Southern Gospel fans find family groups irresistible. There is just no topping that special family harmony, camaraderie and love that floods the auditorium when a family group steps onstage. The Dysart Family is no different. They come from generations of Gospel music singers and instrumentalists, and have a soft, sweet sound full of tight vocals and an honest presentation full of the love of God. LeWain I and Lorena have five children: LeWain II, 24; Kendra, 22; Clayton, 15; Tanner, 13; and Logan, 9. When this family begins to sing together, it reminds us of the origins of the great family Gospel groups like the Speers or the Collingsworth Family.
The Dysart Family records with Crossroads and released the album The Grace of God last year. They sent the single to radio: “God’s Love Is So Amazing,” written by LeWain I. It was the first of the Family’s singles to chart, debuting on the Singing News Chart at #53 and reaching #46 in January 2014. LeWain I says, “Naming a favorite song from the CD is impossible to do. As we looked for and wrote songs for this project, our objective was to find songs that we have to sing. I would have to say that the CD as a whole has ministered to me immensely.” Their listeners seem to like all of the songs that the Family sings. “Our audience really doesn’t just have one favorite,” says LeWain II. “To narrow it down it seems that “The Grace Of God,” “Walk Right Out Of This Valley,” “Nobody Else Can Move A Mountain,” and “All I Need To Know,” as well as others from our other CD’s [are favorites].”
LeWain I, patriarch of the Dysart Family, is not sold on the preference of Southern Gospel fans for family artists. “Whether or not an audience prefers a family group, I do not know. What I do know is that wherever we sing our audience feels like they are at home with our family and they seem to like that.” Only daughter Kendra says, “I would say that it really depends on the audience you are singing to. Some prefer family groups to quartets, while others prefer the traditional quartet sound over any other group.” Mom Lorena says family groups are special because, “the family today is not connected and united with what they do on a regular basis.” Perhaps audiences see a glimpse into a past culture and unity with others that they miss.
The Dysarts are certainly connected, as they are always together while ministering across the country. “Traveling as a family on a regular basis as we do is a very rare thing that few families get to experience. The fact that we get to do what we love and see so many different places is amazing all by itself, but the fact that we get to do it as a family, it really cannot get any better than that!” says Kendra. “The best thing about traveling as a family is just that, traveling as a family, which is also difficult too because you can’t get away from each other!” laughs LeWain II.
Families that are constantly around each other can find a few challenges along the way. Lorena says her challenges are, “getting everyone ready and making sure all the concert clothing gets on the bus.” LeWain I says, “The greatest challenge about traveling as a family is that we bring our family along. Just kidding! The biggest challenge really is maintaining family routine on the road. Our bus has made that much more possible. We eat Lorena’s home cooking, devotions and bed time still happen on schedule, college classes get done, and the kids enjoy the same entertainment as they do at home.”
Singing itself presents wonderful moments and challenges for any vocalist. Kendra says that the hardest thing is “probably trying to be awake enough to sing on Sunday mornings. I am not a morning person!” However, she says the best thing is, “being able to spread God’s Word through what I love, which is singing!” LeWain II says, “Besides learning how to become a better singer, the most difficult thing for me is talking with the people before and after the concert. I am a little shy, and am not the best at just talking with people I just meet. I will say though that it is becoming easier. I think the best thing for me is my communication when I am singing and that is just by what others have told me.”
Mom Lorena says it is challenging at times to work with the difficult rhythms, however she enjoys helping the family “find really neat chords.” “The greatest challenge in my singing is staying in shape vocally,” shares LeWain I. “Our family is committed to excellence and it takes a lot of work. The best thing about singing is that I get a greater blessing from the audience!”
Despite any challenges, LeWain I says that this type of ministry is in his blood. “Gospel music was an integral part of growing up in my family. My mother was the church pianist and played the accordion as well. My older siblings were often singing. My Uncle Bob Batton wrote gospel songs and sang with his family in camp meetings. My Aunt Eyvonne Batton was a song evangelist for most of her life. The Gaither Trio was a favorite of mine while growing up. I still remember many of their jacket covers for their records, and how their songs moved me. Now, as a songwriter, I am challenged to write songs that move people, and songs the church can sing, just as Bill has done over the years.”
The eldest two children also have influences just like Bill Gaither was for their father. “I have several musical influences and heroes, in all honesty!” says Kendra. “I really look up to singers such as Adele, Carrie Underwood, Adam Levine, and countless others. As you can tell from the three I listed, I try to keep my musical influences well rounded!” Kendra continues, “Ever since I was a little girl, I have always looked up to my father as a spiritual influence. Over the past ten years, my youth leader, Lydia, has taught me so much spiritually and I have learned so much from her!”
“George Younce and Glen Payne were my two influences and heroes as I grew up, and in the past few years Eric Bennett of Triumphant Quartet has become a big influence and hero as well,” says LeWain II. “Roger and Debra Talley have also become very big influences and encouragers to me too. My father has been a big spiritual influence in my life, as well as David Doctorian, who used to be my Sunday School teacher. Roger and Debra Talley have also become very big influences and encouragers to me too.”
Often those who influence our lives give us great pieces of advice that we remember for a long time to come. “Eric Bennett told me the most important thing is to touch at least one life while you are there,” LeWain II shares. “This is most important to me because that is why we are out singing, to touch lives, to tell them about a God Who loves them and Who can change their lives forever.”
Kendra has also received good advice along the way. “There are two quotes that I view as bits of advice for anyone: ‘A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in a little thing is a big thing,’ Hudson Taylor- Missionary to China. ‘He who is faithful in a very little thing, is faithful also in much…’ Jesus Christ our Lord. These are important to me because they tell me that no matter what you may be doing for the Kingdom, even the smallest of jobs, is viewed as something great by our Lord! It encourages me to do my best for the Lord no matter how small it may be!”
LeWain I says the best advice he received is this: “’I believe in the call of the open door.’ Noel Scott is a noted evangelist and former Bible College President. He made this statement when I was confiding in him about my struggle with being a pastor, but also having a growing family concert ministry. It is important to me because I now realize that God has always led me with open doors.”
We asked the Dysart Family about their favorite Bible verses. LeWain I says, “The verse I have been leaning most heavily upon lately has been II Corinthians 12:7-10 where Paul pleaded three times for his thorn in the flesh to be removed, but when God finally answered, He did not give Paul his request. Rather, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” So if I am willing, God will supply the grace for me to endure the greatest struggles of life, and when I do, He gets all the glory.”
Lorena’s favorite is II Cor. 5:17. “’Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!’ No matter our past, God forgets it all and gives us new life through Him.”
LeWain II quotes Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Kendra states: “Isaiah 40:31, ‘But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ This verse tells me that for those of us who put our trust and hope in the Lord, we will be able to find strength in Him when we need it the most.”
The Dysart Family has firm roots in Southern Gospel singing and ministry and even stronger roots in their faith in Jesus; both of these shine through in their singing and conversation.We asked them what their final tweet might be if they were to leave this earth.
Dad LeWain I says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Mom Lorena says: “Live your life so that your thoughts, words and desires will be a reflection of our Savior’s love.”
LeWain II tweets: “God loves you. Don’t lean on what you understand, but let Him direct your path! Read Proverbs 3:5-6.”
Kendra adds: “John 3:16, look it up! #believe #getsaved #seeyouinheaven.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of The Dysart Family. Be sure to see them when they perform in your area, and visit them on the Net. This is one Family we will be hearing about for a long time to come!
The Dysart Family on the web: http://www.thedysartfamily.org
The Dysart Family on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDysartFamily
LeWain Dysart I: https://www.facebook.com/lewain.dysart
Lorena Dysart: https://www.facebook.com/lorena.dysart
LeWain Dysart II: https://www.facebook.com/lewain.i.dysart
Kendra Dysart: https://www.facebook.com/kendra.dysart
Questions? Comments? Email Lorraine at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lorraine Walker