The last month of the school year? It’s all about studying for exams and anticipating the freedom of summer.
For the Ginley Girls of Greenfield, there was one more “to do” on their list: Rehearsing for a different type of test.
Their debut concert.
The four sisters – Katelyn, 16; Jane, 13; Ava, 11; and Ryann, 7 – opened for the country-western band The Spurs USA at Caffé Lena on July 1. Caffé Lena has been known to showcase young musicians; its website emphasizes a “devotion to presenting deserving talent regardless of fame.”
The opportunity arose when the sisters’ father, real estate attorney Michael Ginley, showed a video of his girls singing to The Spurs USA lead vocalist Dona Frank-Federico, whom he knew through business.
“I was blown away,” Frank-Federico says. “I mean, raw talent. They don’t have training or anything. And I just thought, ‘Wow. Do you think they’d ever want to perform in public?’ The rest is history.”
Since then, Frank-Federico has helped the girls with song arrangement and stage presence, earning her the affectionate title “Music Mom.” She has also arranged for the Ginleys to perform with The Spurs USA at The Barn at Egremont Village Inn in Massachusetts Sept. 16 and the Fort Salem Theater in Salem, N.Y., on Sept. 17.
The sisters have been singing together since long before Music Mom entered the picture, Real Mom Jenn Ginley says.
“[Katelyn] always was the big singer,” she says. “And each subsequent sister, they just joined her. Everyone wanted to be like Big Sister. I mean, literally, we have videos of them before they could speak trying to sing along.”
Now that the sisters can speak, and sing, each has a specific role in the up-and-coming family foursome.
“Jane sings high,” Ryann says, clutching a polka-dotted stuffed unicorn. “Ava sings really low. Kate sings in the middle. I just do whatever they say for me to do.”
Katelyn, especially, has an interest in making music a career. She is considering going into a science-related field, but says if the opportunity to pursue music were presented to her, she’d take it.
Katelyn grabs her guitar and the sisters gather together on a backyard picnic table. Her coral-coated fingernails begin strumming. Instinctively, her sisters chime in, singing “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. Well, at least two of her sisters.
“Ryann!” her mother yells from the patio. “Chin up and sing!”
The girls seem optimistic they’ll continue singing together.
“Until you get married,” Ryann says to Katelyn.