New and Improved Campfire Songbook

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Campfire Songbook

After months of hard work the familyreunionhelper.com new and improved "Campfire Songbook" revision is ready to go! The book is FREE to familyreunionhelper.com subscribers. FREE Campfire Songbook link

The revised addition is in landscape format and includes cute graphics from scrappindoodles.com.

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HINT: Give family members a link to the songbook and ask them to print their own songbook to bring to your family reunion or sing a long.

HINT: Set your printer to print – front to back.

HINT: Laminate the outside cover of your songbooks so they can be used for many sing a longs to  come.

Guitar Tabs for Traditional Songs

Also included in this new songbook are a few pages of songs with guitar chords.  Experienced guitar players can easily pick out  the chording to a song but for me, having the chords written down is huge help.

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Already a subscriber but would like a copy of the new Campfire Songbook? Send Aunt Mo an email and she’ll make sure you get a copy of the updated songbook. Email Aunt MO

Music For Your Family Reunion Slide Show or Video

Creating a family slide show or video is fun and with all the tools available surprisingly easy.  Whether you’re reunion is being held at a resort or at a casual retreat, there’s no better way to take a stroll down memory lane than with a reunion slideshow or video presentation. 

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We’ve been making and showing slide shows at our family reunions for years now and have witnessed for ourselves the evolution of the slide show from the old photo slides and projectors to power point and movie maker presentations projected on wall sized screens.

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When making your slide show don’t make it too long-15 minutes is about right and you stretch it to 20 minutes if you keep your background music upbeat and catchy.

Be sure y0u include at least one photo of every member of your family.  Review the photos you plan on using to be sure you aren’t featuring one dominant person in your presentation.

Background Music is Important

Through the years we have come to realize the importance of the music used as background music behind the photo presentation. Music has the powerful ability to set the tone of your slide show and evoke strong feelings of good family memories.

When making a  family reunion slideshow or video you have to be able to put aside your own music preferences and select music that Grandma will enjoy (and can understand the lyrics) and music your teenagers will be able to bear.  I prefer upbeat music for most of my slideshows with one slow, sentimental song to really cement the memories.

Family Reunion Slide Show Music

When I thought about writing this blog I wondered what I could do to help a slide show makers job a little easier.  I decided that perhaps a list of good slide show background music might be helpful.  So listed below are some of the good old music “standards” we have used in our family slide shows throughout the years.  Just click on the song picture to download it for your presentation.

A good opening song might be “These Are My People” from Rodney Atkins.

“This is where I come from
Were givin’ this life everything we got and then some
It ain’t always pretty
But its real
It’s the way we were made
Wouldn’t have it any other way
These are my people”

“Firework” has a great message about how we are all important and can light a the world light a firework.  But it also has a catchy, upbeat tempo and your family will probably sing along with it.

If you want to feature Grandma and Grandpa in your slide show consider using Josh Grobin’s “You Raise Me Up” as tribute to these great people in your lives.

There was a time when I was making a lot of slide shows and “We Go Together” from the movie Grease seemed to be a great song for the end of the slide show.  It is upbeat and gets across the message that we’re family and “We Go Together”.

My family loves swimming and watersports so our family slide shows always include a lot of “water” pictures.  More often than not I look to the “Beach Boys” for good background music for these kinds of pictures.

“Let Them Be Little” by Billy Dean or Lonestar is a great song for showing baby pictures or pictures of the “early” years.  With the right pictures this song will bring tears to the Moms and Dads in your family.  Of course there is also “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers and “Sunrise Sunset”  though I think these last two songs have been over used.

It’s pretty hard to beat Rascal Flatts “My Wish” for sending out a powerful message to your family.  Be careful to not use pictures that will make people laugh when they see it- you don’t want their laughter to cover up the beautiful lyrics of this song.

“But more than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.”

“Voices” by country artist Chris Young, is about all the things we hear from our family and how we hear their “voices” as we go throughout our lives.  Be sure to check out his music video of the song for some great family reunion video ideas. http://www.cmt.com/videos/chris-young/538509/voices.jhtml

You could say I’m a little bit crazy
You could call me insane
Walkin’ ’round with all these whispers
Runnin’ ’round here in my brain
I just can’t help but hear ‘em
Man, I can’t avoid it

I hear voices
I hear voices like
My dad sayin’ quit the team
And you’ll be a quitter for the rest of your life
Mama tellin’ me to say a prayer
Every time I lay down at night
And grandma sayin’ if you find the one
You’d better treat her right
Yeah, I hear voices all the time

 

If you have lost someone dear in your family during the year since your last family reunion you my want to include a segment of pictures of them in your slideshow using Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as background.

For more current music substitute “My Way” for Brad Paisley’s “When I Get Where I’m Going”.

“Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here”

And if all else fails and you just can’t come up with a song you can always use “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.  It may have been overused but you just can’t beat it’s catchy beat and meaningful lyrics.

“All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose”

Use  a Projector for a Life Sized Slide Show

When I started doing family reunion presentations to civic and church groups it became necessary for me to get a projector that would project large images on the wall. My projector isn’t fancy with a lot of bells and whistles but so far it’s been just perfect for what I need it for.  A projector like mine may be just the thing to show your side show on for your family reunion. 

If you’re going to make a slideshow for your reunion, make sure you budget enough time to put together a good production. Don’t underestimate your show’s ability to influence people’s overall impression of your family. Sharing and reliving memories is a powerful thing!

Aunt MO

A New Family Reunion Song!

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a new family reunion song. It was written and recorded by a talented musician, Brenda Fielding. Besides being a recording artist and song writer, Brenda is also a fan of family reunions and has a rich family heritage. Brenda’s song “Side by Side” talks about that heritage. One verse of the song says,

"Year after year, we gather you and I
Exchange our hugs and catch up on our lives
We play ball in a field
Pillow fights in a tent
Then hold the newest babies that were heaven sent."

Don’t you just love that- that’s a family reunion summed up in one verse. You may listen to Brenda’s song, “Side By Side” at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brendafielding .

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Brenda contacted me a few weeks ago. Her family is planning a “Caveman” theme reunion this year and she was so friendly and outgoing that I thought it would be fun to talk to her about her song, her life and her family reunions.  Here’s part of that conversation-

AUNT MO: Brenda, tell us a little about yourself.

BRENDA: I love music and family. I am a songwriter with a great husband and eight children. I have been married 26 years and I live in Scappoose, Oregon. My husband and I have owned our own businesses since 1992. We own a tree company and have done a lot of real estate. We have only owned our tree business for 8 years, before that we started and owned 2 restaurants for 14 years. We have also owned and ran a beauty salon and a horse ranch. I graduated from BYU in 1997 in Education. I love the piano and have played and taught it for most of my life. I also love to paint and appreciate all art.

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AUNT MO: Where did you get the idea for your family reunion song, "Side by Side"?

BRENDA: I got the idea from the wonderful family I married into, the Fieldings. They have had an annual reunion since 1973. They wouldn’t even dream of not having a reunion every single year. We usually come together on a Friday and leave on a Monday. We have our traditional games, family pictures, and the cousins are loud and jump all over each other. We also play "Run My Sheepy Run" on Saturday night- which entails all the kids running around in the moonlight hiding behind trees etc. Sunday night is always the testimony meeting with s’mores.

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AUNT MO: My favorite line in the song is "We look to the past and pull it forward" How did you come up with that line?

BRENDA: I came up with the line because that is our heritage. We look to the past and we still do what our ancestors do. We respect that. How did I come up with it? I’m not sure, I just thought of it because I was thinking about how to express respecting our heritage and traditions.

AUNT MO: Do you have any traditions you repeat every year at your family reunions?

BRENDA: We love to do the “Egg Toss” game. Everyone has a partner and tosses the egg then backs up about 3 feet each.

One of our oldest traditions is “Dummy Doll”: A very fluffy pretty puppet that is operated out of a doorway or a tent door. The kids ask it questions and the dummy dolls bites their fingers if they put them in it’s mouth. The kids love this and has been a tradition since the 1930′s.

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We also love doing a “Fish pond”: All the parents bring a small gift of $5 or so. Older teens pin up a blanket and there is a pin attached to a plastic bag with a stick.

We also do a “Treasure Hunt”: All the grandkids have their name on a brown paper bag filled with peanuts and candy. They have to find their own bag.

Family pictures with some sort of matching t shirts. Last year we all tie dyed white shirts- the pictures turned out great. The year before all the males were in white collared shirts and all the females with in red and everyone had on blue jeans- very cute pictures. Before that we mainly had different colors for each family- so 10 different colors that we rotated every year.

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AUNT MO: Most families struggle with how to pay for their family reunions. What works for your family?

BRENDA: Each family is assigned a meal which they buy all the ingredients for and make when it’s their turn. We all turn in our receipts to one uncle who makes sure that it’s all fair. Each family has to pay $200 plus $20 for each additional person in their family. That pays for a pretty nice reunion site then the uncle figures up all the receipts and gives a refund back for the food costs- all equal.

AUNT MO: How do your organize and plan your family reunions?

BRENDA: We have an adult meeting with all the original 10 kids and spouses and grandparents and we discuss the next year’s events.

AUNT MO: You’re a musician, how do you incorporate music into your family reunions?

BRENDA: "Love at Home" is sung at every testimony meeting cuz it was old Grandpa Fielding’s favorite. We include music in our morning devotionals. We have had some challenges with our devotional in the mornings, so this year we are going to start breakfast and then have a devotional after everyone starts coming in to eat. Hopefully it’ll work better and be better attended. We also include a little music before and after the talent show and also before the testimony meeting. We are going to use a www.familyreunionhelper.com idea this year and have a "Family Heritage" church instead of going to the local ward for church. That will give us some great opportunities for incorporating music into our reunion. 

You can find the “Love At Home” song Brenda mentions at
“Love At Home”

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AUNT MO: I’m sure a lot goes into writing and producing your own album, do you have plans for a second album?

BRENDA: I have enough songs for it, in fact, I have several more that I can use for a 3rd CD. I think you’ll like my new songs. One is called "The Widow’s Mite", "How did He know" (about how Jesus knew a woman in a crowd after she sought him out, now knowing who he was), "Tender Mercies", etc. It costs $1,000 per song to get it arranged and recorded. A couple thousand more for other production costs, CD cases, and the covers. I haven’t done it yet cuz I’m trying to figure out how to pay for it.

The title of Brenda’s album is “Let Christ In”. At CD Baby.com people can purchase the CD, download the album or for 99 cents you can download just the family reunion song, “Side by Side”. You can find Brenda’s music at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brendafielding

One of the best things about familyreunionhelper.com is meeting new people and making new friends.  Good luck to Brenda and to the whole Fielding family!

Aunt MO

Music is what feelings sound like.