I was about 6 years old when we stared singing together as a family. That means that my two younger brothers, Kevin and Tracy were preschoolers. Kevin would have been about 5 years old and Tracy would have only been around 4. We sang full length versions of songs, and they never missed a word…. not once! I remember vividly how Tracy would sit in the living room and sing along with the theme song to Gilligan’s Island. He knew every word.
Dad bought a PA sound system and we each had our own microphone. He color coded them with different colors of tape so we each knew exactly which one was ours. We also had regular rehearsals at home and he would record us on reel to reel and sometimes cassettes and play it back for us to hear. He also instructed us on singing courtesy. When someone sang a solo, and yes, both Kevin and Tracy sang solos as well and Lisa and I, we were to turn and give them our full attention. That way, Dad told us, the congregation members would give them their attention as well. He took the time to copy the words for each song into a folder and put them in order so that we had a complete program to perform. I remember using these folders once. We might have used them twice, but after that it was evident that we didn’t need them at all. We were well rehearsed and ready to go.
I have the reel to reel tapes at my house. The Panasonic player I have still works, but the quality of the tapes are fuzzy and distorted in places. The very first song on one of the tapes is the whole family singing “Turn Your Radio On”. We couldn’t have been much older than when we first started singing. If I remember correctly, this was one of the first songs we ever did. I listened to it for the first time in 40 years just about a year or so ago. We twanged out the song in true southern style, complete with thick accents and little voices mixed with Mom and Dad. It was the most beautiful music I have ever heard.