The Crist Family has announced their retirement, with selected farewell dates scheduled to finish out the year 2014. I never followed them that closely, but their size and impressive acapella arrangements interested me. I’m curious—has there ever been a larger single group in Southern Gospel? (Let me know what you think of in the comments.) They pointed to the leaving of one of the couples and the fact that some of the younger women wanted to start families.
This raises an interesting question about the future of other groups like the Collingsworth Family. For that matter, it’s a question to be considered by any group with young married women. Other groups like the Browns have also had to readjust due to the call of motherhood. However, it’s especially interesting with a group as versatile as the Collingsworths. Suppose both Brooklyn and Courtney came off the road with the Collingsworths. Would the family carry on as a quartet? Would they still carry on as a trio if Olivia married and left as well?
Anyway, my favorite song by the Crist Family is “Lift Up the Cross.” “My Heart Knows” may have charted higher, but there’s no question this one is stronger. I first heard it while flipping on an online gospel radio station at random. I dug back into the archives at Daniel Mount’s site to find this fun exchange between me and Chris Unthank (with Daniel chiming in for moral support) about Christian radio, where I was pointing to this song as a good example of SG radio. I still like it a lot. It features Tami Crist Starkel on lead. I think she was the strongest soloist of the group.
Here are some good examples of their acappella work:
And one that’s not acappella, but another noted hymn arrangement of theirs: