Burchfield family to perform at Lesters Chapel UMC Chili Cook-Off

Published 12:06 pm Monday, February 1, 2016

Wanda Vick Burchfield, left, and her family will perform at Lesters Chapel United Methodist Church's chili cook-off on Feb. 6. Also pictured are daughter Victoria and husband Mark Burchfield. (Contributed)

Wanda Vick Burchfield, left, and her family will perform at Lesters Chapel United Methodist Church’s chili cook-off on Feb. 6. Also pictured are daughter Victoria and husband Mark Burchfield. (Contributed)


COLUMBIANA – Lesters Chapel United Methodist Church’s 11th annual chili cook-off will serve more than chili to attendees this year.

Shelby County native Wanda Vick Burchfield and her family will perform a free bluegrass gospel concert after the chili cook-off Feb. 6 at the church.

Daniel Burchfield, Wanda and Mark's son, also performs with the family. (Contributed)

Daniel Burchfield, Wanda and Mark’s son, also performs with the family. (Contributed)

For Burchfield, who grew up in Montevallo, the performance will double as a homecoming. Lesters Chapel was the church where she spent countless Sundays with her family, and where she was saved and baptized.

“This church is where I grew up,” Burchfield said in a Jan. 28 phone interview. “It’s my family. It’s my home church. I’m thrilled to go back.”

Burchfield’s musical roots formed when she was a young girl. She started playing with her family––her father plays the banjo and guitar, her sister played the guitar and sang and her grandfather played the banjo––and her father started taking her to a local bluegrass festival.

“I really grew up playing bluegrass in the area,” Burchfield said.

She appeared on Country Boy Eddie’s Birmingham television show when she was 12 years old. She would wake up at 3 a.m. to go and play on the show before school, she said.

Burchfield started playing a type of acoustic guitar called a dobro when she was 9, and eventually added the guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin.

She attended the University of Montevallo for music and transferred to Belmont University.

In 1981, she moved to Nashville and later met her husband, Mark, who owns Watershed Recording Studio. The couple has recorded, toured and performed with many well-known artists, including Gaither Vocal Band, Twila Paris, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.

Wanda and Mark also perform with their children, Victoria, 16, and Daniel, 9, and will do so at the Lesters Chapel event on Feb. 6.

“Our music is a combination of hymns and some original songs,” Wanda said. “We do some (songs) that I and Victoria have written.”

One song the two wrote, “I Don’t Even Know Your Name,” is a tribute to Wanda’s parents and the story of how they met and fell in love.

“I think people will really enjoy it,” Wanda said of the song. “It really means a lot to us … a true Alabama story.”

Wanda said the family’s style blends modern bluegrass, acoustic, swing and spiritual, offering “something for everybody.”

A love offering will be collected during the concert to support the Burchfield family.

The concert will follow the chili tasting at 5 p.m.

Chili cookers should arrive by 4:30 p.m. to set up their stations in the fellowship hall.

“Everyone in the community is welcome to enter their chili,” Lesters Chapel UMC Pastor Melissa Patrick said. “We’re a small church with a big heart. Our members and I are working on extending our services in the community to extend the body of Christ beyond our church doors. It’s a great time for people to come and be with us and taste some great chili.”

There is no cost for chili entries. The church will provide “all the fixins,” cornbread and desserts.

A grand prize and a trophy will be awarded to the best chili maker, and door prizes will be given.

Lesters Chapel UMC is located at 7800 Chelsea Road in Columbiana. For more information, call 678-6259 or visit Lesters Chapel UMC on Facebook.

“We’re excited about it,” Patrick said of the event. “Everyone is welcome to be there.”