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Poulsbo family is made for TV

Family of musical

dynamos featured on

HBO documentary.

POULSBO — “All it takes is a little bass line,” said jazz musician Tyler Lindsay, just before hitting the ebony and ivory to the tune of “Linus and Lucy.” His head tilts down, fingers fly and out comes the familiar refrain in all its rip roarin’, ragtime glory.

At the same time, Ryan Lindsay plunks the four-string like a pro, and Christina Lindsay pounds out the beat on the drums, putting the pitch-perfect finish on the trio of sounds filling the Monday afternoon air.

Meet The Lindsays, a musical sibling triad with a big sound — despite the small hands. None of the Lindsays are old enough to drive a car, yet each drives a melody like a big-league Birdland stage cat.

Christina, 8, plays on despite having just suffered an inevitable childhood woe: a shot at the doctor’s office.

Her face grimaces in comical complaint as parents Paul and Susan watch on, to be sure no one forgets her arm is nothing short of sore. But as the song progresses, a glimmer of smile grows, and the joy she finds in playing is as unmistakable as the talent she possesses.

But she’s not the only one who possesses it.

Ryan, 11, delivers each note with the ease of a well-seasoned performer, like the simple snap of the fingers to a favorite New Orleans tune. He’s the charmer of the group, according to Susan. The one that “makes eyes at all the ladies.” But more than that, he enjoys spreading happiness through music, and that’s something he and his brother and sister all share.

“They love to play,” Susan said. “They love to touch people’s hearts and to bring smiles to their faces.”

And that they have.

The Lindsays are currently being featured on HBO Family’s “The Music in Me,” a documentary-style show featuring the kids’ instrumental affinity for the stage. They can also be seen each Friday night playing at Poulsbo’s Bayside Broiler. And as if those gigs aren’t plenty, reality television producers have had a field day courting the prodigies. Recently, “America’s Got Talent” representatives contacted Tyler, 13, who also plays the trumpet, bass and viola. It’s likely he’ll make an appearance on an upcoming season of the American Idol-like program.

And why not? He can, of course, play the trumpet and the piano simultaneously.

The three virtuosos come from a line of talented musicians. It was through music that Paul, who previously taught at the Navy School of Music in Norfolk, Va., before joining the Navy Band Northwest, met Susan. He plays the trumpet and the drums and she’s a master at the French horn and piano. The five, who also form a family brass band, moved to Poulsbo last November.

Now they’re injecting their soulful sound into their Little Norway surroundings, and people are taking note.

That’s no surprise, as Tyler isn’t the only multi-instrumental child in the family. Ryan boasts skills on the trombone, and Christina takes a turn at both the saxophone and tuba. Both are also adept at the viola and piano.

While their age is obvious to any onlooker — Christina’s tuba is sweetly adorned with Disney princess stickers — their sound is skilled and refined. Paul and Susan began teaching each of their kids music lessons when they began to show interest. For Tyler, that was age 3. For Ryan, it wasn’t until age 5. But for all it’s become a way the family can be together, playing as one to the last bebop measure. And to Tyler, Ryan and Christina, it’s no musical phenom. It’s simply life.

“They don’t really know any different,” Paul said. “It’s just the way it’s always been.”

Spending all that time together doesn’t drive them apart. Instead, the toe-tapping three take their impressive hobby in stride, between songs laughing and discussing Simon Cowell’s latest critical zinger. After forming their band as an after-school job of sorts — though they are home-schooled — the three say they think it’s a musical trio that will stay together for some time to come. To Paul and Susan it’s something of which they’re immeasurably proud, and rightfully so.

While watching the three cruise through another musical number, Susan put it succinctly with a mother’s knowing smile on her face: “It’s just an incredible blessing.”

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