Music News & Reviews

‘Off the charts’ cuteness set for Voetberg celebration

You could call them South Sound’s answer to the Von Trapps.

The Voetberg Family Band, based in Centralia, is composed of eight siblings ages 15-28 who’ve been making music together since early childhood. The band — plus other family members — will present its fourth annual holiday concerts Saturday and Sunday at Centralia’s Fox Theatre.

“Some of the older Voetbergs have children, and some of the next generation are coming on stage,” said Scott White, president of Historic Fox Theatre Restorations. “There are 4- and 5-year-old fiddlers up there. The cute factor is ridiculous — completely off the charts.”

The Voetbergs — who are classically trained and play Celtic, bluegrass, folk and jazz — put their own spin on classic carols.

“We’ll have all different styles,” said Lilja Voetberg, 22, who plays fiddle and piano in the band. “We’ll take a traditional Christmas carol and then we might add a fiddle tune with it or a jazz feel behind it.

“We’ll all pick our favorite Christmas song and come up with a different arrangement and then teach the whole family when we get together.”

The regionally known band’s hometown holiday concert, a benefit for restoration of the 1930 Centralia theater, has been a hit so far, White said.

“The first year, we had just one concert, and it totally sold out,” he said. “The second year, we added a second show, and they both sold out. Last year, we did three shows, and they all sold out. And we’ll have three shows again this year.

“It’s becoming a fun family tradition now to come to the Fox Theatre and see the Voetberg family play,” White added. “It has that fun community feeling.”

The concerts have so far made about $20,000 for the theater restoration — as well as building awareness of and affection for the historic theater — and White expects this weekend’s concerts to raise another $10,000.

The Voetbergs — there are 10 siblings, though two no longer play in the band — grew up with their focus on music, inspired by their musical mother, Lisa Voetberg, who will sing with the band this weekend.

The children learned at home, rather than attending school, and their mother wanted music to be part of their education. They sang hymns at home and in church, and the older children took piano lessons, later learning to play other instruments, while the younger ones began their musical training with the violin.

“I was 5 when I started playing fiddle,” Lilja Voetberg said.

“It’s hard to imagine what our lives would be without music,” she said. “For me, it’s been my whole life.”

All of the band members play fiddle and have won regional competitions, and among them are two national fiddle champions — Liddy Voetberg Hoover, 28, and Vance Voetberg, 16.

The Voetbergs’ father, Joe Voetberg, remains offstage, running sound for the shows and driving to gigs.

“We definitely didn’t get the musical gene from him,” Lilja Voetberg said. “He’s not music, but he has a really good ear. When we would go to contests, we’d always say our dad could predict who was going to win.”

A Voetberg Family Christmas

What: The Voetberg Family Band — made up of eight siblings ages 15-28 — will give its fourth annual holiday concert, a benefit for restoration of Centralia’s Fox Theatre.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Fox Theatre, 123 S. Tower Ave., Centralia.

Tickets: $10, $7 for ages 13 and younger, free for children who’ll sit on a parent’s lap. They are available at Fiddlers Coffee and Holley’s Place in Centralia, and online.