A love for music started at a young age for the Wolaver family. The six siblings, that make up the Annie Moses Band, grew up in a musical home where classical music was consistently played and a love for music was common ground- eventually leading all six to attend the Juilliard School and become professional musicians.
The Roots of a Mission. The family’s love for music started well before any of the siblings were born. During the Great Depression, the Wolaver siblings’ great grandmother- Annie Moses- was a very poor sharecropper’s wife. “She worked cotton fields, but her daughter had extraordinary musical talent,” explains Annie Dupre, the lead vocalist for the Annie Moses Band. Even though the family didn’t have money for music lessons, Annie Moses had a passion for music that she passed on to her daughter, Jane, who passed it on to the Wolaver’s mother, Robin. Dupre shares that her mother attended music school at Oklahoma City University where she met and fell in love with their father, Bill. The couple married and started writing music together. Soon after, they composed a hit song for the Christian Music Artist Sandi Patty called “Make His Praise Glorious.” This accomplishment moved Bill and Robin to Nashville, Tenn., where the Wolaver children grew up, honed their craft, and still live today. “It’s ironic now, looking back, that the message of the song “Make His Praise Glorious” would very much be the missional calling of our music,” Dupre reflects, adding, “Our early mission as a family was to praise the Lord with the string instruments, to give God the very best of our skill, and hopefully to make His praise glorious.”
A Spiritual Discipline. The Wolaver brothers and sisters grew up with a firm foundation in Christ. “A knowledge of Jesus and a knowledge of what it means to follow Him was at the core of our childhood and education,” Dupre says. The Wolavers instilled in their children that music was a spiritual discipline. “The perspective of our music growing up was that part of being made in the image of God is being made a creator of sorts.” Excellence was a key ingredient. “It’s like King David said, ‘I will not offer to the Lord that which cost me nothing.’ (2 Samuel 24:24) We are going to give to God something that involves sacrifice.” This mission has taken many forms over the years from attending the world-renowned school of artistic education, Juilliard School in New York City and performing as a family for nearly 20 years. The siblings also established and run the nonprofit Annie Moses Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to “empower a new generation of young artists with the excellence and spiritual integrity to transform our world for Christ.”
“The arts are more influential in our world and culture than any other thing,” Dupre says, adding, “When you create a powerful voice- that voice can go into any sphere of influence.” Dupre believes that stories- whether read or watched or listened to- make up the deepest part of our subconscious. “It’s incredibly important that the people of God are part of what’s being made for our culture to listen to and watch,” Dupre believes. Before the siblings perform, they pray a type of two-part prayer- a logistical prayer for skill and a prayer for their performance to inspire the audience. The band has performed all over the country including venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. They have traveled to Europe and Asia and even to North Korea with the contemporary Christian and Christian Rock band Casting Crowns for missional performances.
Reflecting on 2020. As a family of musicians, COVID-19 “was pretty devastating,” Dupre says. “When you make your living playing music and somebody says actually you can’t do that and it isn’t safe for people to hear your performance in person, it’s pretty hard.” The Annie Moses Band had to cancel 40 plus shows in 2020 and are hoping and praying for brighter days ahead. “The last year has made me feel very small and insignificant and powerless.” In response to this, Dupre has leaned on the truth that “the work we are here to do is to believe in His Son and if you get up each day and seek the face of God, you’ve done the work.” Dupre has sought to reprioritize things in her life and focus on what is truly important. “I want to be a person full of truth and discernment because I feel that there are a lot of lies and manipulation in the world today.” Dupre adds that she wants to reflect the love of the Savior to everyone with whom she comes in contact.
Performing Again. On April 29, 2021, you can hear The Annie Moses Band perform live right here in Birmingham as a part of Samford University Legacy League’s Scholarship Celebration! “Expect to hear Annie Moses favorites and songs from our new album, Tales From My Grandpa’s Pulpit,” says Dupre. The new project, which releases April 16 in coordination with Gaither Music Group, features a variety of hymns and Americana songs that have played a role in the family’s faith journey. In addition, there are original songs that tell “funny stories” about the family and others that carry their missional message of praising the Lord like “Heaven’s a Heartbeat Away”, written by Dupre and her sister Gretchen. To learn more about the performance and purchase tickets, visit www.samford.edu/legacyleague.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Check out our full April issue here.