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LDS family of 10 shares message through gospel music in ‘I Am Here’ (+ video)

SHARE LDS family of 10 shares message through gospel music in ‘I Am Here’ (+ video)
The Bonner family poses for a picture. From left, top row: Junior Bonner, Oyoyo Bonner, Yunga Bonner, (mom) Debra Bonner, (dad) Harry Bonner, Nolong Bonner Bullock, Clotile Yanna, Conlon Bonner. From left, bottom row: Yahosh Bonner, Oba Bonner.

The Bonner family poses for a picture. From left, top row: Junior Bonner, Oyoyo Bonner, Yunga Bonner, (mom) Debra Bonner, (dad) Harry Bonner, Nolong Bonner Bullock, Clotile Yanna, Conlon Bonner. From left, bottom row: Yahosh Bonner, Oba Bonner.

Debra and Harry Bonner

Music — particularly gospel music — has played an important role in the life of recording artist Yahosh Bonner, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and whose family was recently featured by the Mormon Channel singing an original gospel rendition of “I Need Thee Every Hour.”

Prior to joining the LDS Church, Bonner's parents were members of a Baptist church and served a mission in Liberia, Africa.

“My mother first came to know Jesus Christ through being a member of a Baptist choir in her hometown of Flint, Michigan, and has been a vocal coach ever since," said Bonner, who is a teacher at American Leadership Academy. "My dad has a background in gospel music as well, and they have both made it a point to make sure that we know who we are — our ancestry, our heritage and our culture.

"A lot of that has to do with gospel music and our black heritage — being African-American, and the strength that comes with that,” he said.

The love of music is evident in each member of the Bonner family, as each works in music in some aspect. Some are vocal coaches, some are teachers, some are recording artists, others are in musical theater. Their mother, Debra Bonner, is a vocal coach as well as the director of Unity Gospel Choir.

It was this collective love of music, the gospel and their mother that caused Yahosh Bonner’s father, Harry, to request that the family get together from across the country and sing a song for their mother this past Christmas.

“Our mother always loved hearing us sing together, so we wanted to do this for her," Yahosh Bonner said. "We all have the same love for Christ and for our mother, and for that reason, we got together."

This song titled “I Am Here” was written and composed by Yahosh's brother Junior Bonner.

“We spent one day and we recorded it, and when the Mormon Channel saw it, they asked that we re-record it for them to share,” Yahosh Bonner said.

This song has already reached more than 202,000 views on YouTube, and according to Yahosh Bonner, it is a blessing to be able to spread the gospel through music.

The video begins with members of the Bonner family stating why they need God in their life. As the song goes on, each family member is given the chance to express themselves through a solo or vocal accompaniment.

Yahosh Bonner said he loves sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through music, and said that doing so while staying close to his family’s heritage has been key in building his own testimony.

“Singing songs in a gospel-style makes it more meaningful to me because there are no restrictions in gospel music,” he said. “I can sing the same song a hundred times, but depending on how I’m feeling that day, and what moves me at that time in my life, it’s going to be different. I love gospel music because you’re able to make those songs personal.

"It also strengthens my testimony and my relationship with Christ and my appreciation for him because I’m not worried about hitting certain notes, and keeping it to the exact tempo and melody as it’s written," he said. "I have the liberties to sing it how I feel.”

While the family doesn’t have any plans to record together in the near future, Yahosh Bonner has been invited by the Mormon Channel to perform an original song as well as a rendition of a church hymn that will be released in coming months.

To view the complete video recording of “I Am Here,” go to MormonChannel.org.

'I Am Here' by the Bonner family

The eight Bonner siblings and their parents, all talented vocalists, gathered from around the country to compose and record this original song based on the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.” This was shared on the Mormon Channel.

Arianne Brown is a mother of seven young children, and she loves hearing and sharing stories. For more of her writings, search “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. She can be contacted at ariannebrown1@gmail.com. Twitter: A_Mothers_Write