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The LeBaron Family: Real-Life Von Trapps?

The LeBaron family became internet sensations almost overnight. We caught up with them to hear their story.

Have you seen the video of the LeBaron family casually belting “One Day More” from Les Miserables karaoke-style in their basement, babes in arms? It got more than 10 million views on Facebook in just three weeks—and put this BYU-loving, Utah family in the spotlight on Good Morning America, the Today Show, People, and more.

We caught up with the LeBarons to get the backstory, see what a LeBaron family gathering is like, and to capture their arrangement of “Love at Home.” (Jump to the end to see the hymn.)

The viral Les Mis video, it turns out, was a Mother’s Day gift. The LeBaron children wanted to give their mom, Denise Keaton LeBaron (BA ’96), a video of them singing. From dad, Gerald J. LeBaron (BS ’83), whose talent for the piano first caught Denise's attention at BYU, to daughter-in-law Angela Garrett LeBaron (MM ’14), who got a master’s in music performance and auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera, music in this family runs deep.

LeBaron daughter Heidi LeBaron Garn gave us more details:

Q: How did you get to be a singing family?

A: My parents tell the story that my sister, who was probably 2 or so at the time, started singing, and they found out she was on pitch, which is really uncommon for a really little kid. She just had this really clear voice and pitch control. My parents starting to put [all her older siblings] in singing programs, and they loved it. So as more kids came along the family would just keep singing. My dad would play the piano, and by the time I came along it was already an established thing. I don’t remember a time when my family wasn’t singing.

Q: Do you have to be a singer to marry into the family?

A: No, no! My husband sings, but he’s not a performer. My brothers would always say, “It’s not a requirement, but it definitely helps the attractiveness factor!”

Q: So there is some singing involved in courting a LeBaron?

A: My husband and I actually sang a duet at our wedding. It totally did feel like an audition for him. He felt really uncomfortable, but I just encouraged him, and he got up there and he sang it.

Q: How did your parents meet?

A: They were both students at BYU, and my dad was playing the piano in the hall where my mom lived. She heard someone playing piano, so she came in and saw my dad playing. They talked over math homework, and things just really worked out. It was BYU magic, as they say.

Q: Is belting out songs a regular fixture of family get-togethers?

A: [Even] before all this happened, singing was something we did regularly when we got together. We would have dinner, talk, and then we would sing around the piano. . . . We just love Broadway show tunes, and you really get the chance to sing them if someone is playing for you. I think that’s one of the anchor points for us: our dad playing the piano. When we get home, we have our dad there and we can sing to a beautiful, live accompaniment.

Q: What was it like when the Les Mis video went viral?

A: At first I couldn’t really believe it. It had gotten 4,000 views in a day, which seemed like a lot to me. . . . Then I woke up the next morning and there were 16,000, and it just kept multiplying. . . . The next day we started in the hundreds of thousands, and then in the millions, and Good Morning America and the Today Show [started] calling. It was just beyond comprehension how all of this started happening. I was really impressed with how my brothers kept it together, because I was a nervous wreck, thinking, “Holy cow, everyone is seeing us!” My brothers started answering calls and everything just fell into place.

Q: Do you have all voice parts covered in your family?

A: All the parts are covered. My brothers are mostly baritones and basses, and then the girls are mostly sopranos, but we can cover all parts. . . . When Angela joined the family—she has a stellar, absolutely stellar voice [and] the most training in the whole group—as soon as she joined the family eight years ago, she took soprano—which was great.

Q: How does it feel to be internet sensations?

A: We’re happy to share our music. It’s just been an amazing thing to see the impact it’s had on people. To see so many people respond to it and be uplifted by it is just amazing to watch.

Watch the LeBarons’ arrangment of “Love At Home.” It’s a 360-degree video: click and pull the video to maneuver around the LeBarons’ living room.

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