Find Your Passion: Finding Harmony in Family, Faith and Music

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By Margaret Bishop

You could describe Kiemel Lamb as a natural performer. One of four talented siblings who make up the Lamb Family Violin ensemble, Lamb started playing as a 4-year-old who was inspired by her older sister.

Kiemel Lamb
Lamb says music is both a business and a ministry for her family.
(Samantha Hernandez)

Lamb, a University of Alabama senior from Tuscaloosa, says she is grateful her big sister helped her find a love of music at a young age.

"Karis (her sister) was playing her violin, and I was so jealous," says Lamb. "I didn't want her to have the better 'toy,' so I told my mom that I wanted to learn how to play, too."

Lamb insists her love for music took off on that day and that she never looked back. Now, at 22, she is an accomplished violinist, guitarist and pianist.

Lamb's interests in music and using music to help others have helped her realize her direction in life and her area of study at UA as a music-therapy major.

UA's music-therapy program is the only one of its kind in Alabama. Music therapy has physical and psychological benefits, and it combines music and psychology with other fields. This kind of therapy is used to help a range of clients, including premature babies, hospice patients and children with autism. The goal is to get a patient involved with the music, perhaps by singing along or playing an instrument.

Kiemel LambLamb, and her three siblings, has developed a widespread musical following. (Samantha Hernandez)

Kiemel LambJealously was the emotion, Lamb says, that first drove her to music. (Samantha Hernandez)

Kiemel LambA music therapy major, Lamb volunteers her talents for the physical and psychological benefits of others. (Samantha Hernandez)

"We mostly use guitar during our music-therapy sessions," says Lamb. "But we also use tone chimes and percussion instruments to make it fun, especially with the kids."

During the week, Lamb spends numerous hours working as a student music therapist with a wide range of clients. She has worked with Sprayberry Education Center of Northport, teaching music therapy to children with autism and multiple disabilities. Although she was only scheduled there for one semester, Lamb says she enjoyed her placement so much she requested an extended stay.

"I fell in love with my students and saw that we were making amazing progress," says Lamb. "I asked to stay on and work with them for the rest of the school year, and my professor agreed."

Lamb also works with the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center, the UA Speech and Hearing Center and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at DCH Regional Medical Center. After graduation, Lamb hopes to start her own music therapy practice in Tuscaloosa.

Along with her music-therapy schoolwork, Lamb is a member of the UA's Huxford Orchestra and a member of her family's violin group. The Lamb Family violin ensemble, which has become a household name in the Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas, consists of the four Lamb siblings: Karis Lamb Wilson, 24, Kiemel Lamb, 22, Kolson Lamb, 20 and Caleb Lamb, 17.

"We started the group back in 1998," says Lamb. "Our parents (Bill and DuRhonda) aren't musicians, so we didn't know what to expect, but we definitely didn't think we would be a full-time business or a ministry."

By word-of-mouth and referrals, the Lamb family was given numerous performance opportunities. Now a full-time business and ministry, the family performs at weddings, funerals and special events, including several UA events, such as balls, dinners and national anthems at athletic events.

"We love doing University performances," says Lamb. "Two of us (siblings) are enrolled here now, and my dad and sister are alumni. We are so appreciative of UA."

Lamb says each event has a deep significance with the siblings.

"We cry at weddings of people we don't even know," says Lamb. "We are touched to be asked to perform at funerals, birthdays, anniversaries and special events, and each one has a special meaning to us."

Although the Lamb family performs almost every weekend, Lamb says it never feels mundane. By playing a variety of music, from pop and classical tunes, to fiddling and crowd pleasers, like "Yea, Alabama!" Lamb says the group stays renewed.

Perhaps the family favorite, however, is sacred gospel hymns. Lamb says the group is not just a business, but also an equal-part ministry. The family performs in churches almost every Sunday and attributes their success to a higher power.

"We think the ministry is equally as important because God has given us a gift," says Lamb.

"We want to share it with whoever we can and whoever God brings across our path. My passion for music is something that I don't want to keep to myself; I want to constantly share it. My love for God has trickled down into a love for people and for music, and that has all connected to my purpose in life."

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Margaret Bishop is a senior from Lewisburg, Tenn., double majoring in public relations and communication studies. She serves as a student writer for UA Media Relations during the fall 2011 semester.

This story is part of the Find Your Passion feature section of the UA home page. For more stories, please visit Find Your Passion or Crimson Spotlight. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.