Many have heard their fair share of stories about those people who seem to be “born to” accomplish certain tasks or “born to” use a special talent. Often times that talent is of the musical genre, or specifically, singing. In the case of Tyler Sheldon of The Sheldon Family, he was born to do just that. In fact, music was the first thing that came out of his mouth. Tyler says, “I was riding in my car seat and my parents noticed that I was humming ‘Amazing Grace’…in tune…before I could even talk.” Not many are endowed with such an explicit talent at such a young age, but it appeared God had special plans for this young singer, and they began unfolding when he was only a young child. His family began singing in 2008, and Tyler jokes, “I got dragged into it when I was playing with my legos…Really, my dad is the one who encouraged all of us to sing. He didn’t sing, but he loved it when we did! He did our scheduling and ran sound.” Now a Freshman in high school and nearly 15 years old, Tyler is still discovering the purposes God has prepared for him, one of which is singing with his family– his mother Sandy, sister Amanda, and brother Chad. On occasion, his uncle and older sister may even join them in concert.
But life was not always perfect for this gifted, young man. In the year 2013, his dad passed away. Although it was such a tragic experience, the Lord used it for good. “It made me want to push forward and keep going since my dad started the group,” he says. Difficult situations like losing a parent are something that a young child should never have to go through. Yet, this seemingly impassible situation became possible to pass with the Lord. Tyler’s favorite Bible verse, Luke 1:37, demonstrates how one’s faith can impact one’s outlook during trials — “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” Music was a means of making this mountain a little more feasible. Singing played an instrumental part in their lives during that time, and the children stood firm in their decision to continue with their ministry. “It kept our family close,” Tyler remembers. The close bond his family shares is shown in his desire to take after his family members in their involvement in the Civil Air Patrol. “My grandparents and dad were pilots, and my mom is getting her pilot’s license now, so I guess being interested in aviation came kind of naturally.” For this kid, everything started young, including dedication. “I joined CAP when I was 12…I have been taking lessons too, whenever I get a chance,” Tyler says.
It may be thought that young people involved in gospel music are extraordinary kids who do not get a chance to live a normal life whatsoever. While they do have a distinct life unlike no other, they are typical kids who love to do what average kids do. “Where do I start?,” Tyler asks. “I like to go boating… I learned to wakeboard this summer. I like to ride snowmobiles. I like to ride bikes and hang out with my friends.” Tyler even attends school alongside his family’s singing ministry, which can be one of the hardest aspects about being a young person involved in music performance. “Getting home late at night and getting up for school the next morning,” he explains, is the most difficult. Nevertheless, the singing life entails just as many good times alongside the challenging. Tyler says his favorite part is, “Going to the product table after we sing and meeting the people.” Also, there are many characteristics that make this young man stand out from all the rest, including his love for gospel music. “I like that the words actually have meaning, rather than the “give me drugs” songs that are out there today.” And when asked his favorite song, Tyler replied, “‘The Comforter Has Come’…on the trumpet, of course! Because it reminds me of camp meeting.” Perhaps he prefers this song on the trumpet because he also plays the trumpet. Tyler explains, “I started playing at home with my cousins when I was in 4th grade. I started band at school in the 5th grade.” He even plays piano, but incorporates trumpet music into their concerts, along with his family’s other musical instruments. During a concert, Tyler remembers an awkward moment he experienced — “I hit my mouth on my trumpet and my lip started to bleed really bad right before I was supposed to sing. (I found tissues in the pulpit!)” As far as singing, “I usually sing tenor…sometimes lead.” Another unique facet Tyler admits is, “I do great Yogi Bear impressions!” As anyone can see, an accurate adjective to describe Tyler is “funny.”
There have been many musical influences in the life of this young man. Tyler says the greatest has been “Donnie Cox, who plays SG music on the radio. I remember my dad always playing his program on Saturday mornings.” Also, when asked whose voice he would like to have if he could choose another, he answers, “I would choose Wes Hampton,” although there is no reason for him to desire another. Tyler jokes, “I’m pretty sure they want MY voice.” As far as the future goes, he wants to keep using his God-given gift — “I want to work in law enforcement, but I still want to sing.”
Through it all, there is one fact Tyler has learned from his extraordinary, ordinary life. “Don’t do anything different than what God tells you to do.” And perhaps Tyler has learned this lesson from seeing God work unceasingly in his family’s ministry. “We have seen our singing schedule stay busy, and we have people come up to our table and tell us how something we sang helped them,” Tyler explains. In singing, playing music, flying, participating in sports, and in hard times and good, this young man has a desire to serve Jesus, and he finds success in what he does because he carries out the simple yet challenging act of following the Lord’s will.