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Multi-Instrumental Homeschool Band Goes Viral for Reviving the Classics With Heart-Melting Vocals


A group of young musicians who hail from homeschooling backgrounds have crossed states and blended musical styles to form a unique band with a mission: to keep the classics alive.

“I met Joe at a church concert, I met Carver at a homeschool get-together, I met Silas at a similar-type thing, and it’s kind of funny how we all became friends,” 19-year-old Benjamin Morren of Arkansas told The Epoch Times. Benjamin’s bandmates Joe Xiques, 23, Carver Bowers, 21, and Silas Johnson, 20, come from Tennessee, Alabama, and Missouri respectively.

Benjamin’s wife, Lily Morren, is also a part of the band.

“It’s crazy to me that the five of us come from different states,” Joe said. “I think something about the homeschooling spirit kind of gives us something in common. … It’s really exciting to have people from a diversity of perspectives, that can still all be friends and contribute equally to something.”

The members of Young Original.
The members of Young Original. (Courtesy of Young Original)

A Unique Blend

The group first came together in Silas’s hometown of Branson, Missouri, in 2022.

Benjamin and his wife were overseeing and arranging music for a show on the founding of America.  In that show, Benjamin played the piano, and Silas played the cello.

“We begged Joe and Carver to come out to Branson,” Benjamin said, with Carver being the lead singer and Joe playing the guitar.

As they all showed up in Branson, Benjamin said: “We just fell in love with our blend together.”

The members of the Young Original.
(Courtesy of Young Original)

The friends made their band official over a late-night snack at Denny’s. Their name, Young Original, was their best choice but it wasn’t their first.

Silas said: “There were a number of different ideas I wasn’t super hyped about, one of which was the idea that we could pretend to all be a family and call ourselves, like, ‘The Thompsons’ or something.”

Benjamin said: “The reason we call ourselves Young Original is because we were probably the youngest group in town doing anything, and we were pursuing kind of our own genre of music.”

The group’s unique blend of multi-instrumental covers classic American songwriting. Original music is the culmination of their shared experience of being homeschooled and their individual experiences of falling in love with music.

The group did a Christmas show last year since there is a huge market for such music in Branson. According to Joe, there are a lot of people from out of town coming specifically for Christmas shows and Christmas-themed stuff. Despite it being last-minute, a lot of people turned out for their first show. They received a lot of positive feedback and did several shows afterward. People even suggested that they grow their online presence and encouraged them to come out with an album.

“It turned out to be a really exciting thing,” Joe said. “Among ourselves, we were … forming really deeper friendships based on the music.”

Young Joe strumming the guitar.
Young Joe strumming the guitar. (Courtesy of Young Original)

Four Different Stories

String aficionado Joe, who started learning piano with his mom at the age of 4, said: “I know all of our parents did come from Christian backgrounds, so there was definitely an effort to try to include faith in the way that we were educated. … For some of us it was for higher academic standards … for others, maybe it was concern about peer pressure and the safety of schools.”

“For myself, one of the big benefits was the ability to work on music and to pursue creativity in a really vibrant way,” he said. “When I was probably 7 or 8, I discovered this classical guitar that was lying around the house that my brother played sometimes, and it was missing a couple of strings. It sounded pretty bad; we had little slips of paper that were under each string to keep it from buzzing.”

Learning some basic chords helped Joe. This experience “ignited a new world” for him. He was inspired to broaden his scope and even ventured out to learn the mandolin.

I also took a few years of classical cello lessons,” Joe said. “I think that kind of added a real classical influence.”

Silas as a young boy with his cello.
Silas as a young boy with his cello. (Courtesy of Young Original)

Silas, who is the youngest of six siblings, was surrounded by music from the moment he was born.

“I started on the cello first at 3,” Silas said. “[My parents] enrolled all of us into the Suzuki program offered at our local university, a program for young musicians in the classical world.”

Growing up with the flexibility of a homeschooling schedule, Silas and his family would head out on evenings or weekends in their big van to play music at different events. Through this, they met a lot of different people and had the opportunity to get involved with other musicians.

“So I guess that stereotype of not having a social life or not knowing anybody really didn’t ring true for us,” Silas said.

Benjamin as a young boy playing the piano.
Benjamin as a young boy playing the piano. (Courtesy of Young Original)

Benjamin attended a private Christian school until the age of 9. When his mother passed away, his dad was introduced to homeschooling by his friends as a way to better connect with his children.

This helped Benjamin and his siblings, who were interested in music at that time, to be able to spend time practicing and to balance school work.

However, Benjamin didn’t start playing music until he had the impulse to borrow his older sister’s $20 garage sale keyboard one day in her absence.

“The funny thing is I would always say I hated music, because of the music on the radio. I didn’t like it, I was kind of a snobby kid,” Benjamin said. “On this keyboard, there were recordings of classical songs like Beethoven and Mozart … I started listening to them and … playing along with the notes.”

Not long after, Benjamin was obsessed. It was only a few months after this that he got to play at his mom’s funeral.

A year later, Benjamin became a full-time pianist at his church. He fell in love with classical composers, then jazz and bluegrass, adding string instruments to his collection along the way. “At this point, I’ve got too many instruments, I can’t even fit them in my studio,” he said.

Young Carver singing.
Young Carver singing. (Courtesy of Young Original)

Like Benjamin, Carver “really hated” music until, at the age of 16, he found solace in the art form during a difficult emotional time. He thus decided to learn the piano.

In 2019, Carver met Joe, and the pair recorded a Christmas song together. “He brought out the full potential in me,” Carver said.

“I think we all just complement each other very well, and we can all play multiple instruments,” Benjamin said. “So we can all just switch around to whatever is appropriate for the song.”

Benjamin believes that eventually it all just kind of melds together into this beautiful combination of classical folk-pop.

The Same Goal

Being homeschooled has given the band a little more drive and independent spirit than most, according to Joe. The group of four, along with Lily on drums, is not afraid to make mistakes.

Joe said: “I think all of us kind of have this spirit of let’s just do stuff and let’s fail, let’s make mistakes, but then let’s hopefully get to a place of success through all of that trial and error. … I think that’s definitely something that our parents cultivated in us. We don’t need the system or the powers that be, or the powerful people in music or media to approve or like what we’re doing. … I think that’s really been a unifying factor for all of us.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Young Original)

Their shared faith has also been pivotal. Silas said: “Obviously we’re all creative people, we have our distinct opinions sometimes, about music … But I think that having faith as one of the central things in our personal lives gives us the ability to extend grace to each other, and realize that we all have the same goal.”

Carver echoes similar sentiments. He believes that there is so much “gold” in traditional music and traditional ways. He emphasizes that there is so much value in it that’s getting blown away by the “new junk nowadays,” and Carver believes that more people need this.

Benjamin said: “We’re not trying to pursue art forms that any of us thinks is unholy or unbiblical. … We’re not trying to promote evil or sadness, we’re trying to promote good and joy and happiness.”

Lily with her family when she was young.
Lily with her family when she was young. (Courtesy of Young Original)

Joe hopes that Young Original’s music proves to their audience that being a person of faith does not restrict your art.

“I feel like it actually opens things up and makes you more creative,” he said. “I even think a lot of the great classical composers, and just the great musicians and scientists throughout history, a lot of these people were coming from a place of Christian faith and held the Bible very dear to them. We’re inspired by their relationship with God.”

‘Kind of Surreal’

The band is thrilled with their growing social media fanbase and the positive public response they have received to their heartfelt music. Their most viral video to date is a cover of the nostalgic Andy Griffith Show theme song with Carver whistling, and they hope for many more to come.

“I would say that when we first started this group … we kind of met a little bit of opposition,” Benjamin told The Epoch Times. “Some people would say … ‘Y’all are good, but we don’t know if you’re good enough.’ Me and my wife, especially, were kind of discouraged in the beginning. Then when the Christmas show happened, people were so encouraging.”

Young original with all its members.
Young original with its members. (Courtesy of Young Original)

Initially compelled to show off their multi-instrumental skills, the band now sticks more to their individual roles: piano, cello, guitar, drums, and Carver’s crooning vocals.

Silas said: “Just the other day I saw a video of a guy in the music industry reacting to one of our videos. He was saying that it’s … not your daily listening music that you put on in the car first thing in the morning, but he was loving it. … it’s just been cool to see support from people who don’t generally listen to this type of music.”

The group didn’t expect 1,000 people to follow them in a year. Joe said it’s all happened so quickly that “it’s kind of surreal.”

“I know all of us would love to tour and play live as much as we can,” Joe said. “We’ve gotten a few people reaching out with opportunities to do that throughout this year, and that’s really exciting.”

The busy band also hopes to be closer together Benjamin said: “I know that we’d all like to be based out of one city, eventually!”

Watch their new release here.

Share your stories with us at emg.inspired@epochtimes.com, and continue to get your daily dose of inspiration by signing up for the Inspired newsletter at TheEpochTimes.com/newsletter





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