We had not been together – parents, siblings, spouses, children – since 2011. So, when we found occasion to gather in Washington in July, everyone came to the Famly Reunion!
Gathering from New York City, Idaho, Wisconsin, Washington, and Okinawa, Japan – we were 31 (and 1/2) family members in attendance, two cats and a frog.
Mom insisted that we all stay under her roof. Their four-bedroom home in Gig Harbor also boasted a large bonus room, enormous closets (Camilla slept in the largest one) and a tent. And, with that space available to us . . . we did it!
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
4:00pm Sunday Feast
7:00pm Sing to Great Gramma in the nursing home
8:00pm Family History story share
7:00am Core workout w/ Ben
9:00am Music Video Rehearsal
Noon Music Video Production
1:30pm Post Filming Sundae Party
5:30pm Gender Reveal w/Rachel compliments of Sarah
6:30pm Family Talent Show w/Bethany
7:30am Core workout w/ Ben
10:00am Family Photos
3:00pm TuTu Tuesday Family Fun Run 5K
7:30pm July birthdays party
ARE THOSE MATCHING SHIRTS?
Yep! And Bethany and Hyrum designed and printed one for each member of the family!
OTHER EVENTS SURROUNDING THE FAMILY REUNION
Because some arrived earlier, and some left later, the celebration was not limited to just three days.
We enjoyed BBQ and boating on a rocky Northwest beach.
A (12 hour) day-hike to Camp Muir, Mount Rainier.
And a trolley ride around the Harbor.
WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD?
Valid question. Sarah, our resident Pâtissier, took charge of meal planning, and divvied up the responsibilities using Sign Up Genius. It was genius!
SEVEN STEPS TO MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION
Because my share of the responsibilities was primarily the planning and execution of the Family Music Video, I want to share the “hows” of carrying out such a responsibility.
Before doing so, though, I ought to begin with the FINAL PRODUCT, lest you not appreciate the vision:
#1 The inspiration
Organized by a dear friend of mine for her own family reunion, some years ago, this Hunsaker Family Music Video is a Blanchard family favourite.
#2 Choosing the song
I organized a submission process, vote, and, ultimately, made the final decision on a theme song. The winning submission took home an iTunes gift card. Not too shabby, right?
#3 Finding the videographer
After my own efforts failed, Mom took over and secured a videographer who had worked for their local Rotary Club. A big THANKS to Jim Reynolds!
A month after the song was chosen, I finalized the choreography to American Author’s Best Day of My Life – line by line, measure by measure.
#5 Solo and group assignments
No easy task, considering the number of participants (and the large number of natural performers amongst those participants).
#6 The rehearsal
Individuals and families received their assignments and were practicing on their own previous to our reunion; nevertheless, we took a couple hours before the videographer arrived to rehearse each sequence. I distributed nametags, to help organize the large group into smaller groups: The WOOSTERS performed the “woo”s throughout the music video, the STAIRSTOMPERS performed their stomping on (you guessed it) the front stairs, the PYRAMID PEEPS made up the six-man pyramid, the FOOTBALL FANS fought for the football, and the SPINSTERS led us in the final spin. You get the picture. No one was exempt.
#7 The filming
Dad procured a megaphone for me for the day. And I kept a bowl of chocolates by my side, to keep the children (and the adults) smiling and cooperating the entire four hours. Yes, it was a four-hour filming that consummated in a 3 1/2 minute production.
I cannot believe how much work went into our Family Music Video. And I absolutely underestimated how much fun the work behind the production would be, because of the people involved.
FAMILY REUNION FAVOURITE MOMENTS:
Let’s finish this post off with a few “favourite moments” from the Holmes Family Reunion, contributed by various family members.
14 year old said, “I think maybe my favourite memory was when I was on the recliner, watching a movie, and J and L came up and climbed all over me.”
10 year old said, “Oh yeah! I liked the matching shirts that showed the WHOLE family.”
11 year old said, “I liked it when we tried to fit all our heads in the window (see family music video). Also, some of the talents were really funny.”
Another family member said, “I really enjoyed singing to Great Gramma.”
11 year old said, “It was all really fun, but if I HAD to choose it would be when we made the video.”
9 year old said, “I liked just hanging out with my cousin, D.”
3 year old said, “Watch movies.”
And then another said, “That was so wadical!!”
6 year old said, “I liked most playing with the cat.”
10 year old said, “There were three favourite things. One, I really liked the skit our cousins did about the First World Problems. Secondly, I really enjoyed playing with cousins. I also really enjoyed just spending time with more family.”
7 year old said, “Playing with the cousins. I liked sleeping in the tent with cousins, as well.”
Another family member said, “I feel so blessed to be a member of this family! The love I feel from each of you is so profound! And it is authentic. I am grateful for your examples of relying on the Savior, “look[ing] unto [Him] in every thought; doubt[ing] not, fear[ing] not.” Your faith and discipleship strengthen my faith and discipleship. I love you each so very much and can’t wait to be together again.”