The family that plays music together stays together, and the Annie Moses Band provides the proof.
The band, which will present a concert Aug. 17 at First Baptist Church in Springfield, is comprised of the six Wolaver siblings, a sister-in-law and their parents. Annie Wolaver, the eldest of the six, is the lead singer and violinist.
Growing up in the Wolaver family meant playing music from the age of 4.
"My parents had been in the music profession as songwriters for more than 20 years," Wolaver says.
"They started us on stringed instruments, and eventually, our studies took us to Julliard, during which time we started the Annie Moses Band," she says. "We had studied classical music, my dad had an extensive jazz background and my mother was raised on roots and Americana."
The band's name is an homage to the siblings' great-grandmother.
"I was named after her," Wolaver says.
"She was the first woman in our family to invest in the artistic abilities of her children. She lived in dire poverty and worked as a field hand. She died at 49, but left this legacy of faith and family and music.
"Every generation has been able to build on it," Wolaver says. "You can see a long trajectory leading from the cotton fields of Texas to a family that plays in music halls around the world."
Every family member has a part in the band.
"The music of the Annie Moses Band is very unique in the sense that we apply the virtuosity of classical music in a commercial setting," Wolaver says.
Father Bill does the song arrangements and plays keyboards, mother Robin writes songs and sings. Alex plays the viola, Benjamin the cello, Camille the harp and keyboard, Gretchen the violin and mandolin, Jeremiah plays the electric guitar and sister-in-law Berklee sings.
"Several of us sing," Wolaver says. "The drummer travels with us. My mother has a book coming out Sept. 1 that tells the story of our group."
The book is titled "The Song of Annie Moses" and is being published by Guideposts Books.
"It tells the whole story of Annie Moses through four generations and our educational development," Wolaver says.
"That's become very much the focus of our music. So many parents want to know how my parents accomplished what they did. How did they get their kids to practice?"
It all is due to faith, they say.
"My mother was in college when she had a divine moment where she saw a very young girl playing a Suzuki violin," Wolaver says.
"My mother grew up in the mountains. She had a divine moment where a voice said, 'When you have a little girl, you need to do that.'
"As each of the children came along, they started looking for an instrument that suited the personality of the child," she says. "It gave us more of a diverse smattering and it allowed us to play together, it enabled us to coordinate. In retrospect, it seems very well planned, but it just worked out that way."
Life at the Wolaver house was different from most families, although none of the children realized it.
"It was definitely unusual in the sense that our focus was different from that of an average family, even though it felt very natural in the context of our home," Wolaver says.
"We started very, very young. When you start doing something at 4 or 5 years old, you don't remember life before it.
"Music has become a natural outflow of life," Wolaver says. "It's as natural as learning how to eat and walk and be."
At 16, Jeremiah is the youngest member of the group.
"Most of us are in our 20s," Wolaver says.
In 2012, the Annie Moses Band made its Carnegie Hall and Grand Ole Opry debuts, and this winter will play the Kennedy Center.
"We've done a couple of PBS specials which were successful, especially the Christmas special, which was received very well," Wolaver says.
"When we come to Springfield, we'll be playing a lot of music from our new album. It's a really fun project to promote."
On Aug. 6, the band released its first commercial CD and DVD, "Pilgrims and Prodigals." It will begin airing as a concert special on public television stations nationwide in late August.
"The first single is called 'Blush,'" Wolaver says. "That song has been particularly very well received."
There is harmony in the family, even offstage.
"We actually get along very well," Wolaver says. "The music business is a hard industry to be in. There is a fast turnover in our field.
"We're able to tackle the challenges and victories and triumphs together," she says. "There's always the inner squabbles, but they are very menial. We're very grateful to be able to do it together."
Education is so important to the Wolavers that they sponsor a fine arts academy for two weeks every summer.
"There are 220 students and 80 faculty from major music programs," Wolaver says. "We put on a huge final gala and this year, we got the Grand Ole Opry building. We're still on a little bit of a high from that."
The band was organized in 2002 and plans to stay together.
"There's been quite a lot of water under the bridge as far as our own development," Wolaver says.
"A couple of us are married. I have a little boy who is 21 months old. We've gone through the bigger life changes, but our focus together has been maintained.
"A life in music can be a hard row to hoe in many ways," Wolaver says. "The fact that we're able to tackle the challenges together has made it lasting and rewarding and gives us a great balance."
IF YOU GO
What: The Annie Moses Band in concert
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 17
Where: First Baptist Church, 1435 Ga. 119, Springfield