KIPLING - Curtis and Bonnie Szakacs from the Carnduff area spend most of their lives on the road ministering to others.
They have eight children, ranging in ages from seven through 24, who are also involved in the family ministry.
“Right now we’re filling in at the Baptist Church in Kipling, pastoring during this season,” explains Bonnie.
Every weekend the Szakacs family was performing, mostly on Saturday evenings, in the park until the evenings were getting too cool and dusk came too soon.
They played their last performance of the season on a cool and windy Sunday afternoon in Kipling’s Bell Park.
“We do music full time,” states Bonnie. “Until COVID hit we were doing stuff a lot, we’d be on tour.”
“Right now we would normally be on a major tour for a couple of months in the autumn from coast to coast across Canada.”
The whole family travels together in an RV and hits the road to share their love of Jesus through their music.
Throughout the summer months, they would also do Children’s ministry at camps and attend music festivals.
This season has been unusual for the Szakacs family due to COVID.
Curtis has been offering voice and piano lessons through Skype during the past year. He started piano lessons at age seven but really excelled when he took lessons in Kipling and was even more interested in the piano when he started to play by ear at age 14.
Growing up in such a musical family, all of the children learned to play instruments and sing at a very young age.
“When Heidi (the oldest child) was five days old, Curtis came back from a music festival where he played piano with Wolf Creek. He had a learn-to-play-fiddle VHS (tape) and placed it in her little cradle and said ‘Here you go sweetheart,’” explains Bonnie. “So she was singing before she could even speak clearly.”
All of the kids play a bit of piano. Although many of them started with violin, some of them went from violin to learn other instruments. A lot of the kids can play a number of different instruments. The children pick the instrument that most appeals to them and learn to play.
Heidi plays cello and violin; Meka plays bass guitar, violin and ukulele; Alonzo plays guitar; Peter plays drums, accordion and percussion; Sunny, Davidson and Isaac play ukulele; Amy plays violin and ukulele; and all the children contribute with singing along with their parents.
Their son Isaac plays something called an “ugly stick,” which is a Celtic instrument.
Curtis explains that the group has recently added a trumpet and clarinet although they haven’t perfected those yet.
Curtis and Bonnie and their family perform mostly original songs.
The kids all write their own music as they are all very creative.
The Szakacs family usually gets in at least one practice a week together although each of them rehearses quite frequently on their own.
“The fact that they are all having fun together,” explains Bonnie about what brings them the most joy about performing with their children and adds “they all love it and when we’ve at home practising they love it as well.”
“It’s who there are,” says Bonnie and Curtis. “They love the Lord and they love to share that same love with people around them.”
It’s wonderful to have the whole family enjoy the same passion of music.
“Togetherness is so important,” say Bonnie and Curtis.
“We need each other more than ever at this time in our lives,” says Bonnie.
The Szakacs family encourages you to pray together.
“Our family has been thriving throughout COVID despite everything around us.”
“Keep trusting and praying and believing for the best,” says Bonnie, “and try to be positive in the meantime because so many people have lost hope. For us it’s been a matter of life is hard, it’s always been hard, it’s just a different kind of hard now. Choose joy and have hope in the midst of the hard.”