Family Medley: The Cynthia Ridge Band
Remember the Von Trapp Family Singers from The Sound of Music? Edmond boasts its own musical family: The Cheng Family String Players. Actually, they call themselves the Cynthia Ridge Band, and much like the Von Trapps, these young musicians delight audiences with their energetic performances.
The Cynthia Ridge Band plays a variety of music, from bluegrass and gospel to contemporary worship. No one has a clear memory of how the band started, except that the older siblings, Brandon (18) and Megon (16), started playing together at home. In 2016, an opportunity arose for them to perform
“We have friends that play in family bands, so we learned about a talent show called the Family Band Fest. We entered, and our interest in performing grew,” said Brandon. “Later, Kailon (14) joined us, then Ryon (11), and we started playing for lots of churches. In 2019, we were part of a youth band competition at Silver Dollar City.”
Cynthia Ridge Band members have no grand visions of becoming famous musicians—they are more focused on enjoying their time together as a family. “We’ll see where the Lord wants us to go with this,” Brandon said, “but for me, just getting to play with the family is fun. I’d rather do this, together, than anything else.”
“We’re not scattered here and there,” said Megon. “We are all together.”
The Family’s Musical Hobby
The Chengs prove the adage that “a family who plays together, stays together.” Music is now the family hobby. Dad bought an RV to go with their passenger van, and the whole family travels together: Dad, Mom, and all eight kids. Yes, there are four more little Chengs!
“We fully expect the Cynthia Ridge Band to change over time as the older ones move on and the younger ones join,” said Brandon, who recently graduated and is now managing the band. “Our next sibling, Cameron (8), is already starting to play mandolin with Cynthia Ridge. Addyson (6) is learning the fiddle and will probably be next.”
The Cheng siblings, who are homeschooled, have a dedicated music room. The band practices together daily, then they take turns on their individual instruments. Most of the Chengs play two stringed instruments each. Why strings? “Because Mom doesn’t like drums and electric guitar—so we don’t do that!” Brandon said, and the other Chengs laughed.
Although the four oldest Chengs have taken music lessons off-and-on and attended music camps and festivals, they largely compose their own band arrangements. “Instead of using sheet music, we watch YouTube videos and slow them way down and figure out what works for us,” said Brandon.
Their natural musical talent comes from their mother’s side of the family. In fact, the Chengs selected the name Cynthia Ridge Band in honor of their grandmother, Cynthia, who died of cancer in 2019. “We chose “Ridge,” the flat part on a mountain, because it represents stability between the hills and valleys of life,” said Kailon. “Everyone goes through good times and hard times, but if we believe, the Lord will help us through.”
Although the Cheng’s musical journey continues to unfold, the family is very clear about their purpose: to provide uplifting entertainment, together.
“If you come to one of our shows, you’ll see how much we enjoy playing together. You’ll see lots of energy,” said Megon. “And lots of kids!”
To learn more visit CynthiaRidgeBand.com