Home is Where the Gospel is
by Shelby C. Berry
“We started singing and playing together in nursing homes when we noticed our three oldest daughters were able to harmonize with parts,” said Brian Fuller, father and bandleader for The Fuller Family Singers.
“The three oldest girls had a desire for what we were doing in the church and the nursing homes,” he continued. “So, I told the girls that if they would practice every weekday for a month for 30 minutes per day, then I would give them a dollar for every day. And if they missed, they paid me a dollar. We did this for about two months, then the vision took hold, and the rest is history.”
Brian’s only exposure to bluegrass music had been a single radio station that played bluegrass music on Saturday nights. Rachel was specifically influenced by bluegrass music due to her family roots and being raised in North Carolina.
“Several of my family members played the banjo, and I grew up around it all of my life. My grandad owned a shop where they would host bluegrass jam sessions,” said Rachel.
While The Fuller Family Singers primarily sing gospel songs, they tend to lean towards music with a country and bluegrass flair. Neither Brian nor Rachel played musical instruments until after they were married. However, the children started much earlier and continue learning new instruments while Rachel composes original music for their family band.
Today, this family of 10 from Mount Pleasant Mills, Pennsylvania, perform and share the gospel at churches, festivals, and other events. Rachel plays guitar; 15-year-old Lauren plays acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and dobro; 14-year-old Charlotte plays piano, ukulele, and banjo; 11-year-old Brianna enjoys bass, piano, and fiddle; 10-year-old Micah plays ukulele, piano, and bass; and 8-year-old Isaac plays piano and ukulele. Joining in song are six-year-old Caleb and four-year-old Sadie, alongside the family’s newest addition, 18-month-old Judson, but these youngsters will also learn to play instruments like their siblings.
The Fuller family lives on a small farm where they raise dairy beef, goats, and produce, and are adding a pick-your-own strawberry patch. They also own and operate a custom saw-milling business and a kettle corn concession business.
“We live in a farming community surrounded by horse and buggy Mennonites,” said Brian.
This simple everyday life draws the Fuller Family to traditional music belonging to likes of The Carter Family and Patsy Cline, and soundtracks like The Sound of Music.
“We are influenced by our love of older music, older things, older movies, and the things we collect,” said Rachel. “Bluegrass has the feeling of the older songs that focus on simpler times.”
With the Fullers centered on music and family, it is no surprise that fellow bluegrass artists Autumn and Canyon Moore asked The Fuller Family Singers to join Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars.
“Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars has really encouraged the younger kids to get involved in their music. It has definitely been an encouragement to get more involved and branch out more than what we would have,” said Brian.
The Fuller Family Singers use their music as a vessel for Jesus Christ, which, in 2019, led to them performing at a prison crusade in Florida.
“It was quite the eye-opener to have people tell you that you are living their dream,” said Brian. “We were asked to come back this December.
Something like that makes you realize your blessings in life and how different it could be for you.”
“It was a very incredible experience to be there,” said Rachel.
Their music and testimony shares Jesus and the message of salvation because they, “hope to inspire people to work on their families and have a home where mom and dad love each other, the kids respect their parents and live in the way that God intended. We believe that we can be a testimony of what God intended for a family unit when we are living for His glory. That is the driving force behind our music and what we want to do.”