Most members of the Konzelman family were practically born playing a musical instrument. Those years of training and rehearsal have certainly paid off for the Puyallup residents as their homegrown band have toured in the United States, Europe and Japan, in addition to performing practically in their own backyard.
The Konzelman Family Band has entertained crowds at the Puyallup fair since 2001. They are scheduled to play 21 free shows this year, beginning at noon on Sept. 16 at the Washington State Fair’s Showplace Stage.
“The fair is fun for our band because it is a great opportunity to see many friends who we have made over the years,” band member David, 21, said. “It is also an awesome opportunity to encourage three audiences a day and play all of our new tunes.”
The band is in Naples, Italy performing seven days at the Festival Arzano.
The Konzelman band includes Drew, 29, an audio designer at Microsoft and worship leader at Redeemer Redmond Church. He and his wife, Leanne, are full time students pursuing degrees in counseling psychology. Other band members are Derek, 26, an REI employee and entrepreneur; David, 21, a musician and student; Daniel, 19, a music teacher and organic farm employee; and Darien, 17, a musician, student and body-builder hopeful.
“Our parents (Greg and Joan) are still playing with us, but on a limited basis,” Drew said. “They are such good sports. We joke that when we decided to take up music and become a family band, they thought it was a phase and we would grow out of it in a few months. Yet here we are almost 15 years later.”
The idea of a family band was born when they attended a concert at the Puyallup Fair featuring the Bulla family.
“They were a big family like us and yet they were nice and approachable,” Drew recalled.
Originally a bluegrass band, the group has grown to incorporate other styles of music to its repertoire.
“Because of this variety, it is hard to nail down our particular style,” Drew said. “But we often say we play a blend of Americana, folk rock, and bluegrass.”
Drew did say, though, that while this has been a good fit in the past, they are planning to pursue new venues that cater to a younger demographic.
The band’s concerts are high-energy and the brothers hope audience members leave more cheerful and encouraged than when they arrived.
“We look at this as a ministry,” Drew said. “The goal of our music is to encourage people and develop relationships. Our enjoyment is secondary to our goal of encouraging every single person that we come in contact with. Honestly, it is a pretty awesome way to make a living.”
The five brothers get along well and enjoy hanging out.
“The main reason we get along well is because of the way we were raised,” Drew said. “We were taught to love each other. Our parents always taught us that people are always more important than anything else in the world.”
While the band is an important part of their lives, it is not a full time gig and the brothers are active elsewhere, too.
“We are in a unique situation in that we were a family long before we were a band,” Drew said. “What that means is, while the activities of the band can come and go, the familial aspect remains. We plan to have a lifetime of music together. It doesn’t have to happen at once, but rather over a lifetime.”
When not with the family band, Derek and David are members of a Christian rock band, The Acclaim, who plan to release a new album soon. Drew, Derek, and David also individually perform and record with other artists. In addition, David’s goal is to become a chiropractor.
David said he grew up listening to a wide variety of music.
“I am the type of person who will listen to an album or artist until I am sick of it, and then find a new one,” he explained. “Lucky for me I have a great resource for new music, also known as my brothers.”
Naturally, music has had a deep impact on the family, and David said it has been a driving force in his life for as long as he can remember.
“I enjoy music,” David explained, “because it has allowed a way to connect with my family in a very close and personal way that, honestly, not many people have had the chance to have.”
if you go
The Konzelman Family Band Schedule
Monday, Sept. 16 – Saturday, Sept. 21
12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 22nd
11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
Concerts at the Showplace stage inside Blue Gate
Admission: FreeTom McCrady is a freelance reporter for the Herald.