Meet the Band

The Petersens are made up of four siblings (Katie, Ellen, Matt & Julianne), their mom, and dear friend, Emmett Franz. Get to know each of them individually!

Katie Petersen

Musical Leader, Fiddle Player, Songwriter

Katie is the oldest Petersen sibling and is the musical leader of the group. Katie graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Chemistry and Spanish. After graduation, Katie moved to Oxford, England to study C.S. Lewis and the Psalms through the Summit Ministries Oxford program. Katie is a great songwriter and it had always been a dream of hers to study her favorite author at Oxford. More recently, Katie’s love of traveling took her to Nicaragua to teach music and English at a school through Project Hope. You can read more about her time in Nicaragua here. Currently, Katie enjoys teaching fiddle and piano lessons to students and, of course, bluegrass with the family. The best way to Katie’s heart is through a cup of coffee.

Ellen Petersen Haygood, MBA

Director of Marketing, Banjo Player, Patreon Manager

Ellen is the second oldest Petersen sibling and banjo player for the band. Ellen was first handed a banjo while the family was at its first bluegrass festival at which the kids’ dad decided the family should become a bluegrass band. Ellen graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Chemistry and moved to Oklahoma City to work as a laboratory technician. That summer she auditioned for American Idol for fun as its bus tour went through Branson and she ended up making it to the top 48 on Season XIV. (See her initial audition here and read an interview about her journey on the reality TV show here.) After American Idol, Ellen moved back to Branson to focus more on music and earned her MBA with a graduate certificate in marketing at Missouri State University. Now, Ellen enjoys marketing their family’s band full-time and in January married Michael Haygood of The Haygoods, another performing family in Branson. Read all about their fun proposal and wedding! The best way to make Ellen smile is a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Matt Petersen

Director of Operations, Guitar Player, Comedian

Although Matt is the lone boy in the Petersen sibling lineup, he more than holds his own on stage and in the band operations. Matt graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2017 with a bachelors degree in Business. Since graduating, Matt runs most of the business aspects of the band including outside bookings and also handles the technical side of the Branson show. Outside of the band he enjoys running, leading a small group for boys at our church, and he is a pretty great two-stepper. Matt never fails to make each show unique and entertaining with his comedy and does a great job of keeping the band grounded. A sure way to make Matt laugh is a banjo joke.

Julianne Petersen

Mandolin Player, Eye Roller, Dimple, YouTube Specialist

Julianne Petersen is the baby of the family and has been the full-time mandolin player for the band since 2017. Julianne started off playing the fiddle and clogging on stage when the band started in 2005 and has always been an audience favorite. (See a video of her dancing here.) Julianne has worn many hats in the band through the years and even ran sound and lights for them at the young age of eight! Julianne just graduated high school as valedictorian of her class and is planning on attending John Brown University this fall studying English Literature. The easiest way to make Julianne your friend is through chocolate.

Emmett Franz

Dobroist, Composer, Adopted Brother for Matt

Emmett Franz is the newest member to The Petersens and fits perfectly with the band with his values and musical style. Emmett grew up playing music with his family, The Franz Family, touring professionally with them for 20 years. Emmett started playing the dobro at the age 14 and has since become one of the most accomplished dobro players in the country. The dobro is an uncommon instrument mostly seen in bluegrass and country and Emmett manages to take the instrument to a whole new level with his exceptional taste and imagination. He is by far one of the greatest dobro players currently performing and his music is available on his website and through Spotify. Emmett began playing with The Petersens in 2017 and they could not be more honored to have him as a full-time member of the band. When not playing music, Emmett is usually found dominating on the volleyball courts.


Karen Petersen aka Get It, Mama

Bass Player, Mother, Band Chaplain

Karen Petersen is the mother of the Petersens and a true saint. Karen is from Mountain Grove, MO and music has always been a part of her life. She played the trumpet through her school years and received her masters in music theory from Arkansas State University. She met her husband, Jon, through Campus Crusade and followed him around in the Air Force for 23 years. Karen began as the band’s mandolin player but switched to bass when Julianne started to learn. Audience members began a fan club for her called “Get It, Mama!” and enjoy encouraging her by yelling that throughout the show when she plays the bass. To join the official fan club on Facebook, click here. When not playing groovy licks on the bass, you can find Karen reading a book and drinking hot tea.