanne Anne with the tin whistle and Eric with the mandola.  The band said they broke a part off the mandola a few days before.   An unfortunate mishap with all of the cables and instruments around during their rehearsals.  They also broke a banjo and misplaced their hurdy gurdy crank (whatever that is :-)   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Danl in action.   (photo by Randy Brown)
Michael said this was his moment to try to act cool.   (photo by Betty Horn) Michael “the mad man”.   (photo by Randy Brown) Jeanne Anne “the voice of reason”.  (photo by Randy Brown) Andrew Fitzgibbon (Adult Discipleship / Group Life at West Side CC), the emcee for the evening, announces the offering.   (photo by Danl Blackwood)
Rob Farmer (upper right) featured on guitar, with the others accompanying.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Boomwhackers - a spectacle that truly has to be seen to be believed.   (photo by Betty Horn) Eric in harmony with Michael – both on nose flutes – while Rob and Jeanne Anne hold down the fort with their boomwhackers and percussion.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) A video sample of the Boomwhackers   (video by Danl Blackwood)
Eric “the rock.”   Just a little trivia here – Eric was the one that got this band back going again.  Eric and Michael had worked together in the Chicago area for six years – during which time Eric became familiar with ACQ because Michael would travel back to Wichita during the Christmas time to do these concerts.  Eric then moved down to Springfield to take the music position at West Side CC.  Michael would travel down occasionally to visit Eric and do music with the folks at West Side.  On one of the trips down, Eric suggested Michael get that band going again – to which Michael said “if I do, you have to be in the band” – Eric agreed.  After two years of planning and organizing how to make this work, ACQ got started back in 2014.  Thank you Eric “the rock.”   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Rob “the instigator."   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Jeanne Anne playing the bass.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Michael enjoying the worshp.   (photo by Randy Brown)
Closing out the concert with some singing, and the audience joining in.   (photo by Betty Horn) Here they are – the four who played those 100+ instruments in an hour. The Appalachian Christmas Quartet for 2015. (l. to r.) Rob Farmer, Michael Aukofer, Eric Goodman, and Jeanne Anne Aukofer.  They are looking forward to their new recording.  2016 will be a year off from performing as they finish up this new recording.  The current hope/plan is the perform in Elgin, Springfield AND Wichita in 2017. (photo by Betty Horn) The end of the night. This is when, after a very brief rest and visiting, everyone goes home and the band begins to case up everything and try to fit it all into a few vehicles.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Checking out the pics Sue got on her phone. Lisa (top left) having too much fun!   (photo by Randy Brown)
One last group shot before we head to Olive Garden for a late night dinner and more fellowship.  (l. to r.) Connie Sibbe, Lisa VanOsdol, Sue Boahn, Aurora Myers, Danl Blackwood, Randy Brown, and Betty Horn.   (photo by Danl Blackwood) Another ACQ Concert in the books, first time for a couple of our crew. Can't wait for the new recording!   (photo by Betty Horn, graphic design by Danl Blackwood)