BY VELMA SOUTHERLAND
As a new year approaches, two Greeneville brothers are looking forward to launching a new business, or calling, that is not directly in line with their degrees from the University of Tennessee.
Jordan and Seth Dugger are known collectively as The Dugger Band, but have been known most of their lives because their entire family is musically gifted.
Their parents are David and Kathy Dugger, pastors of Crossroads Church, and both the parents' extended families are filled with musicians who sing and play multiple instruments. It's not much wonder that the two college-age young men have been steeped in a musical tradition that might have led to a career path.
However, their educations have been chosen with more practical destinations in mind.
Jordan is a 2006 graduate of Greeneville High School, with Seth following in his tracks in 2009. Both were involved with the band and chorus programs in school. Jordan plays guitar, piano, saxophone and drums. Seth plays bass, fiddle, trumpet and drums.
Jordan completed a degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee in 2011, and Seth is poised to graduate in 2013 with a practical degree in finance.
However, Jordan acknowledged that their areas of study are already proving useful in the newly announced musical career the two are embarking on together.
It's easy to see how financial savvy will be handy to have in any career, but architecture?
Well, Jordan revealed in an interview at The Greeneville Sun office on Wednesday afternoon that he has discovered that his knowledge of design has been valuable for set and graphic design, both of which were incorporated into the Dec. 20 show the band presented at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
That Christmas show was designed to be their launch -- or at least a "big stepping stone," as Jordan phrased it -- into the young men's future as contemporary Christian entertainers.
The title of The Dugger Band's Christmas show was "The Gift."
The show did not just focus on God's gift of his Son to the world, but also conveyed a message about the gifts or talents that each individual possesses.
The show used comedy, entertainment and an original film to present the message to the audience. The Duggers wrote and directed the film, much of which was set locally and used a local cast.
The NPAC show was the first time The Dugger Band had held a ticketed show. They self-promoted it and sold nearly 1,000 tickets, an accomplishment which sent a message to them that they were on to something.
Prior to 2012, the Duggers had sung with their parents and learned (they thought) that they were not too interested in music. They have performed for "a lot of church events," where the show is not as much entertainment and it is service, Jordan explained, and concerts, such as the Greene County Fair, and in September of this year before about 30,000 people in Philadelphia, Pa., as they participated in the America for Jesus Rally, which was broadcast on God TV.
The two brothers also produced a Christmas show in 2007. In that show, they incorporated live skits, and wanted to switch it up for the 2012 show. Their Christmas shows are "a lot of entertainment" using not just the Duggers' original music, but holiday favorites and covers.
Much of what the brothers sing is original music, with the lyrics and music being written by them or their parents.
They released their first album, "The Journey," in the fall of 2011. The music on it had eight pieces written by Jordan, one by Seth, and one by each parent. The music was arranged by the brothers.
In conjunction with the NPAC Christmas show, The Dugger Band has released an acoustic extended play disc, "The Gift," featuring four numbers from the show.
In the Wednesday interview, Jordan said that, as they planned the NPAC show, they learned that, if they go into churches and perform, they can also mention the show and let people know how to purchase tickets.
Through experience he has learned that, once people get to know him and Seth, they want to buy tickets.
Jordan sees the band following that blueprint in other shows, as they wander further afield into different parts of the country and new venues which they can lease.
"Right now, we see it being like a touring-type thing on a national stage."
The Duggers are taking steps toward that goal for the new year and new career by spending the down time of the holidays preparing. They are researching venues -- "starting in East Tennessee and working our way out" because the closer a show is to home base, the less it costs to transport everyone and all the equipment to the location.
In the second prong of the endeavor, they are also sending promotional material to theaters and hoping some will be interested in bringing the band in and promoting the show.
Then, "right after the first of the year, we will start contacting people," Jordan said.