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Wednesday, 24 September 2014 13:48

Sundrops bright rays of light on Swift Current music scene

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The Sundrops performed at the Gospel Jam in Shaunavon earlier this summer. The Sundrops performed at the Gospel Jam in Shaunavon earlier this summer.

Go to YouTube and call up the Sundrops’ version of Farther Along. If one has never heard or seen the group before, trying closing one’s eyes before the link comes up.

Listening to the music, one will hear angelic singing, the expert Colin James-like blues guitar playing and the accompanying violin and acoustic guitar behind lead singer Hailey Folks.
Open one’s eyes and a shocking discovery will be made. It will be hard to believe the wonderful harmonies and gifted musicians are a family band led by a lead singer who is only 12. What’s even more incredible is the fact she’s the oldest. Her brother Darian is 11, Lara is nine and Jesse is seven.
This isn’t some “aww, ain’t that cute” band which only plays for the family, although that’s who initially pushed them to get themselves organized more formally.
They have already played some prestigious events such as at the 2014 Frenchmen Valley Gospel Jamboree (which featured the Oak Ridge Boys, Jason Blaine, Catherine Lewans and the Hunter Brothers); the 40th Anniversary Nitewatch Radio celebration; various Centennial Celebration events; at the Lyric Theatre and market squares in Swift Current including the last one of the season Sept. 27.
The group has been around since May 2013, but took to music earlier in their brief lives thanks to the guidance of their parents, Eva and Daryl. The children took an interest and their parents helped them learn. Perhaps a catalyst in the formation of the group was the children’s desire to play for their grandparents during their 50th wedding anniversary. Eva is from a family of 18 and the party for her parents had 120 people. One of her sisters encouraged Eva to form a band after a performance that left the family awestruck.
“They were floored by it,” recalls Eva.
Buoyed by the encouragement, the children appeared at an Open Stage Night at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current. Darian also picked up a ukulele and they performed a mouth-dropping performance of Somewhere over the Rainbow.
While this sounds too good to be true, an interested and influential audience member was impressed.
Eliza Doyle, local teacher and member of the successful Midnite Roses, was in the crowd that night. She asked the group whether they would play for the Midnight Roses’ CD release party. With all of Doyle’s talent, success and experience, to be asked after one open stage performance is saying a lot. Doyle was blown away.
“I saw The Sundrops first perform at the Lyric Theatre’s Open Stage in 2013. I knew right away this band of siblings had something special,” explains Doyle. “The dedication and love they have for music was evident from the second I laid eyes on them.”
Eva says she and her husband talked about it and whether they wanted to venture into this realm and they decided to go for it. After a lot of deliberation and ideas, Daryl picked the group’s name and away they went.
To say the children are gifted is an understatement. Hailey sings, plays cello, piano, guitar, and some drums. Darian plays an excellent guitar, but is also blessed in his abilities to play drums, ukulele, violin and piano. Both Hailey and Darian have written songs.
The two youngest members Lara, nine, and Jesse, seven, both are big contributors as well. Lara works well on the piano, viola and according to her mother does well with the tenor portion of songs. Jesse also plays violin and piano.
Eva works with their singing, but they also take lessons with a variety of teachers in Swift Current, Saskatoon, and Medicine Hat. Eva ensures they have time to practise their music, gets them to lessons and more importantly gives them a chance to still be children and enjoy themselves by home schooling them.
They had lived in Grand Prairie, Alta. only a few years ago. Eva says she had a dream they would live in Swift Current and sure enough, they moved to southwest Saskatchewan and Daryl found work.
The kids had gone to school, did some music lessons and then “they never stopped” with the music. This led to the home schooling where Eva saw potential. They are home schooled from 90 minutes to two hours a day before going into music and playtime.
It’s not been all sunshine and roses, as there have been a lot of adjustments. They have their bad days like anyone else in their lessons and it was an adjustment to create a daily family routine.
“At times, it’s been quite stressful ... it took me a full year to figure it out,” explains Eva. “Now, I know not to be stressed out. I know it’s going to go very well. God told me to follow my kids. The kids lead the way. I get to go to all these concerts and it’s amazing.”
The group played at a function for an elderly couple. The couple was so impressed with the youngsters and their music that day,  especially their rendition of Tell Me About the Good ol’ Days, they actually got up and shared a dance together — something which apparently was rare. It moved the grandfather so much to the point he told the Folks their work “changed his life.”
This of course is the kind of compliments and inspiration which encourages the Folks family to continue and plan for tours down the road.
Eva says it’s been a great experience for the whole family. The parents do all the behind-the-scenes work which allows the children to shine on stage.
It’s hard to predict the future and whether this is what the children will do for the rest of their lives, but they have learned a lot of skills and values involving perseverance, dedication and hard work. Their family motto  is “perfect is good enough.”
“For us, it’s great; they can be musicians if they want to be when they grow up,” explains Eva who is thankful to the Midnight Roses and the Lyric Theatre for giving them the chance and feeling blessed for being given the opportunity to nourish their God-given talent. “But right now they just love being a band.
“To us now, a normal crowd is 500 people. To hundred isn’t big (or intimidating) — at the same time we’re just as thrilled to play for 30 people.”
Doyle can’t say enough about their ability. Doyle believes if they stick with it, there is no telling how far the quartet can go.
“They have a sparkle and natural ability that has been nurtured and honed, and everytime I’ve seen them since they have grown in immeasurable ways,” adds Doyle. “They love performing and connecting with audiences, and this is what keeps people coming back for more. My excitement lies in waiting and watching these amazing kids develop, as ... their future has no limits.”
The Sundrops perform at the Market Square Sept. 27; at the Medicine Hat College Theatre Oct. 4 (7 p.m.) and Nov. 28 at the Centennial Celebration at the Lyric. Theatre.

Read 8793 times Last modified on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 13:53
Ryan Dahlman

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