Stacy Compagner: Tell us a little bit about your family and your background.
Kaiziah Chitan: We are a family in full-time ministry. Our parents are from Grenada in the Caribbean. Four of us were born in Canada, and one was born in America. We grew up in Canada, which is still our primary residence.
SC: How did you come to start singing gospel music?
KC: From the time we were born, all we heard around the house and in the car was gospel music, especially The Gaithers and their Homecoming Friends. Our singing started in family worship.
SC: Who makes up The Chitans?
Kaiziah 22, Kayandra 21, Jesse 19, Jayden 16, Karlainah 13, and our parents, Layne & Karen Chitan.
SC: Your ministry is so much more than just singing. Tell us a little bit about your ministry outside of gospel music.
KC: We do lots of street ministry, prison ministry, feeding the homeless, assisting the elderly by cleaning their homes, grocery shopping and even cooking (by the way, our Mom is a great cook).
We also adopted a school in Thika Kenya, Africa, that we completely overhauled, built bathrooms and put in water tanks so they can have fresh, clean water, flushing toilets, and showers. We are presently working on an administration building with principals and staff rooms, a kitchen, and a lunch room. A computer and music room are also in the plans.
Since all our projects are funded by the offerings collected when we minister, Covid 19 has halted the majority of our projects, but we are trusting God that we’ll be back on the road soon again.
SC: What is one of the most memorable singing experiences you have had?
We’ve had a few.
Kaiziah: March 2014, we met Bill Gaither and some of the Homecoming Friends. It was really cool to meet and share the stage with some of the people we grew up watching.
Also, we were singing with Aunty Lynda (Lynda Randle) once in Heidelberg, Pennsylvania We had just finished singing and I was the last to come off stage. I almost made it down the stairs, but on the last step one my heels got stuck in a loose carpet thread and I fell face first down the last treader to the floor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fall quietly because instincts went “scream!” Jesse and an older gentleman started coming to pick me up…Jesse never made it due to the aching in his sides from laughing.
Kayandra: We got the opportunity to go to our first National Quartet Convention in 2017, and that whole experience was just a God thing. Meeting so many of the people we grew up listening to and also meeting new up-and-coming groups was just AMAZING! Singing on the main stage was quite an experience. We made a lot of new friends that year.
Jesse: In October, 2018, we were privileged to minister at the Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge, Lousianna.
SC: What song is each of your favorites to sing in concert and why?
Kayandra: “The Love of God” because not only is it beautifully written, but it is also a song our grandmother sang with us a couple times. I also love “That Day Is Coming.” We usually end our concerts with that song, and it’s just a nice thought to end our day with — Jesus is coming and we need to be ready.
Jayden: “Jesus, What a Wonderful Name” — I love the message and the music of this song very much.
Kaiziah: The Love of God — It’s a song we grew up singing in worship and hearing on the Gaithers. It’s also the first song we ever sang on stage with our grandmother. I love the words. They’re so deep and meaningful. I’m always moved when I sing it. It’s hard to keep the tears at bay.
Jesse: “We Are Not Ashamed”because I love singing it, and the message in it means a lot to me.
Karlainah: I don’t think I have one. They’re all great, but if I must choose one it will be, “Running to Jesus.”
SC: Tell us about a time in any part of your ministry where you saw God at work and do amazing things.
KC: In January 2019, while ministering in the prisons of Alabama, we experienced a great moving of the Holy Spirit while visiting one of our favorite prisons.
We were supposed to be there for two hours, but ended up staying for three hours. We, along with other volunteers, spent the time singing and testifying.
“Put it Right There” was about our fourth song in. While we were singing, a young man came up to our Dad and said, “I’ve never done this before, but I’d like to give my heart to Christ.” Our father took him to a Bible worker, then proceeded to stop us in the middle of the song and started to speak to the men. He told them, “If you are feeling the moving of the Holy Spirit, don’t wait for an altar call, move now.” A few other men came forward to give their hearts to Christ as we continued to sing the song. That day you could just feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
SC: What is one thoughtful reminder that you all want to leave with everyone today?
KC: Trust God. It’s one of the easiest yet hardest things to do. As people, we like to control things, but just surrendering our will to God and letting Him lead is something we all need to do on a daily basis. He knows the end of the matter before it even begins. He has your interest in mind and knows what’s best.
SC: How can people find out more about you and follow along with your ministry?
KC: They can visit our website (www.thechitans.com) and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter & Snapchat at @TheChitans. Our music can be found on the various streaming platforms including our latest singles, “Jesus is Moving” & “Set Apart.”