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WELCOME! Thanks so much for stopping by!


"I don't know what to call it--heart, clarity, vision, soul--but there is so much of it in Fran's songs that I cannot hear his voice without receiving more of these gifts myself."
 ~ Barbara Brown Taylor

Our next (November 9-12) AwakeningSoul, "Sacred Revolution," with Diana Butler Bass and John Dominic Crossan is open for registration and the early sign up discount is in effect until July 1, so hurry on over to our web site for more details.  Bring a friend or two! Here’s the link to more information:

Here's the link to register;


Here are a couple of thoughtful comments from past participants to help you get a sense of the impact of this gathering;

AwakeningSoul feeds me and makes me hungry at the same time; it both calms and troubles the waters of my soul. I have experienced the presence of God at AwakeningSoul in such a way as to be reminded that I am deeply loved by my creator, and reminded that God is calling me to join him in the work of healing this world.
~ Michael Pipkin

Awakening Soul is an oasis for the soul --- a place for centering and spiritual growth.  I come away from my time there energized by challenging ideas, enriched by beautiful music, and filled with a renewed sense of spiritual possibilities.
~ Pat Hudson

I am very excited to announce, as we prepare for our next AwakeningSoul gathering, that the AwakeningSoul Ensemble recording from last year's event is now available for download at, iTunes and all the other usual resources. I am thrilled to say that all the proceeds from the sales will go to the Thistle Farms 'Welcome Project' supporting refugees in Greece. Women in a refugee camp there will be weaving welcome mats and other products made from the salvaged life jackets that were worn on their perilous journeys to Greece. Please visit and go to the Welcome Project page to learn more, and maybe even buy a welcome mat. Download the recording of the AwakeningSoul Ensemble to listen to while you order and support this important cause! Thanks!!!
I’ve just finished a week with the Haden Institute’s Summer Dream Conference at Kanuga.  What a joy!! Got to make music with my friend, colleague and percussionist extraordinaire River Guerguerian and 170 or so wonderful folks from around the country.  This was my first time with this conference and I am so grateful to have been asked to help out! Many provocative and insightful speakers, great conversation and workshops.  Thanks, all, for your enthusiastic welcome and singing!
I am gathering and writing songs for a new recording. 
Not sure yet what the format will be yet... lots of things to consider, but the main thing is to have the best collection of songs as the starting place.

Sending You Light ~ Ana Hernandez/Fran McKendree 
with Billy Cardine, Paul Friesen-Carper, River Guerguerian,
Ike Sturm, and Duncan Wickel. 
Alternative Folk with a spiritual bent. Add a little dobro, add a little chant...
Deep and fun.

Our AwakeningSoul event 'Circling the Fire'....
was a huge success.
Walter Brueggemann and Valerie Tutson, our presenters, were just amazing - brilliant, soulful, challenging, affirming and fully present.  Tom Brackett, our process facilitator, did a truly outstanding job of connecting the dots, and weaving the entire experience together with his gentle, profound questions and guidance. Brian Prior, our chaplain, kept a steady read on the pulse of our journey and with the help of Diana McKendree, who created a beautiful meditation space, invited us to a place of gratitude and deep respect.
I cannot say in words how much I love our little music ensemble... Lindsey Blount, River Guerguerian, Lily Henley, Charles Milling and Eric Murrell.. all so incredibly gifted and so generous with those gifts... a pure joy!  And thanks to our other support staff for their great work, Aimee Bostwick, Cindy Jordan, Lindsay McKinnon, Alan Balew.
Thanks especially to our participants, who made it all possible, and, of course, to Ann Holtz, my co-founder and partner in AwakeningSoul!
Here's a photo of some of the banners that become our backdrop.
artist;  RaRa Schlitt    photo:  Ed Law

SeaFire Kids
I've recently had the immense pleasure of working with a group from Cape Cod,
the SeaFire Kids, on their debut cd 'Part Of This Town.'  Their songs are full of real life stories and characters, and they have a really fun, organic sound.  They're each really wonderful young people and activists in the fisheries and other timely and important issues. Photos soon and a bit of music, too.

My wife, Diana, and I were in Ireland and Scotland in early May, 2015.  We had a great visit with friends in the west of Ireland then headed on to Iona, the lovely and deeply spiritual island off the west coast of Scotland.  Rainy, windy, foggy, cool with brief windows of the sun, still beautiful and restorative!  Here are a couple of photos... more to come and a video as well;
looking to the south east, with the Abbey in the shadows
the nunnery



Diana and Fran, just before the rain gave us a good soaking..












Sawyerville Day Camp

 I'm always looking for ways to spread the word about the amazing Sawyerville Day Camp, and to support their work. To that end, I've made these recordings available to download;

The First Noel... probably my favorite Christmas carol.  Helping me on this one are Allison King Tullos (vocal), Duncan Wickel (violin), Paul Hollowell (keys), Eliot Wadopian (bass).  All proceeds will go to the Sawyerville Day Camp.

Fran McKendree: The First Noel

 'Come By Here' with Allison King Tullos and Duncan Wickel.  All proceeds will go to the Sawyerville Day Camp.

Fran McKendree: Come By Here


McKendree Spring News

The DVD/CD release 'Times Like These' ~ the McKendree Spring 'final show ever' has turned out great!  We might offer a very limited edition that would include breakfast with the band at 3a at a Waffle House - just for the real, authentic experience! 

Live... at Douglas Corner


Casey [in the lab coat we insist he wear to ensure that the digital 1s and 0s will be safely contained, and because he looks so darn professional in it!!]


 Fran and Chris helping Casey through a particularly tough edit...




 Fran and Ana Hernandez!


percussionist, River Guerguerian, joined us for a session.  Fun times!

River and Ana...







AwakeningSoul ~ 

AwakeningSoul is a partnership of Fran and Ann Holtz, with creative input and guidance from Brian Prior, Diana McKendree, and others.  Please take a few minutes to visit the web site..thanks!

And speaking of AwakeningSoul events... we are already in the design process for the 2016 event.  Our presenters this time 'round will be Brian McLaren and Becca Stevens.. a soulful pairing! Visit the AwakeningSoul website for updates and register early, this will fill quickly.


And from the archives ~ 2011 AwakeningSoul gathering - here are a few video clips;

Fran with Charles Milling, Duncan Wickel, Lindsey Blount and River Guerguerian doing 'Painting in the Skies'


 And two fun videos of Lindsey Blount, River Guerguerian,  Charles Milling and Duncan Wickel



  My friend DAVID CRUMM, providing, as always a wonderful web site full of challenging and profound reading;  





[click the button just below to listen and purchase]

  'Awake'  My newest cd is available at  Digital downloads are available, too, at, iTunes and all the other digital download shops, but the cover art and package on this one are so beautiful, you may want to order the hard copy.  You'll find a few samples on the music page here at the site. 


 Click this button to purchase a hard copy or download. Thanks!

Fran McKendree: Awake





 HAITI, the Philippines, and Ebola

There are many ways we can support the people of Haiti, the Philippines and other countries in need over the next months and years. Doctors Without Borders  and Episcopal Relief and Development continue to be tireless advocates.  We all need to be generous - wherever our hearts may guide us to contribute.

Here are two excellent relief agencies;     or




 I do hope you'll take a few minutes to visit the 'news' page for updates and click the 'links' to find some other very creative and hardworking groups that are carrying on some important work.  And please visit the music, friends and photo pages, too. And a reminder; While you're here, don't forget to sign the guestbook, thanks!

All the best, Fran

small photo of Fran's Larrivee guitar at top by: Ellen Coleman

large photo above by Diana McKendree - taken in Tuscany at a small abandoned village

below by Susan Logan