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Gospel group offers musical ministry

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By Robert Villanueva

Made up of an extended family of adults and children who live in Hardin County, the newly-formed The Elijah Band stands on a foundation of tradition.

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The group continues a musical ministry that has spanned years.

“This is the fourth generation,” Elijah Taylor said.

The Elijah Band is the latest incarnation of musical ministry for the family, which at one time was made up of Taylor, his parents and two sisters and went by the name The Taylor Family. The Taylor Family band was founded by Taylor's grandfather.

The band’s name represents its founder and the biblical Elijah, Taylor said.

The Elijah Band is composed of four adults and nine children. The adults are Taylor, lead guitar; Steve Dalton, bass; Josh Clayton, rhythm guitar; and Kyle Dalton, drums. The children, all siblings and cousins, in the band are Seairra Wombles, 13; Montana Wombles, 11; Colton Wombles, 7; Khiya Wombles, 4; Jamin Taylor, 7; Makena Taylor, 5; Weston Taylor, 4; Lawsen Taylor, 2; and Trey Dalton, 3.

The youngest two children are “in training,” Taylor said.

Adult band members contribute to the “upbeat and progressive” style of gospel performed, blending their personal tastes, Taylor said. They also might add special twists to the songs they perform.

“Of course it’s very family-oriented,” Steve Dalton said.

During a rehearsal, the children sang their rendition of “If You’re Happy and you Know It.”

"If you’re happy and you know it say amen," the children sang.

"If you have Jesus in your heart say amen," went another verse the children crooned. Some of the children punctuated the end of that line by answering “Amen!”

Festivals, churches and community events are among the venues The Elijah Band has played or will play. The band began performing around July or August of last year, Taylor said.

The next performance scheduled for The Elijah Band is during the Kentucky Southern Gospel Music Singing Convention in Cave City on Friday and Saturday. Other upcoming appearances include Sunflower Festival at Lakewood Elementary School in Cecilia, Cecilia Days, Glendale Crossing Festival, Church of God in Custer and Autumn Daze in Vine Grove.

“It’s exciting to be able to play in front of a crowd,” Kyle Dalton said.

It is also rewarding, he said, when audience members approach band members after a concert to let them know what the music meant to them.

Traveling to various locations to play might be one of the more enjoyable aspects of being in the band for Clayton, but coordinating the travel means caravaning with the band members, children and wives in tow in four or five vehicles including one to haul a trailer full of equipment.

Even though the adults play the instruments, the children take center stage during performances.

“When the rubber hits the road and the kids hit the stage it is not flawless,” Steve said.

Band members try to compensate whenever things are a little off.

“We have to wing something every once in a while,” Taylor said.

As the drummer, Kyle said keeping the beat flowing under those circumstances without the audience noticing any disruption is challenging.

In at least one case, it was an adult who was charged — by one of the younger children — with being at fault.

“He turned around and told me I had the wrong key,” Taylor said, chuckling.

Performing isn’t new to most of the children, either, he said.

“Most of them started singing in church,” Taylor said.

The practice and travel is hard work, but that doesn’t dissuade the members, Steve said.

“Anything of value is worth working for,” he said.

And the children enjoy performing, sometimes asking when their next concert will be, he said.

“It’s challenging ... but we don’t have to force them to get up there or we wouldn’t be doing it,” Taylor said.

TO LEARN MORE

The Elijah Band, a Hardin County family gospel group, will perform at the Kentucky Southern Gospel Music Singing Convention on Friday and Saturday at the Cave City Convention Center, 502 Mammoth Cave St., Cave City. To find out more about The Elijah Band, performances or to book the band, call (270) 317-5753 or email theelijahband@ hotmail.com.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.