Archive for September 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Time For The Jansen 5 To Head On Home

It is hard to believe but our time here in Holland is already over.  We need to go back to our regular lives in Canada before we even got over our jet lag.  How sad is that?!  I mean, we had so much FUN here!  We loved to check out the sights in Bergen op Zoom.....

where we sat down to eat as many croquetten as we possibly could, our favorite dutch snack!  Some of us may even have to go on a diet when we get home after all the delicious food we have eaten.....

We LOVED our trip to the Effteling, a dutch version of Disneyland where we tried out all the rides until our tummies rebelled.

We LOVED going to the pool......

visiting old churches......

lunching on the Rijn River.....

picnicking below a grand old church steeple........

playing concerts to a full house......

and staying up till all hours of the night just talking and eating and laughing till we got kicked out of the restaurants!

But the fun has come to an end and it's time to go home.........except for Me and the Big Guy!  We are headed to the airport together with the whole family but we are on our way to HONG KONG first for business.

We figured that we had things to take care of in China so we may as well make this a ROUND THE WORLD trip before we fly home.

Unfortunately we won't even be home in time for the FIRST of FOUR concerts in BC with Peter Wildeman, the Canadakoor and The Jansen 5.  They will be performing pieces from their brand new CD and I won't be there to turn their pages, can you believe it?! 

So, if you live in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, make sure you plan to catch one of the concerts or you are really missing out.  The dates and times are as follows:

September 15 in the Candian Reformed Church, Langley at 7:30
September 16 in the Living Hope Christian Reformed Church, Abbotsford at 7:30
September 17 in the Cook's Presbyterian Church, Chilliwack at 7:30
September 19 in the First Christian Reformed Church, Lynden Washington at 7:30


Monday, September 5, 2011

A Day At The Beach

I think we made a mistake the other day.  I'm afraid it will have a long lasting affect on the Wee One.  You see, the other day when the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds here at Port Zeelande, the Netherlands, we headed out to play in the ocean for an hour.  Everyone came along.......

We started out at the beach club, having a little bite to eat and taking time to enjoy each other's company.

After a quick look in the sports store, we purchased a skim board for the low price of 20 Euros for a little bit of excitement on the water.......

and then we made the 1 mile trek out to the ocean.

Junior and Cinderella walk the Wee One to the shore

Now, being the mother of 5 stringed instrument players, I must say that I worried someone would break an arm with this particular activity but.......

fortunately for all of us, no one was injured while playing in the sea.

At first, the Wee One was enjoying herself TREMENDOUSLY, even though it was quite cold.

But someone got the great idea of showing her a LIVE CRAB........

and that was the end of our day at the beach!  She REFUSED to put her feet back in the water from that moment on. 

Oh well, good thing we still have the POOL where we can keep her happy!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thank You Holland - We Love You Too!

The Jansen 5 performing in Veenendaal, the Netherlands
There's just something fantastic about HOLLAND.  It's hard to pick my favorite parts because it's all so wonderful.  Mostly, I just love how people LOVE music here.  They are willing to travel long distances just to sit for a few hours in a beautiful old church beneath the GRAND PIPES of the many old organs that are still in constant use today! 

The center of every town and village here has a wonderful old brick church with a tall steeple which stands high up above the surrounding buildings.  Inside those churches you are sure to find a well worn PIPE ORGAN situated high above the benches, intricate wooden sculptures facing out over the congregation.

Organ in Tholen, the Netherlands

Below many of those lovely instruments you will also likely find a band of musicians busily recording a Christmas CD......

getting some last minute instructions on what repeats to play or skip.......

making sure that all the details are just right!

Now, don't get me wrong.  It's not all hard work that goes on inside these beautiful old churches ALL the time.  Once in a while you might find a few of those musicians fooling around a bit while the caretaker isn't watching.

You will also probably find a member of the entourage even getting a bit of shut eye between recordings.....

while his GRAMPA checks his blackberry messages.  Important business dealing continue to happen even though you are sitting inside a 400 year old church on a 300 year old gravestone.

Later in the even, say around 7 pm, you may find the the musicians are still directly below those beautiful organ pipes, rehearsing for yet another taping.

They will be all dressed up because this time there is some video taping involved.  Expensive camera equipment, lighting and all sorts of technical stuff will be hooked up and and set in place to catch all the action that goes on inside those very old stone walls.

Yup, my blogger peeps, HOLLAND is one VERY SPECIAL place full of wonderful history and even more fine musicians.

So, all I'd like to say is THANK YOU Peter Wildeman, THANK YOU Joost VanBelzen and THANK YOU Holland for a whole lot of fun!

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Taping of The Hour of Power with Jan Van den Bosch and The Jansen 5

What an adventure we are having out here in Holland with the Jansen 5!  Yesterday was no exception.  As a matter of fact, I think it may actually be the highlight of our trip so far.  I'm not really sure how it happened but we were invited to be in the Hour of Power, Netherlands style.  Who said what to whom and what transpired to get us this invitation, I'm not sure but I can tell you all that it was quite an EXPERIENCE.

The show taping was done in the home of Mr. Jan Van den Bosch, host of the dutch version of The Hour of Power.  It is situated on the edge of the Rijn river in the beautifully picturesque city of Alphen en de Rijn.  That is an hour and a half drive NORTH from where we are staying.  We were scheduled to arrive there at 12:45 in the afternoon. That would give us enough time to have a coffee, familiarize ourselves with what was going to happen and even get a chance to change into our Sunday best before the big event.

No problem, right?!  That gives us ALL MORNING to get ready and drive out.  This should be a piece of cake.


Early morning rolls around and we suddenly realize that the MUSIC STANDS which had been purchased the previous day so we didn't have to use any more SHOE racks and assorted furniture when performing had been left with Peter Wildeman, our ORGANIST in Tholen.  So, the Big Guy and Junior hopped in the van and raced out to pick them up.  That took 2 hours.

In the mean time, the rest of us were showering, dressing, doing our hair, applying makeup, collecting up our instruments, and generally taking things pretty casual.  NO STRESS!  This was going to be a fun day.

By the time the men arrived home with the equipment, we all had to make the ONE MILE TREK from our little cabin on the North Sea to the parking lot at the other end of the park with all of our gear for the day.  Unfortunately for us, this beautiful place is a CAR FREE zone and there are no exceptions, even for musicians who are now getting late for a taping of The Hour of Power. We had to lug a whole lot of gear through the lovely cobble stone streets, past the ducks swimming lazily in the pond and through the SWIMMING POOL.  And of course, the Wee One was not all that pleased that we were not going to go inside for a SWIM but were merely passing by.  Poor little girl had to be dragged past the water slides on our way to the car which was just not a pretty scene!

Another 30 minutes lost trying to stuff 12 people, 5 instruments, a stroller, baby bed and a myriad of personal items into 2 vehicles before we could push off. 

Ok, so now we are all in the car.  What could go wrong from here?!  We're home FREE!


Enter the GPS.  Yup, you know how the GPS works.  Type in the address and the lovely lady begins to direct you calmly to your location.  Little did she KNOW, Alphen en de Rijn is not quite the same place it was when she LAST was here.  Suffice it to say that we eventually WALKED to Mr. Jan Van den Bosch's beautiful home, asking random people we met on the street if they could tell us where to find him.  Another 30 minutes lost. 

When we finally arrived with our entire ENTOURAGE we were met by both Mr. Van den Bosch and his assistants at the front door.  As he shook my hand and caught sight of the crowd behind me it dawned on me that perhaps they were only expecting 5 people plus a driver.  Ever the gracious host, he ushered us into his formal living room/dining room full of beautiful furniture and antiques.......

Oh, Mr Van den Bosch, I wish I had known that your house was so beautiful and that your Rembrandt painting was just the right height for a TODDLER to experience.  Had I known, I might have done things different yesterday and left "you know who" at the swimming pool!

The table was set beautifully with coffee, juice and snacks for us.  As we started to bring all our gear in, including cello's, violins, car seats, diaper bags, music stands, etc. we began to over-run his entire front parlor.  Mr. Van den Bosch just smiled his MEGA WATT smile and quietly began to explain the meaning behind his Rembrandt painting of the prodigal son.

I didn't hear a WORD of the story because my attention was caught by the Wee One running around the dining room table laughing and chanting "Chase me daddy.  Chase me daddy!"  Good thing Daddy decided that a little time out in the grass was in order or I may have had a heart attack.

Eventually the kids all got settled and ready to play for Mr Van den Bosch in his GORGEOUS solarium......

where they taped 3 separate pieces for the show. 

After that followed the interviews and it was decided that one of the parents should speak a little.  The Big Guy's dutch is better than mine so he took the hot seat.

Jan Van den Bosch (in dutch):  "So, you are all of dutch descent?"

The Big Guy (in dutch): "Yes"

Jan Van den Bosch (in dutch):  "You have quite a large musical family"

The Big Guy (in dutch): "Yes"

Jan Van den Bosch: "Ben U trots op U kinderen?"  ENGLISH "Are you proud of your children?"

The Big Guy (in ENGLISH):  "Trots?  What does Trots mean?!

Director:  "CUT!  Let's try that again"

And so it went.......until Gramma Jansen saved the day with her fluent dutch.  I'm pretty sure the Big Guy's footage is on the cutting room floor.

Next it was time to interview Junior, the LEADER of the Jansen 5.

Jan Van den Bosch:  "So, how did you get music in your heart?"

Junior:  "My Mom put it there."

Jan Van den Bosch:  "Which one of your siblings are you closest to?"

Junior:  "I am close to them all. "  Good answer, son.  Any other answer could have landed you in hot water!

Jan Van den Bosch: "What does your faith mean to you?"

Junior:  STUNNED SILENCE.......

Director:  "CUT!  Let's try that again"

Poor Junior tried his very best to answer Mr. Van den Bosch's heartfelt questions but, being of a conservative Reformed back ground, giving a testimony off the cuff is just not something we do easily.  Oh well, I just hope they got what they needed to make a nice segment. 

And just so you know Mr. Van den Bosch, YES.......we are VERY proud of our children!  They are a great BLESSING!  Thank you for letting us share our blessings with you and your viewers.

Oh, also I would like to say that you have a MOST BEAUTIFUL GARDEN.

Really, it was just stunningly designed.  Who is your landscaper?  Thank you SO MUCH for allowing us to wander around your place and take in all the beauty!

If you are interested in seeing the segment, it will air on dutch television on November 6.  Or you will be able to watch it on their website a few weeks after the original program airs.