“The gospel of Jesus Christ is the reason I get up every day and music is the thread that weaves through my life, continually tying me back to heaven,” said Kendra Lowe, a multi-talented LDS woman with a deep, professional music background. “Music is my life — whether it be composing, recording, performing, producing or arranging. It is what I do, and it is what I love.”
Sister Lowe started taking classical violin before she turned 3 and added the piano at age 6. She practiced the two instruments hours and hours every day with her mom sitting right next to her. She added the banjo around age 10 and the organ shortly thereafter. Her music lessons were with some of the best private teachers in Utah.
“My rigorous classical training has afforded me the opportunity to play any style I’ve tried — pop, jazz, bluegrass, Irish, soul and even rock,” said Sister Lowe. “I sight read most music, as well as play by ear.”
Her parents, Robert and LeeAndra Lowe, first met as part of the BYU performing group Young Ambassadors in the 1970s. Both of them came from musical and theatrical backgrounds. They married and had eight children — two boys and six girls.
“Some gifts you hold in your hands, others in your heart,” wrote Sister Lowe’s parents in an email to the Church News. “Our heritage of music comes from both sides of the family, and our music is something we hope people will feel.” As each of the Lowes’ eight children was born, natural talent was apparent. After a few years of instrumental, voice, dance and even swimming lessons, each child was asked what he or she liked. “The problem was, they liked everything. Now, after 250,000 hours of practicing and 10,000 music lessons and years on the road, our family mission statement remains the same: To lift, inspire and touch hearts as we share the gospel through music.”
Sister Lowe remembers doing most of her homework in her youth while traveling in a tour bus all over America. “We were on the road about ten months out of the year, followed by several years in Branson, Missouri, performing six shows a week,” she recalls. She eventually graduated with a music degree from BYU.
Either individually or collectively over the years, the Lowes shared the stage with or performed for the likes of Wayne Newton, Carrie Underwood, the Osmonds, Lindsey Stirling, Toni Braxton, Andy Williams, Five for Fighting, U.S. presidents, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and many General Authorities.
“I used to teach Mindy Gledhill piano and help her with all of her songs in preparation for her albums and concerts,” said Sister Lowe. “We co-wrote three songs together. I was the keyboard player and back-up vocalist for David Archuleta during four tours in 2009, as well as musical director for his Christmas tour that same year. After David returned from his mission, we started working together again and have enjoyed our experiences. I’m also working as an arranger and musical director for Lexi Walker, a 12-year old singing prodigy that is spreading like wildfire across the U.S.”
Her recent work has been on the East Coast for performances at the Kennedy Center for Gary Sinise’s Christmas for the Troops, where John Lloyd Young, Kristin Chenoweth, Marlee Matlin, Miss America, Charlie Daniels and more performed her arrangement of ‘America The Beautiful,’ with Lexi Walker as lead soloist; the lighting ceremony at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center and Kate Winslet’s autism foundation Christmas show at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In the near future, she will be touring in Spain and France with David Archuleta performing for members and missionaries in four different missions (more information at kendralowe.com).
Because of the positive influence of music in her life, Sister Lowe has seen people come closer to Christ, feel joy, want to be better individuals and want to learn more about music. She has experienced firsthand the discipline needed to study and master the musical skills required to perform well. “The biggest effect I’ve witnessed is how music simply changes lives,” she said. “The Spirit is the great communicator and testator of God’s love, so if even one soul can feel God’s love through my music, whether I’m performing or composing, then my joy is full. ... I recognize that I am an instrument. His instrument. He uses me to do His work, and that is an honor.
“For example, I was recently creating an orchestral arrangement for Lexi. I kept hitting mental blocks throughout the process and finally had to stop, push my chair back, drop to my knees and ask God’s help. I let Him know this arrangement was His, and I was simply His instrument. After getting up and sitting in my chair for a few minutes, the ideas flowed like water from a faucet. I repeated this process every time I got stuck and, without fail, He was there giving me revelation. I have learned that when I submit to Him fully, without reservation, recognizing His hand in every movement of my life, miracles happen.”
A unique way she uses music in her daily life is by memorizing scriptures or important lessons using musical rhythms. “When I was serving as a Spanish ordinance worker in the Draper [Utah] Temple, I was able to learn and memorize another language more quickly because of the rhythms I heard in my head while learning all of the beautiful promises God gives to His children inside those sacred walls. In another language, I was able to see that God’s words are a beautiful song, the harmonies of our obedient lives adding to His perfect melody and creating one glorious sound.”
Her advice to others about being an instrument of the Lord is this: “Trust God no matter what. ... Trust that He will take care of you. Trust that He knows what’s best for you and that He has bigger dreams for you than you could ever create yourself. Just do it, and don’t look back.”