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From the pop sounding musical jolt of “One More Reason” to the poignant and heartfelt pleas of “All That I Am,” the harmonizing sisters, Christina Ferris and Brenda Krause, communicate their faith on their first release “Listen.” This unshakeable faith has been a constant in their lives since birth. “Our message is not just about reaching the lost, certainly we want to do that, but having grown up in the church ourselves we want to remind those who have done the same of God’s promises,” says Christina.
The sisters began singing together at the ages of 5 & 6, Christina is the soprano and Brenda is the alto, and their voices now blend together so perfectly that it’s virtually impossible to tell when one sister’s voice ends and the other begins. Their clear vocals and perfect harmonies belie the fact that neither has ever had formal training but from a very young age it was obvious they had a gift.
Unlike most children who grow up performing for family, Christina & Brenda kept their singing mostly to themselves. “We would put on ‘shows’ for ourselves so it took much encouragement from our parents and friends for us to have the confidence to sing in front of people.” remembers Brenda. Eventually, the musicians at their church in Hawaii, Grace Bible Christian, took them under their wing and became their teachers.
Looking back on their upbringing, the sisters’ recall one of the most important lessons learned was respect. Their mother Carolyn, a third-generation Japanese native of Hawaii, converted to Christianity from Buddhism in her early 20’s. And while most traditional Japanese families might turn their backs on her, Carolyn was never separated from her family. “Going against her family was a major undertaking but her faith was so important to her. She was just so courageous, “ Brenda comments with obvious admiration for her mother. Because of their mother’s steadfast faith, Christina and Brenda were encouraged to ask questions and then seek the spiritual answers. And just as God had revealed Himself to the earnest truth-seeking Carolyn as a young woman, so did he consistently reveal himself to her daughters.
At the ages of ten and eleven their father Dennis, a career sergeant in the Air Force, was transferred from Hawaii to Delaware. The sisters’ graduated from high school and both attended Delaware State University where they received conventional educations.
After college, Christina worked for a major national bank and Brenda became a high school math teacher. Two years ago, God sent a strong, caring man to enter the lives’ of this dynamic duo and Christina met and married Mike Ferris. Brenda describes her brother-in-law, “He’s our conscience. He’s the one that is constantly pushing us as he has continually supported this ministry and has never doubted it even when we did.” While they continued to work on their singing over the years, it wasn’t until recently that each of them left their respective careers to pursue music full time.
Rarely is a musical acts’ story complete without the ‘big break’ and it happened for Everafter in 1999, when a local radio station asked them to open for the Christian group Newsong. After Everafter performed, Newsong member Leonard Ahlstrom offered to help them produce their first CD yielding their debut recorded project, “Listen.”
“Before recording at the studio in Nashville, our only experience was working in a home studio of one of our friends. Unfortunately a cricket was somewhere in the room and every time we would start to sing the cricket would begin chirping. We’d stop and everyone would go around the room stomping in every corner to shut the cricket up. The cricket would be quiet just in time for us to start singing and then he’d join in again,” laugh the sisters.
The title track “Listen” is the first single from the project. “We selected it as the first release because it wouldn’t categorize us to any kind of genre. We could appeal to a wide group of people and succeed in introducing Everafter to many different markets,” comments Christina. “Also its message is so true. Because I am a ‘goal’ oriented person, I can get rather frenzied at times so as we sang this song in the studio it was like God whispered in my ear to ‘stop and listen to Me’, which was so amazing.”
Although Listen is the first single, the sisters’ favorite cut on the album is Completely. “For personal fulfillment reasons, Completely is my favorite because it was an opportunity to not only sing from our hearts but the song came from the soul of our hearts as well since we co-wrote it,” says Christina. Brenda concurs, “I came up with the initial idea and Christina came in and ‘completed’ the song.” Both laugh when they immediately add, “…and Leonard, of course! Without him we wouldn’t have known how to finish it!” Prior to this project, both Brenda and Christina dabbled in songwriting but they are quick to give credit to the mentoring Leonard Ahlstrom has provided them for their songwriting craft. Christina admits “we were always jotting down thoughts, lines, or ideas but never knew how to make them into a song so Leonard had the ability to finish our thoughts.”
It’s ironic that the sisters of Everafter name, “Completely,” as their favorite song from their first project. Not only is it the first song they wrote and ‘completed’, but since childhood they have done virtually everything together. Even though they are a year apart in age, they both graduated from high school together; they went to college together; and together their faith in God has strengthened over the years. They’ve also rarely sung apart from each other and as a result, their musical harmonies melt together as one. “We trade off singing leads and it is difficult to tell the difference (in our voices) but we love it when people ask us ‘which one is you?’” comments Christina. Brenda adds, “What I love about singing with Chris is not just the ability to harmonize but in our singing we have the same mind as we go into a project, the ability to match each other. When she’s weak I’m strong, and when I’m weak she’s strong, a quality that thankfully God has helped us develop since childhood.”
Just as God’s
love has created a strong bond in the relationship of these sisters, it
is only fitting that the music Everafter creates is a perfect reflection
of this faithful combination: God’s faithfulness to them and their
constant faithfulness in Him will always be Everafter.
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