By Susan Mires
SPRINGFIELD—A trio of siblings will share their music with messengers here at the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) annual meeting Oct. 26.
The Martins are one of the premier groups of Christian music, winning six Dove awards and being nominated for a Grammy. They have performed at the White House, Grand Ole Opry and Bill Gaither’s Homecoming Video Series.
“I think they have a lot of appeal,” said John Francis, worship specialist with the MBC. “We try to have at least one recognizable name and a lot of regional flavor every year.”
The Martins’ career has humble roots in Hamburg, Ark. Joyce, Jonathan and Judy started singing together in a home that didn’t have electricity. Cracks in the floor let them see the dogs and chickens living under the house.
“We didn’t have a lot,” Joyce Martin said. “But we had each other and Mama helped ignite in us our love of music. She’d teach us the parts after church and then make us practice and practice. Of course, we practiced acapella as we had no piano at home.”
The Martins continued to perfect their harmonies and sold the family car to record their first album. Their music caught the ear of some high-profile Christian music artists. One evening, Michael English and Mark Lowry pulled Gloria Gaither into a bathroom to hear The Martins sing.
Their career moved up from there. Their music is strongly grounded in the Southern Gospel tradition but combines many other styles in what they simply call “Martin Music.”
“There is a lot of variety in our repertoire now, but it’s still very recognizably us,” Joyce Martin said.
They perform a blend of music that will appeal to many messengers, Francis said, everything from fresh arrangements of traditional hymns to contemporary songs of praise and worship.
“They are able to minister to a lot of needs,” he said.
The Martins will sing several times during the Tuesday session at the Expo Center in Springfield. They are scheduled to perform pre-session music, special music and congregational singing in the morning and afternoon sessions and at 6:10 p.m.
In addition to The Martins, the annual meeting will be filled with different types of music. The Missouri Music Men will be joined with a brass band to ring in the Wednesday morning session. Convention officers – President Bruce McCoy, First Vice President John Marshall, Second Vice President Mitch Jackson and Recording Secretary Jamie Hitt – will form a quartet singing group. And Southern Raised Bluegrass is a group of young musicians who will, “take you right back to the Ozarks,” Francis said.