History & Photo Album

Sounds of Sonshine was organized in 1979 by Bob and Virginia Griesse as an outreach ministry of Christian Outreach Church and School. Children in grades K through 8 were eligible to audition for the group which met weekly for required practices. The group not only learned to play rhythm instruments, but also puppetry and dramatic skits. Children who could play piano or other instruments were given opportunities to share these, also, in the presentations. Many of the songs and skits presented were written by Virginia.

S.O.S. led the children's sessions at Christian Outreach Church and every summer at the C.O.C. Family Bible Camp. They also appeared locally in rest homes, churches, Sunday schools and day schools. In 1999, a new outreach called "Backyard Plays" was begun, and the group presented an original mini musical drama by Virginia each summer in neighborhoods until 2006. From 1999 until 2006 the group went by the name of Kidshine.

Sounds of Sonshine took their first trip in the spring of 1979 to Belleville, Illinois, and in the next ten years traveled to 11 mid-western states including Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Sounds of Sonshine averaged about 12 members a year, but in 1991 the group swelled to 31, the largest ever. Ten children were chosen to travel when SOS went on the road, rotating the children so everyone could have a turn to travel. Local church members housed the group overnight and often prepared meals for them before and after their ministry.

In 1984, a new incentive and reward plan was started in which the children could earn points for attendance, memorizing, remembering music folders, wearing the required outfits for ministry time, and other things. Each 100 points resulted in a special award. At the 1000 point level they were in the Rainbow Club, 2000 the Notables, and 3000 and above the Noteworthy Club.

In 1980, the first recording of S.O.S. was made by the original 10 members. This collection of 12 songs and Scriptures is available now on a CD titled "The Light of My Life".

In 1982, S.O.S. was invited to appear on a Christian Children's TV show in Chicago hosted by Cheryl Edmiston. The songs were taped at a studio in Wheaton, Illinois. This collection of songs is now available on the CD titled, "Go and Share/ Sounds of Sonshine Remembered."