The Shireys family gospel group, from left, includes father Wayne Shirey, daughter Victoria Shirey, mother Darlene Shirey and daughter Rachael Shirey. (Special Photo)
With numerous award nominations and a recent win for Male Vocalist of the Year in the Beacon Awards, The Shireys gospel group is a family of singers making a name for themselves. Based out of Columbia, S.C., The Shireys will be in concert at 6 p.m. Sunday at Community Church of Praise located at 3851 Union Church Road in Stockbridge.
This full-time gospel group includes mother Darlene, father Wayne and their two daughters, Victoria and Rachael. Mr. and Mrs. Shirey have traveled the country singing gospel music for three decades, and brought their now grown daughters up on stage for the first time when they were just preschoolers.
The whole family went into full-time ministry on the road as The Shireys in 2009. Brother Chris, who is married and the father of a new baby boy, used to play drums for the group, but now he works in Wilkesboro, N.C., which is home for him, his wife Jenny and their baby Jude.
The Shireys gospel group stays busy traveling and has dozens of concert dates lined up at churches and events in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama just the first three months of this year. They perform about 250 events a year and are only home a couple of days each week out of the year.
Despite a busy schedule, daughter Victoria is getting married in February to Aaron Bowlin, a youth pastor in Wilkesboro, N.C., but she will continue to tour with her family after getting married. She also travels to Nashville, Tenn., where she does background vocals and other studio work for a number of artists.
The three women in the group write the songs for The Shireys, with Victoria writing about 90 percent of them. In addition, both daughters have released solo projects and are working on new individual projects. Dad Wayne Shirey was recently named Male Vocalist of the Year for 2013 at the Beacon Awards ceremony in Panama City, Fla.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Shirey come from families that have been in the ministry for generations. Mr. Shirey and his sister, mother and father used to travel and sing as a group, with his grandmother playing the piano. Mrs. Shirey’s late mother was an evangelist and she grew up traveling from town to town as her mother preached at tent revivals across the region.
As a group, The Shireys’ latest release is “Carolina Christmas” and “Unconditional Love.” The Shireys have signed with Mansion Records of Branson, Mo., and have released five CDs as a group with the daughters each having a solo CD.
Victoria is also an author, having written a book titled “Faith in the Midst of the Storm,” which shares her testimony and stories of how the Lord has done works and miracles in her life, including freeing her from a deep depression she went through about three years ago.
In a phone interview as they traveled back home from Texas this week, Victoria said the group is excited about the concert this weekend at Community Church of Praise. She said The Shireys offer a range of musical styles and encourages everyone to come out and hear them.
“We do a variety and something that we hope everyone will like,” she said. “Rachael loves the black gospel style. Dad is Southern gospel all the way. Mom likes camp meeting style and I like it all. I describe it as a progressive Southern gospel style. We sing a little bit of everything…Come expecting a blessing.”
Beth Slaughter Sexton is a freelance writer based in Gwinnett County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.