Besides musical talent, a band needs one other key ingredient to give a great performance: chemistry.
The members of von Grey have that in spades. You could say they were born with it. Chemistry flows from the four bandmates veins; it has to. They're sisters.
The members of the band are 16-year-old Kathryn, 14-year-old Annika, 13-year-old Fiona and 10-year-old Petra von Grey. Since starting to perform publicly in 2007, the siblings have made quite a name for themselves. Last year, the quartet won the Lilith Fair "Local Talent Search" and opened for Sarah McLachlan.
The teens each play a variety of instruments, including the violin, fiddle, piano, guitar and cello. They will bring their unique sound — a blend of country, pop, rock and more — to the Holly Theater in Dahlonega for a 7 p.m. concert Saturday.
The Times caught up with the band for a quick interview before their one-night only performance at the Holly.
Question: Each of you began classical music training at the age of 5. Whose idea was that?
Kathryn: Our parents have always been active music supporters and enthusiasts, so it was their original idea to get us started ... so we could grow with a greater appreciation for creativity and self-expression. Before we could explore the creative side of music, we had to master the technical side. The more we mastered our technique, the easier it became for us to focus on the musical side of playing. As our understanding of music grew, so did our love for playing it.
Q: What was it like when you first started your lessons?
Petra: When we started school, classical music instruction was just like any other subject, like math. I used to like it because during practice time and lessons, I had my mom all to myself. When we were just starting, I must admit practice was not too much fun, but it was part of school, so we never had to sacrifice play time and other hobbies.
Q: At one point, you all performed under the name of Kannafitra. Why the change?
Kathryn: Kannafitra was derived from different syllables in each of our names. We originally used the name to separate our classical group from our contemporary band, which has undergone many name changes. We eventually settled on von Grey, which is our last name, because it is completely original and because it points out one of the most defining features of our band - the fact that we are sisters.
Q: What is it like performing on stage and being in a band with your sisters? Is it hard to separate family life from business?
Petra: I like performing the best. My older sisters make it easy for me. As for separating family life from business, sometimes that is hard, but we all make an effort to bring news and other conversations to the dinner table. We are all very protective of our free time and our parents are always ‘preaching' about balance.
Fiona: Performing on stage is amazing. It really is like no other experience. I couldn't imagine going on stage without my sisters.
Q: You all have a history of giving back, including donating proceeds from your song "Rise Up" to help with Nashville flood relief efforts. Why is it important for you all to help others?
Annika: Music has given us so much. Because of it, our self-confidence has grown and we have been able to do something that we love with our whole hearts. If we are able to use that as a way to help those in need, it would be irresponsible and foolish to not use that and try to make the world a better place, one song at a time.
Fiona: We all see music as an avenue to give back. Whether it's just giving to a neighbor or an organization, music can really help people who are going through a hard time.
Q: The band has a growing body of original work, who does the composing and writing?
Fiona: Annika and I do the core song writing, but once we have an idea, we always bring it to Kathryn and Petra to help build the song and make it something we all enjoy playing.
Q: For someone who has never heard von Grey play, what can they expect from your debut CD, "Make Some Noise?"
Annika: With this first CD, we wanted to introduce people to the various sounds and energies of von Grey. I think it is a good mix of tempos and styles. It's rooted in country, but is mixed enough to appeal to a wide age range and varied musical tastes. It's something that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Lyrically, the songs range from motivational to just having fun with life and testing the boundaries.