If it were not for Camp McCain, there would be no Cuomo Sisters singing in churches and venues throughout the area.
Kenny King of Vaiden, sound man and husband of one of the singing sisters, said their grandparents left Italy around 1910 on a ship and went to Pennsylvania, where their father was born and raised. He went into the Army and served in World War II. While being processed out of the Army he was sent to Camp McMcain in Grenada and met his future wife somewhere in the area. They married in 1948 and together, they raised seven children — one boy, then six girls—in Vaiden.
“My fondest memories of our singing is having our mother with us,” said Patsy Moore, a member of The Cuomo Sisters. “She was our greatest supporter and went everywhere we sang.”
But it wasn’t until about eight years ago, the sisters decided to “take their show on the road” to sing professionally.
“Being able to perform together has been a joy and a blessing,” said Barbara Ivy, member of The Cuomo Sisters. “We have always been close but doing this keeps us even closer. We are serious performers but we have a lot of fun, too.”
“We love each other and get along together,” said Brenda King, another member of The Cuomo Sisters. ”We have fun when we get together. Our love for music and our Savior helps us. This is our way of worshipping and spreading His love.”
“We have always been very close and this gives us an excuse to be together,” Moore said. “It is wonderful doing something that we all love. This is our way to serve the Lord.”
Of the six sisters, these three all agree that they love singing accapella because, as Moore says, “that is how we started out.” Her favorite songs are “Beulah Land,” How Great Thou Art” and “Precious Memories.”
“The harmony is so much better without music,” Ivy said. “Most of our songs are the old southern gospel. These songs are not done much any more but these are the songs that we grew up with taught to us by our mother and grandmother. When we perform them we are reminded of them and our childhood memories. It is a beautiful sight to be up there singing and look at the faces of our audience, especially the older ones because you can see by the look on their faces that they are remembering things from their past too. We love doing this because we feel so blessed and we can do this and praise our Lord.”
All over the sisters play an instrument and sing. They usually have two altos, two sopranos, and two tenors with each song. They also play instruments like guitars, ukulele and mandolins.
“We all can sing any parts and we do,” Brenda King said. “It depends on the song. All of us play a little, enough to get the tune and beat. But we all do this because we love the Lord and praise Him in all things.”
Moore agrees. “Being able to do the Lord’s work through song is our goal. It brings us closer together as a family and we love meeting different people who we touch through song. It keeps us going.”
The Cuomo Sisters will be performing their annual Christmas Program at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Vaiden.
For more information about The Cuomo Sisters, find their Facebook Group or contact Brenda King at (662) 464-5476 during the day or (662) 464-5972 at night or Mary Jane King at (662) 464-8868 or (662) 464-0120.