Colleen is the daughter of Arvin and Doris Holland and was raised in the Waldron, Michigan area where she graduated from High School.
During her childhood her parents held jam sessions in their home for Country Blue Grass and Gospel Music. Her mother was extremely talented and Colleen learned to play the guitar and sing during this period. This was around the year of 1963.
These sessions were growing and becoming so popular that Doris Holland thought that the public might enjoy them too. So her father, Arvin, handled the promotions and did the MC duties and her mother Doris was part of the entertainment on a regular basis.
Any proceeds that were generated initially went to the local fire department.
The Hollands lived in the country so in 1971 they built a large pole barn theater on the families Centennial Farm on Lickley Road northwest of Waldron.
They named it the “Holland Homestead” and it was known as the Country Music Round Up.
At one end was the stage and at the other were the concessions, with seating for 600 people in between. In very quick fashion they were hosting approximately 2000 people on Friday and Saturday evenings combined.
This continued on a regular basis until approximately 1979. Many folks feel this was a forerunner to the Gospel Barn in Hillsdale, Michigan that is in operation today.
Colleen feels that watching her parents creating and promoting shows was a tremendous asset in preparing her for everything she is doing in the Fayette community.
During this time she was married to Bob Grisier from Archbold, Ohio and they owned the Grisier Music Store together until Bob’s death in 1999.
Eventually Colleen married again. Her new husband is Jon Rufenacht and they now live between Archbold and Fayette. They have two daughters, Jessica and Katrina and four grandchildren.
Colleen gives private guitar lessons and at one time had the honor of teaching Tom Spiess’ son the guitar. That created the opportunity for Tom and Colleen to get to know each other.
She also started doing genealogy studies during the previous several years, which led her to do research on the Underground Railroad. This was brought to Tom Spiess’ attention, and he asked her to present a program on this subject at the Fayette Opera House.
That was the beginning of Colleen’s involvement with the Opera House, Bean Creek Coffee House and led her to form the Bean Creek Valley History Center.
Colleen was asked to be on the Board of Directors at the Fayette Opera House in 2012 and she has remained very active ever since.
The Opera House hosts the Bean Creek Coffee House which offers a venue for local individuals to showcase their special talents. This can be in a variation of instrumentation, singing, poetry, and storytelling. Performers are both young and old as there are no perimeters on age.
Colleen is honored to be the Curator and President of the newly formed “Bean Creek Valley History Center.” This group will be located in the former Fayette Review newspaper office building, which was recently donated to them.
They are in the process of formulating a fundraiser to restore this building. The fundraiser will be for the benefit of both the Fayette Opera House and the Bean Creek Valley History Center. It will be called “Down Home at The Opera House” and will be a “Country, Bluegrass and Gospel Stage Show” on April 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each.
Colleen says, “Having been involved with the public for so many years, I find that being on the Board of Directors at the Fayette Opera House provides an opportunity for me to give back to the community at large.”
She also says, “Not only that but it has given me personally the opportunity to perform again.” Something that she undoubtedly inherited from her parents and loves very much.
“I am very impressed by the dedication of the people of the Fayette community with their leadership skills. Just recently when the local bank closed on December 31, 2014, the community leaders were already working on getting another bank to move into the community. And because of their dedication and hard work a new bank will be opening in town over the course of the next few months”, she says.
There is no doubt that after one has the pleasant experience of sitting down and talking with Colleen Rufenacht, they can see where her primary devotions lie. Her love of family, community, history, music and entertainment is very evident. Colleen’s musical talents and promotion capabilities become very apparent. She really did inherit a lot from her parents in these areas of her life.
More information can be found at www.operahouse-fayette.org or by calling 419.237.3111. They can also be found on Facebook. Several shows and events are scheduled for this year. Please watch your local newspapers for announcements. There are also informational fliers available at the Fayette Opera House for the public’s convenience.
John may be reached at
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