Marilynn Jones Venden
Marilynn Jones Venden, a singer, has been involved in music since her earliest years. In addition to being featured as a lead singer with numerous groups over many years and assisting her husband, Gary, in his pastoral responsibilities, she has also served as a chaplain for over eight years.
Marilynn was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, the oldest of three children and the only daughter born to Monty and Donna Leach Jones. From her earliest years she was immersed in music, her parents having worked as musicians in evangelism from the year after her birth.
Her father was a guitarist and tenor who had studied for over three years with Lon Metcalfe, noted voice teacher in the Seventh-day Adventist church, sung in the select choir at Pacific Union College, and been a soloist in the Messiah. Her mother, who had studied piano and organ extensively, the latter with C. Warren Becker, is a talented improvisational performer who for many years accompanied and sang duets with her husband and served as organist in evangelistic meetings conducted by Clifton Walter.
From her childhood, Marilynn and her two brothers assisted with music in evangelistic meetings. While she was still a teenager, the family released an album, The Monty Jones Family Sings about the Happy Side of Life, through Chapel Records.
Marilynn graduated from Lodi Academy in 1977 and then attended Pacific Union College, where she completed an A.D. in food service in 1979. During her time at PUC she also sang for two years in a singing group under the direction of William Truby III, where she met Gary Venden, who had also been raised in a music-filled home. They married in March 1979.
Immediately after their graduation in 1979, while he served as an intern pastor at Newbury Park Academy in California, she worked in food service at the school for a year and then worked at Adventist Media Productions for a year. The Vendens spent the next nine years in evangelism, working with the Kenneth Cox Team for a year and a half; Lyle Pollett for two years in the Carolina Conference; and then in the Northern California Conference for six years, first with Pollett, and then on their own.
The Vendens released three recordings of Contemporary Christian Music in the 1980s, the last, Quiet Time, being a CD. The first, Stained Glass, released in 1981, also featured her brother Greg, and the second, in 1983, with just the Vendens, was titled Quiet Galilean Nights.
From 1990 to 1997, Marilynn served as worship leader in the Ross Valley SDA Church in Fairfax, California, where Gary was pastor. When he became pastor of the Glendale SDA Church in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997, she again served as worship leader, a position she still retains. Beginning in that first year in Arizona, she also led out as worship leader in the Adults II program at the Arizona camp meeting and in 2000 joined with Gary in doing the same at the Redwood camp meeting in the Northern California SDA Conference.
Starting in 1980, Gary had served as a keyboardist, guitarist, and bandleader of Worship Band for the Adults II program at the Redwood Camp Meeting. In 1997 he started doing the same at the Arizona camp meeting in Prescott while also continuing at Redwood. He still provides that service at both camp meetings.
In 1997, when he became pastor at Glendale, he started a resident group called the Mosaic Worship Band. More recently, the Vendens and musicians drawn from their local worship band and others who have participated in the Arizona and California camp meeting bands jointly produced CDs in 2006 and 2008, titled Mosaic and Mosaic 2. Both feature Contemporary Christian music, Marilynn as lead singer, and a creative mix of a variety of instruments.
In 2000 Marilynn completed an M.Th. at Fuller Theological Seminary in Fullerton, California. Since 2003, she has served as chaplain at Hospice of the Valley.
Sources: Information provided by Marilynn and Gary Venden, record liners for recordings by Monty and Donna Jones and CD liner for Mosaic, 2006.
The Happy Side of Life The Monty and Donna Jones Family, Chapel/Bridge Records #S2239 (1972)
Stained Glass Contemporary Christian, Gary & Marilynn Venden and Greg Jones, Chapel/Bridge Records #S2300 (1981) Recorded at Heavenly Studio, Sacramento, CA
Quiet Galilean Nights Contemporary Christian, Gary & Marilynn Venden, Chapel/Bridge Records #S2313 (1983) Recorded at Sundown Sound, Greenville, SC
Quiet Time Contemporary Christian, Gary & Marilynn Venden, Chapel Records #5545 (1988) Self-recorded at Lodi, CA
Mosaic Contemporary Christian, Gary & Marilynn Venden with Mosaic Worship Band, Distributed by Chapel/Bridge Records (2006) Recorded at Full-Clip Audio, Phoenix, AZ
Mosaic 2 Contemporary Christian, Gary & Marilynn Venden with Mosaic Worship Band, Distributed by Chapel/Bridge Records (2008) Recorded at Full-Clip Audio, Phoenix, AZ