Young talents harmonize and instruct
Friesen Family Band
I was truly inspired by Dappled Things, the second CD produced by the Friesen Family Band from Edmonton. Chris Friesen, pastor at Lendrum MB Church, his wife Louise, and their five children sing and make music together. The older four children (9–16) join their parents in singing amazing harmony, beautiful solos, and exquisite instrument playing. The youngest (3 years old) sings with the family at home and appears once or twice during concerts.
Chris wrote or arranged most of the music, but Godwin, an accomplished pianist at 11 years old, contributed original piano compositions to two tracks (“The Windhover” and “Wrinkle in Time”) and wrote vocal melodies and harmonies for the latter song.
The Friesen Family Band website describes the music as “eclectic faith-folk for heart, mind, and soul.” I would describe the music as sometimes having a Celtic feel. The family’s repertoire of instruments ranges from piano to recorder, flute, trumpet, violin, guitar, ukulele, bass guitar, and percussion instruments. The a cappella harmony singing is exquisite, the rhythm detail fascinating, and vocal lines intertwine with instrument lines in varied and exciting ways. I was so pleased that I could understand all the words – the diction and balance with instrumentation was wonderful.
The Bible and literature inspire many of the pieces: “The Windhover” and “Pied Beauty” are based on poems by G.M. Hopkins; Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, A Wrinkle in Time, forms the basis of a song; the Nicene Creed and Latin mass inspire another. There are also arrangements of familiar hymns and well-known folk songs (“Blowing in the Wind” and “Lean on Me”).
Besides singing at churches and other events, the Friesen Family Band has a 50-minute presentation for schools. Entitled Many Colors of Music, it blends education with entertainment, demonstrates basic musical concepts, and explores ways to make music. A delightful CD track, “Abba Cadeff,” sung by one of the sons, explores learning to read using the alphabet.
Visit the website, www.friesenfamilyband.com, to discover how to order the CD or arrange for the family to come to your area with a concert or educational presentation. The Friesen Family Band’s first CD, We are Seeking, was produced in 2007.
I trust this CD will move listeners to praise God and enter into his presence. What a treat, in our society, to see a family working together so beautifully, to inspire others to live their lives for God.