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The Hollands! offer a cup of inspiration

Cyndi Revolinsky, Entertainment Writer/Commentary
April 24, 2013
Filed under Entertainment, Top Stories

James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “The American Dream” in 1931. By definition, the American Dream is every individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Americans’ vision of the dream is generally a nice home, a successful career and financial stability. An unfamiliar image is living hand to mouth on a tour bus, hopping from town to town. But for The Hollands!, this is their American Dream.

As a full-time international traveling band, The Hollands! share their love of music, life and community with audiences around the U.S. Some Green Bay residents experienced the soulful lyrics and folk melodies firsthand April 13 at the Christian coffeehouse and music venue Cup O’Joy. The Hollands! are celebrating the release of their newest album “Over Lands and Leas.”

The Hollands! are a family of four and appear to be the typical American family. Jana and Craig raised their two children, Graciana and Banjo, to take the most from life. The Hollands! are not the average family, but life on the tour bus keeps them together.

They were welcomed by a full house at the Cup O’Joy. Young children danced in the aisles while couples tapped their feet and bobbed their heads in time to the music.

Mother Jana is fluent on the mandolin, banjo and guitar. Her daughter, Graciana, plays the ukulele and bass guitar, and father Craig lends a Celtic sound to the music with his Taylor acoustic guitar. The youngest member of the band, 11-year-old Banjo, plays the cajon drum and other percussion instruments.

As a family, The Hollands! decided to buy a bus and tour full time a year and a half ago. Before that, they traveled by minivan.

“Part of getting the bus was trying to maintain a sense of normalcy to our lives,” Craig said. “Before, we would disperse at whatever house we were at. We ate a lot of fast food and things like that. Traveling full time in a bus means we’re together all the time, and I have more energy to give to my family.”

The Hollands! sit down to meals as a family regularly, and to Jana, their lifestyle is ordinary.

“We keep each other humble,” Jana said. “We talk. We eat meals together. We go through our good times and our hard times together.”

Craig said they are unique from other touring bands because of their definition of success. Rather than show bookings, The Hollands! try to park in a community and connect with people to learn their stories and share their own.

“They have always shown a genuine interest in how other people are doing,” said Jan Oettinger, director of Cup O’Joy. “Even though they travel extensively, they seem to bring community with them.”

It’s apparent to anyone who sees The Hollands! perform that they enjoy what they do and their lifestyle.

“The family gives off a very warm and welcoming vibe,” said JC Marquez, audience member. “Their nomadic lifestyle is inspiring. It’s taking every fear there is and shrinking it down because they are united in faith and as a family.”

The ultimate goal of The Hollands! is to inspire other families to follow their dreams. Touring year-round in the U.S., Australia and Europe was a family pipedream at first, but after weighing the outcomes, they chased it.

“We’re not trying to inspire families to get a bus or anything,” Craig said. “We try to inspire families to connect, do things together and just pursue what they love.”

The Hollands! departed with words to the wise: dreams are meant to be followed and wishes are meant to be fulfilled.

For more on this family, visit thehollands.org.