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Minnesota Sounds & Voices: Mom has daughters singing from childhood to adulthood

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The Doublette family, of Burnsville, performs gospel music Thursday, June 28, 2012 at the Walker Art Center. The quartet called SeVy includes mother Robin Doublette, left, and daughters Danielle Doublette, Lynnea Doublette and Ivory Doublette, left to right. Robin Doublette leads the choir at Community Covenant Church and has been singing with her daughter for the past 15 years.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

A Twin Cities mom immersed her three daughters in gospel praise music almost before the girls could walk.

The daughters are adults now with their own lives, but the Sevy Gospel Quartet continues to perform.

The mother, Robin Doublette's, formula for raising three children — girls, in this case — is simple.

"You know, girls kind of talk a lot, so I thought that I'd teach them to sing, give them something to do. And they picked it right up," Doublette said.

That was nearly 20 years ago in Anchorage, Alaska.

Robin's husband, Yves Doublette, was stationed there for the military and when his stint was up, they stayed to raise the family.

The group's name, Sevy, is Yves spelled backward, a tribute to dad. 

The Doublettes relocated to Minnesota a few years ago and the girls are now adults. The quartet performs wherever they can land a gig.

Mom started the kids singing at such an early age that 22-year-old Danielle said she has no memory of those early days.

"The first times we were singing together I was so small that I had to stand on a chair so people could see me. We were singing together," she said. "I don't for the life of me ever remember this happening, but it did happen, so I thought, 'That's so cool.  I was so little, and I was singing with my big sisters and my mom.' That's awesome."

There's a chance you've heard some or all of the Doublette women vocalize.

Three years ago the oldest daughter, Lynnea, played a supporting role in the Guthrie Theater's "Caroline or Change."  She was a member of the production's Motown Sound trio.

They also created a Sunday Gospel brunch program for a downtown Minneapolis eatery.

When they performed recently on a warm summer evening at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis beads of perspiration formed on audience members' foreheads as they clapped to "Looking for a Miracle."

The Sevy Gospel Quartet is comfortable singing many kinds of music.

But their life revolves around their religion and their church.

They perform many Sundays at Community Covenant Church in north Minneapolis where Robin is choir director.

Pastor Luke Swanson still remembers the job interview three years ago.

"What you need to know about the Doublette's is they all go together.  Miss Doublette came, and when she came for the interview she brought some of her children also, so we knew right away that it was a package deal," Swanson said.

Community Covenant is an integrated congregation where praise music is standard fare.

The upbeat tempos and positive messages help people cope in the midst of pain and struggle," Swanson said.

Ivory Doublette, 25, says adding a gospel sound to praise music helps focus her mind on the struggles of African American forbearers.

"If my ancestors and people not too far from me could overcome so much.   There's nothing that I can't get through, can't succeed at," she said.