The Evans family is a multi generation family group of singers and musicians whose passion is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with the gifting that He has given, playing and singing to bless others and to teach people about the love of God.
The Evans Family are blessed with a rich heritage of both musicality and Godliness that goes back at least 5 generations on both sides. On the Evans side, Rod’s great-great grandmother gifted a letter to her son, along with a small Bible, urging him to keep up his faith in Christ as he ventured away from his home in England to settle into a new life in Australia. The Evans’ are in possession of a copy of this letter and it is evident through her thoughtful words penned all those years ago that she was a woman of great faith. Obviously her son wisely heeded her counsel and took care to teach his children about God. The family are extremely grateful to God for giving and preserving this wonderful heritage.
Music has also always been a big part of everyday life for generations with Cheryl’s grandmother having a wonderful singing voice. Although the opportunity has never presented itself for them all to play together, the children are surrounded with a very musical family of aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and wider family.
Their family concerts grew from the Evans children’s desire to be able to perform the pieces they were learning. At the age of 7 and 8, the two eldest, Jacob and Taylah, schemed long and hard over the logistics of how to run a concert on their own. Their plan was to surprise their parents and a close aunt with a special Christmas concert. Obviously, they were not able to hire a performance venue, much less fill it with a willing audience, and so they set about converting their play room into a theatre. This was done through much meticulous planning and many afternoons spent in rehearsal times, plus a fantastic array of various blankets, ropes and pegs with which they created a curtain and backstage area.
The Evans children have always been very close to their parents and each other, and secrecy, especially from parents, is usually avoided. Despite this, Jacob and Taylah managed to find their aunt’s phone number and call her to organise a date and time for her to come down from her home in Melbourne. To this day they still laugh over how they both felt like criminals, secretly calling someone without Dad or Mum’s permission, and they are both heartily glad that nothing else had been planned for that night, since they failed to check the calendar in the midst of all their planning!
From there, Rod and Cheryl thought it would be nice to have a similar night held annually in the family living room, to which they invited grandparents and close family friends. The children enjoyed performing to this select audience two years running until they made the executive decision that the crowd was becoming too big to house in their living room. The next year, they made the massive leap of hiring the beautiful Wesley of Warragul, and expected perhaps thirty people to come along.
They were blown away by the turn up of around sixty people and the wonderful reception they received, and from that was born their annual Songs of Praise afternoon, still held at Wesley of Warragul, and now bringing in around two hundred people every year.
Since then the family have been blessed to perform in a variety of venues from nursing homes and retirement villages to Belgrave Heights conventions. The Evans family find it a true joy and blessing to share the love they have for their Saviour through the medium of music and their prayer is that every single person who hears them will be touched by God.
Colin Gardner – Tenor
Colin earned a living as a truck driver for many years and has taught his family well the foundational truths of God’s Word. Affectionately dubbed ‘Poppy’, Colin is a wonderful granddad to all his grandkids. Along with Aileen, Colin helps the family on Mondays with general house cleaning and washing the mountain load of sheets. He loves telling the kids stories and you will often find him buried under two or three little ones, all eager to hear his latest tale.
Although he usually plays the role of silent observer, he does have his Pearls of Wisdom, as the family call them, when he will interject with two or three words of advice. The Evans kids have often said how interesting it would be to compile all of his sayings into a book.
Aileen Gardner – Alto
As the only daughter of the five Sheather children, Aileen learned how to work hard at a young age. Her family lived in rural NSW with no electricity or running water and having someone willing to help around the house was a great asset to her mother.
Aileen learned to play the piano at a very young age and has played for church services since she was about twelve, and helped tutor the Evans kids with their playing early on in their musical development. She now enjoys teaching two of her other granddaughters piano on a weekly basis.
Aileen has always been a supporting and driving backbone to the family singing group and absolutely loves their rehearsal times. She also comes around once a week to help the family with cleaning and washing.
For many years Aileen also enjoyed playing tenor horn in the Salvation Army Warragul Corps Brass Band, which she participated in for many years until 2018.
Rod Evans – Bass, plays Guitar
A boilermaker by trade, Rod is right into the nuts and bolts of actually getting a concert from concept stage to fruition. He is heavily involved in the family’s recording projects and oversees every concert, including organising programmes and advertising.
At a more home level, Rod is also very involved with his family, assisting Cheryl with the homeschooling of their 5 school age children and being the godly leader of his home. He is also part director of their homeschooling group they are involved in, and organises conferences and seminars throughout the year with that.
Cheryl Evans – Soprano, plays Euphonium
A stay at home mum who loves her children to pieces! Cheryl gave up her day job when she and Rod decided to teach their children from home and she has not regretted it for a moment. Teaching up to 5 kids at once all on various levels of learning and understanding can be a difficult task, but Cheryl handles it like a pro. Of course, we are human, and there are times when our house is turned upside-down, despite the daily cleaning time. These are the times when Cheryl states, “If you want to see me, come anytime you like, our door is always open; if you’d like to come to see my house, give me at least two weeks notice!”
Cheryl also helps Rod with their marriage ministry, where they help counsel christian couples who are struggling with their marriages or home life.
Jacob Evans – 21 – Piano (AmusA, LmusA, Bmus), Cello (Grade 8), Tenor/Baritone
Jacob began learning piano at the age of seven and has loved it ever since. He has studied music under Alison Kirkpatrick, Leonie Wobking, Henry Wenieg among others and graduated from the Australian Guild of Music Education with a Bachelor in music in 2019.
Jacob has thrown himself into almost every aspect of music including writing and arranging. He began writing his own music at the age of 10 when he won a prize for own composition in the West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod.
Jacob writes and arranges almost all of the music that they sing as a family and plays a major role in their recording projects as well. He also teaches both piano and cello from his home studio and at music schools around Gippsland and also teaches five of his younger siblings piano.
Jacob also enjoys his position in the Gippsland Symphony Orchestra as second principle cellist. Music aside, which is hard to do sometimes, Jacob enjoys children ministries and together with Taylah, heads up the children’s programme in the homeschooling group they are in.
Taylah Evans – 19 – Piano (AmusA), Violin (Grade 8), Soprano
Although she has played the piano far longer and has achieved greater heights on it, Taylah’s love and joy is her violin which she practises for about two hours a day. She is currently taking private tuition with Toorak based violin teacher Lan Shi and enjoying every minute of it.
Taylah plays piano now as more of a side dish instrument, mostly for accompanying a youth choir she and Jacob, along with two friends, founded last year (2018) in Mount Evelyn. She also plays first violin in the Gippsland Symphony Orchestra.
Taylah enjoys teaching violin part time from their home studio (including a couple of younger siblings) and in a local school, besides helping with office matters in their homeschooling group. In her spare time, of which there is not much, Taylah loves writing historical fiction and devouring any good book she can get her hands on. She also breeds purebred ragdoll kittens as a side job, which fulfils her love of animals.
Isaac Evans – 15 – Piano (Grade 6), Violin (Grade 6), Tenor
Isaac follows closely in his father’s footsteps when it comes to technical things. He is very down to earth and loves working alongside his dad whenever he can. Isaac loves science and maths and is doing well in his homeschooling.
Isaac began playing piano at the age of seven and soon took up violin as well at the age of eight and enjoys his music studies with Lan Shi along with the others. He has recently joined Jacob and Taylah in the Gippsland Symphony Orchestra where he is enjoying playing with the second violins.
Isaac also runs a mowing business in their local area where he mows approximately eight lawns. He has defiantly caught onto the entrepreneurial spirit with this venture and saves up the pocket money he makes to buy lego with Jesse.
Jesse – 13 – Piano (Grade 5), Violin (Grade 6), Alto/Tenor
With a much quieter personality than Isaac, Jesse is the perfect counterpart, and these two are almost always together. Having begun both piano and violin studies at the same time as Isaac, they have enjoyed playing many duets together.
Jesse’s favourite subject in his schooling is ???, where he is doing very well. In his spare time, you will always be able to find him and Isaac in their room buried under a pile of lego, either building or creating stop-motion films with the iconic bricks. Jesse loves using computer programmes to create shorts and promos not only with lego, but also with people. He has just finished a very cute short called ‘Super Jordyn’, in which he took a different shots of Jordyn and compiled them into an adventure style clip.
Skylar – 10 – Piano (Grade 3), Violin (Grade 4)
Sandwiched neatly between four boys, Skylar is certainly able to hold her own! She loves outdoors activities and playing with her younger brothers. To balance things out nicely, Skylar also loves craft, baking cakes and collecting pretty rocks and gems.
Skylar began taking lessons with Lan Shi at the age of five after begging her parents to allow her to go with the ‘big kids’ to learn. After a year of waiting, Rod and Cheryl decided to let her go, much to Skylar’s delight.
This early start has allowed Skylar to get to where she is at a young age, and she loves playing with her family in every concert they do.
She is doing well in her schooling and her favourite subject is English, and like her older sister, it’s not unusual to find her curled up on the couch reading in her spare time.
Micah – 8 – Piano (Preliminary), Violin (Preliminary)
Micah began learning piano and violin in 2018 and is advancing rapidly. His studious mindset and outlook on life is a great asset to him. He loves homeschooling where he does very well in pretty much all areas, but his favourites are science and medicine.
In his spare time, Micah loves drawing and colouring in, and spends a lot of his after school hours outside riding his bike or designing his latest invention or science experiment.
Elisha – 6 – Piano (Preliminary), Violin (Preliminary)
Having begun taking part in their family concerts at the age of two, Elisha is certainly not scared to get up in front of people! His bright smile, cheery greetings and love for people make him an instant classic with people everywhere the family sings.
Along with Micah, Elisha also began his music studies in 2018 and enjoys being taught by Jacob and Taylah.
Elisha started schooling officially in 2019, but has always enjoyed sitting at the table with the other ‘big kids’ doing school for many years. As one of the youngest in a large family, Elisha has learned many things, including how to talk like a grown up; many of the things he comes out with sound as though he’s twenty six, not six!
When he’s not busy practicing or schooling, Elisha enjoys playing outside on his scooter with Micah.
Jordyn – 10 months
Unfortunately for her, Jordyn isn’t able to play an instrument yet, despite the fact that she has great taste in music. Even while she was in the womb she would get excited when we were listening to good singing, and now her favourite piece to listen to is Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Seriously, if you put that on, she will sit in rapt attention and delight and just listen; how classic!
Together as a family it is our purpose to perform and sing music that will uplift and encourage people to a closer walk with the Lord. It has been a blessing for our family to be able to sing and perform at churches, songs of praise events, concerts and in aged care facilities across Victoria.