The Siebert family loves to sing together. Jim and Debbie, and their four children—Ashley, Emmie, Grant, and Dallin—enjoy sharing their testimonies of the gospel through videos of acapella hymns, which they post on social media using the hashtag #hymnselfie.
The Sunday family project initially involved using Instagram to post 15-second videos; however, Instagram updates have allowed the Sieberts to create longer videos. They have also recently started pre-recording the songs and archiving them for family history purposes. In the past two years, they have posted about 16 acapella hymn videos.
“One of the most beautiful expressions of the soul is acapella singing,” says Debbie. “And our hymnbook is compiled exactly for this. With the exception of just a few hymns, they are arranged for voice part singing. The hymns are sophisticated and simply stunning in their most raw form, just as they are when sung acapella in parts.”
Music is an important part of Debbie and Jim’s relationship. “My husband and I were in BYU Singers, so we began our relationship with singing,” Debbie shared. Singing continues to play a significant role in their marriage and family life, and they often sing together with their children.
“We sing a song each night before we pray (in parts), and sing spontaneously all the time (in parts). We have a great time. I have a testimony and have witnessed that singing together prevents contention and builds strength.”
Jim works as the chief meteorologist for Fox 26 News in Houston. Debbie studied music and vocal performance and is currently a choral conductor and an opera singer. The family’s #hymnselfie videos have been able to reach a wide audience because of Jim’s social media presence. Between the couple’s social media pages, their recent video of “Called to Serve” has received more than 30,000 views. Debbie recently noticed a stranger shared their video with the message, “Watch this, and I promise your day will go better . . .” She says, “I was touched by the fact that someone who did not know us was inspired [by the video]. Because that is exactly how powerful the hymns are! The power, inspiration, and vigor is in the hymn and its message.”
Debbie has a firm testimony of the power of music to share the Spirit:
“To me, so many hymns are like beautiful creations. Some will walk past a stunning sunset and not notice its majesty. Others will stop and take it in. That is how I view the hymns and Primary songs. Something that is worth stopping and taking in its strength, joy, and light. In moments of great difficulty, sometimes a hymn is the only vehicle that can bring peace.”