Katina and Taneshia Curry love to sing, especially about God.
Residents of Owings Mills, Md., the two sisters will be in the Altoona area today and Saturday to lift up their voices as a duet and as part of a group called Pastor Andrew Best and The Sound of Worship.
The Currys, who grew up in Altoona, will sing at 5 p.m. today at the vesper service of the Sunday School Picnic being held at DelGrosso Amusement Park and with The Sound of Worship at 3 p.m. Saturday at the African-American Heritage Festival being held at Penn State Altoona.
(Courtesy photo)Katina (left) and Taneshia Curry grew up in Altoona where their singing talents first became known. They now sing and minister in other ways in the Washington, D.C., area. Here they are shown with members of the former group, Restored. They are Denise Forbes, Christina Williams and Tamika Shingler
The women have sung with Best for several years, but music always has been part of their lives.
"My parents bought a piano when I was 4," Katina said. "We always had music in our house. As a family, we would sing and play the piano. I learned to play by ear and took lessons at age 10."
She also learned to play the violin in elementary school, and Taneshia played the saxophone. Both sang in the chorus at Wright Elementary School.
Katina, 38, and Taneshia, 36, got their start as vocalists by singing at their home church, Prince of Peace Church of God in Christ in Altoona, and soon were known for their gifted voices beyond the walls of the sanctuary.
Both sang in the chorus at Keith Junior High and Altoona Area High Schools. They sang in All-City Chorus and Orchestra and earned positions in District and Regional choirs. Taneshia also qualified for State Choir.
Taneshia was a soloist for the jazz band and played in the concert band and orchestra at Altoona Area High School in the early 1990s. She played the oboe in junior and senior high.
She became known for her ability to sing the national anthem and was vocalist for the "Star Spangled Banner" at several events, including a Pittsburgh Steelers game at Heinz Field when she was a high school junior. She also sang it at a televised Independence Day fireworks show at DelGrosso Park, the opening ceremony of the Olympic bicycle trials and a Curve baseball game.
She won the first Altoona Idol competition held in 2004 at Penn State Altoona. It was hosted by Tommy Ford of the syndicated television show, "Martin."
"I love to sing the national anthem," Taneshia said. "I visualize the words the whole time I am singing. It is so powerful."
Singing the national anthem also has been part of Katina's repertoire. She would sing it before the girls basketball games at Altoona High and then take to the court as a player. She was a sophomore on the 1987-88 Lady Lions team that won the PIAA Quad-A state championship.
In junior high, she put her energy into twirling a baton and served as head majorette. In high school, she spent most of her extra time perfecting her basketball game. However, the music was not set aside.
She played the piano for chorus and sang in the jazz ensemble. After graduation in 1990, she attended Florida International University in Miami on a basketball scholarship.
Taneshia, who graduated from Altoona High in 1992, attended the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., where she was accepted into the music program to study voice.
Eventually both women settled in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area where Taneshia met Best, who was playing keyboard at the 2006 National Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast.
At the time, Taneshia and Katina were singing with For Hiz Glory, a Christian group that had been invited to sing for the prayer breakfast and twice for the lighting of the national Christmas tree ceremony under the George W. Bush administration.
Taneshia became reacquainted with Best at a power lunch church service held for workers in Washington, D.C., and he invited her to a rehearsal for a group he was forming called Restored.
Taneshia joined the group as an alto and two years later recommended Katina to fill the tenor spot.
When Katina started with Restored, the group already was recording its first project.
"It's intense to learn music like that," she said of having to sing while in the recording studio. "It was a lot of hard work."
After more than five years leading Restored, Best, who is senior pastor of Worship World Church in Laurel, Md., formed a new group called The Sound of Worship with more singers.
And her work in Christian ministry has led Katina to the job she desired.
She joined the staff at Worship World Church as associate pastor of church development and administration about a year ago.
Best said the church was growing, and he needed help with his ministerial duties.
"I tapped Katina to help us out. We had a lot of women joining the church, and they needed someone who could relate to them," Best said.
"I love every second of it," Katina said. "I consider it my dream job."
She said she does administrative duties as well as being leader of a women's ministry called Sisters. She sometimes preaches on Sundays and prays for people nationwide who contact the church's prayer ministry on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
She works in outreach by ministering to those affected by domestic violence or drugs and visits a nursing home and homeless shelter. She also leads one of the church's praise and worship team.
"It is very fulfilling. I touch people's lives in so many ways," she said.
Previously she worked as a human relations manager for Home Depot for 11 years and as director of human relations for AIMCO, a property management company.
When that company downsized two years ago, she lost her job.
"When I was praying, I heard God say I was going to get a promotion," she said. "But the regional office was reduced from 42 to 10 people. God wasn't talking about AIMCO."
She added that when the opportunity arose to work full time in ministry, she also received an offer for a human resources job.
"I really had to pray and ask God where he wanted me to go," she said.
Taneshia also is in ministry although she works full time for the Department of Pharmacy Services at Howard University Hospital as an administrative assistant and residency coordinator.
She is a licensed minister at her church, Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, a church of 7,000 members in Washington, D.C., under the leadership of Archbishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. and Evangelist Susie C. Owens.
Taneshia ministers at a women's shelter and works with The Jessup Connection, a ministry of the church that works with incarcerated women in Jessup, Md. She is responsible for parts of the liturgy during some Sunday services. She is a member of the music ministry where she sings with the Recording Choir and is a soprano for Judah, the church's praise team.
She said she also gets a lot of invitations to ministry in song at other churches and venues.
But it all began in Altoona where the women had two aunts, the late Virginia Curry, and Pastor Emma Creamer of Wilmington, Del., who were influential in their musical careers and encouraged them as vocalists, including Creamer asking Taneshia to sing at revivals.
"It's a blessing to be part of a family with such a calling," Taneshia said