Meet the Garms Family

The Story • The Music • The Team

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

— Romans 15:5-6 —

For nearly a decade, The Garms Family has sung everywhere from historic auditoriums to a makeshift stage in a barn. The Minnesota family puts thousands of miles on their 40-foot motorhome each year. Road life can be grueling, but the late nights, the busy schedule, and the breakdowns are not the most challenging part.

It’s when the family of eight gathers for a practice session.

“Forget instrument practice; it’s character practice!” laughs Kris Garms, mother of the family. David and Kris and their six kids—Ben, Taylor, Leesha, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb—not only blend vocals but personalities and ideas as they work together. 

Family harmony requires grace, humility, and a team attitude.

The Garms Family’s musical journey began in 2006. They had settled in Braham, Minnesota after a year and half of traveling the country to help build churches. They never intended to share their music outside their living room. The kids were interested in Civil War history and their small acreage. Singing hymns on Sunday afternoons and attending Southern Gospel concerts was enough. Random people, though, began to approach them with a strange question: “Do you guys sing?”

They always said no.

“But God had a different plan,” says David, the group’s emcee and manager.

Instruments were added as the years went by. None of the three brothers and three sisters had instrument or vocal lessons, but instead each trained themselves to play at least two instruments. Kris laughs: “We have some books and DVDs, but they tend to gather dust!” David and Kris found some old sound equipment at a thrift store and gave it to the family one Christmas.

A desire to share their music outside the home began to develop.

In 2008 a promoter asked the Garms a familiar question, “Do you guys sing?” The family decided to say yes for the first time. He then asked them to open for an upcoming concert.

After The Garms Family’s first experience on stage, word spread fast about the young group. Local churches and events booked them, and the family crammed instruments, kids, and equipment into a 15-passenger van until they later added a trailer. They felt called to encourage people with the Gospel of Jesus through their songs and smiles.

David, a small aircraft mechanic by trade, lost his job in 2010. Led by the Lord to keep singing, the Garms took a step of faith and entered full-time ministry.

And they haven’t looked back.

With seven CD projects under their belts—each one recorded at their home studio—The Garms Family has toured in over 25 states. Their eclectic musical style brings a fresh appeal. With over 15 instruments on stage, they can transition from a straight-up Southern Gospel group to an entire bluegrass band.

“It is difficult to nail our exact genre!” says Taylor, 25, who plays piano and mandolin. “We sing entirely Christian music and cover Southern Gospel, bluegrass, Celtic, and modern hymns. Our foundation, though, is the three- and four-part harmony of Southern Gospel—and we love throwing in a cappella arrangements.” Members of the family have also written multiple songs for their repertoire.

The oldest sibling in the band, Ben, is 26; Caleb, the youngest, is 14. All of the kids have been home-schooled. The graduates of the family are involved in additional pursuits besides the band: Ben is an audio engineer, Taylor owns a graphic design business, and Leesha is writing a book series for middle-graders.

“For me, the performances are the best part about road trips,” says Sam, the family’s 17-year old bass vocalist and drummer. “Every time I get on stage I am reminded of the reason we travel thousands of miles: To share the gospel we have been given to every person that comes out to see us sing.”

Not one of them claims to be worthy to stand on stage. Each has an account of failure and sin—daily they fall short of the glory of God. But, because The Garms Family serves a Savior Who died for their sin, Who saved them—not because they were worthy of saving—they proclaim the hope they received with their voices and instruments, to be a living picture of God’s faithfulness and grace. That’s what The Garms Family wants people to know.

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David

Baritone, guitar & Accordion

Birthday: October 12, 19??

Former aircraft mechanic and Director of Christian Education. Now David uses those skills to drive bus and lead the band. He’s also been a security guard, a preloader at UPS®, and a floor-guard at a roller rink.

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Kris

Alto, Upright Bass & Piano

Birthday: October 21, 19??

She’s the heartbeat of the family and David’s co-pilot. Wearing many hats, Kris has been a waitress/hostess, a MaryKay™ consultant, and provided daycare—all while homeschooling the kids!

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Ben

Bass, Guitars & Banjo

Birthday: January 28, 1991

He got his first guitar at age 11, sang with the Minnesota Boychoir—receiving the Alto of the Year award in 2002—and wanted to be a police officer. He’s now a bass, plays over five other instruments, and traded…

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Taylor

Soprano, Piano & Mandolin

Birthday: April 8, 1992

Graphic designer and food specialist. She keeps the family’s online presence alive while running her own design business and website. Once tone-deaf and a hater of piano, Taylor sings soprano…

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Leesha

Lead, Dobro

Birthday: December 3, 1994

The wardrobe manager and principal history buff. On select Civil War battlefields, she knows exactly “who was where and what happened there”. Gifted with a beautiful lead voice and…

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Sam

Bass, Drums & Harmonica

Birthday: January 18, 2000

Chief percussionist and jokester. Skilled at orchestrating music, inventing games, and keeping people in stitches, he has a surprisingly rich bass voice and livens the stage with his energy.

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Jayme

Soprano, Fiddle & Mandolin

Birthday: December 22, 2001

Multi-talented musician and the boys’ hair technician. Pursues photography, writing, graphic design, and playing two-on-two basketball with her brothers. She has a tender heart, a zeal for good…

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Caleb

Lead, Guitars & Percussion

Birthday: August 31, 2003

His power vocals and confidence on stage impress audiences, but he’s quick to say he’s not the star—Jesus Christ is the only “star” in his life. Aficionado of quartet music, Civil War history…

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Family Facts

If we eat out...
Culvers is our first choice (hooray for gluten-free options!). If we’re in the mood for pizza, nothing beats Dominoes. Our favorite coffee shop is none other than Minnesota’s own Caribou Coffee. (Who doesn’t love a cup full of sugar of coffee?!) And about once a year we’ll pull into a RV parking spot at Cracker Barrel, enjoy some Southern cooking, and then sit in the rocking chairs a spell.
Our favorite animals...
Before any kids bought instruments, there was talk of saving up for farm animals. Dad put his foot down and said, “It’s either music or animals.” The only pets we had pre-instruments were outdoor cats, so today when we travel, our two lovable felines Timmy and Oliver hold the fort down and anxiously await our return. And we often bring our Betta fish Pepsi on tour, occasionally putting him in charge of the product table.
What we do together...
Our family disposition is casual. We’re simple folk who love to talk and laugh. Everyone is an avid reader. While traveling, games and words wars are the favorite activities. Basketball is our preferred sport to play, and studying the Civil War is a topic we all enjoy. Among other interests are drawing, photography, videography, puzzle building, agate collecting, discussing current events, analyzing music, vehicle maintenance, and theological debates.
Stops across the country...
Usually we focus solely on our music ministry while on tour, but on occasion we break to visit interesting spots—especially battlefields. Some of our family highlights include Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), Lake Superior, Mount Rushmore (South Dakota), Antietam (Maryland), Andersonville (Georgia), Vicksburg (Mississippi—where our great-great-great grandfather fought), and Sweetwater Sound (Indiana).

Come along for the Ride!

Go behind the scenes on the family blog