O God of Second Chances...
"Here I Am Again"
Recently I had been wondering if some of my poetry could be set to music. I'd heard the story that Jack Wyrtzen put his son Don through college with the proceeds from one song he wrote, "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow."
But where would I find a composer with a passion for God? Who would want to even look at my work? Who would know the way around the music and recording/publishing business?
Also, very recently, I'd been asking God to fulfill His promise of provision for our needs. I've been asking God to see a fulfillment, somehow, of that. I know that many times He answers at the very last minute when there is a pressing need.
Then out of the blue, this week I received the following e-mail from Dean Slocum:
I saw "O God of second chances, and new beginnings, here I am again" on a
church marquee near my home in Nashville, TN. It's one of the most beautiful
Christian sentiments I've ever heard.
I've been curious as to the origin of those words. The church never returned
my phone calls. I finally found you by searching the Internet.
I saw your butterfly photo with those words. Are you the original author of
the words? Do you own the rights to the photo, the words, or both?
I'm working on a project where I'd like to use the words only. That's why
it's important that I find the original author. Your reply would be very
I wrote, granting permission, and saying that I would like to see the project he is working on. (I was thinking small. Like something for a local church?) Then I had a phone call from him. He explained he is a musician who has written two verses to go with the poem, and composed music for it. He said he heard a melody in his head, and wondered where he had heard it before. Then he realized it was original. When he went back to my words, everything fit, syllable, by syllable. My words are the opening and the repeating chorus. He has titled the work "Here I am Again."
He played the song for a friend in the music industry, and that person thinks it could become a standard. Wow! God, is this how You are working?
I didn't know who Dean Slocum is, but after going to his web site and seeing all the things he has done, I am impressed! That is too weak a word. Overwhelmed! Joyful! Chuckling at how God answers prayer.
Please check this out to see what I mean at www.deanslocum.com. Dean is a very versatile, well-recognized and honored musician.
So, he told me he needs to get just the right singer for the demo recording. He will use Crystal Gayle's guitarist (Dean has played piano for her and will be with her this weekend, playing with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.) He will add string tracks to the demo. He hopes to have print music published, as well as producing a CD with more of his compositions. He feels that churches will want to buy sheet music for their own performance.
Would you please pray with me that something very wonderful would come of this? I would appreciate that very much. A copy of the words and music came in my e-mail tonight. The words Dean added are perfect in adding depth and meaningful worship. The music is most fitting. Perfect, in my estimation. I'm eager to hear how it will sound when performed.
In an e-mail which I just received, Dean says:
Noticing the hour that you sent your emails, I can see you didn't get any sleep last night. :) I'm glad you're excited. I am too! Between your prayers that your words might be set to music, and the way the music for the chorus came to me during sleep, I know this song has been ordained by the Lord. So we have good reason to be excited.
He closes by saying:
God has arranged this collaboration between two people in different states who didn’t even know each other. I know His blessings are on this project, and He has BIG plans. So we can expect great things to happen and be thankful in advance. May this song first and foremost bring glory and honor to Him. But a little "mailbox money" wouldn’t hurt either ;)
And I say, Amen! Thank You, Father!
Here is something more I wrote to Dean Slocum because I hadn't told him the whole story about my wishes for having a song set to music.
I have revised "Thoughts from Nancy." at GodThoughts.com. The part of the story I hadn't told you is that about a month ago, when I was meditating about having poetry set to music, I was wishing something I wrote could live on after I'm gone, in music form — something that would bless others and speak of the goodness and love of God for us. I'd like to leave a vibrant testimony. "Amazing Grace" came to mind, as did Twila Paris' "We Will Glorify." I was thinking it would be so wonderful if some piece of music and words were good enough to be in hymnals, yet be popular with the general public and be meaningful even to non-believers.
Do you know that I almost left "Second Chances" (then titled "Repeat Performance") out of the Fanfare poetry collection book? I was afraid that it was just too small to be important and taken seriously.
O sing unto the LORD a new song;
for he hath done marvelous things....
Rejoicing in God's goodness,
Below are excerpts from Dean Slocum's web site you may enjoy reading.
Dean Slocum is a professional composer-arranger and pianist in Nashville, TN. His projects include record production (both live and sample-based MIDI recording), scoring for video and broadcast, Christian songwriting and live performances. Go to the Music Library for free Real Audio, MP3, MIDI and music notation downloads.
A graduate of North Texas State University with a jazz major, his preferred genre has always been jazz, though his credentials in pop and country music are extensive.
His internationally popular compositions, styles1.mid and styles2.mid, were written for the Creative Labs Sound Blaster series of PC soundcards. These MIDI files have been packaged with millions of Sound Blaster products, and have been featured on websites around the world, including the government of Taiwan. Dean is also the composer of a jazz-fusion style tune used by E-mu Systems for the built-in demo in one of their Proteus sound module products.
Glad Tidings is a powerful Christian radio ministry based in Charlotte, NC. Their daily message, along with Dean's theme music, is broadcast on over 100 stations throughout the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, Guam, Panama and New Guinea.
As a pianist-synthesist, he has performed for two Presidents and has performed in the Governor's Mansions in both Tennessee and Hawaii. With Crystal Gayle, he has performed for President George H. W. Bush on three separate occasions. One of those was in the East Room of the White House for the President, his Cabinet and Governors for the annual Governor's Conference in 1992.
Dean continues to perform regularly with Crystal and on a free-lance basis with many other artists. The list of artists he has performed with include the Moody Blues, Lori Morgan, Suzy Bogguss, Paul Overstreet, Lee Greenwood, Ronnie Milsap, T. Graham Brown, Billy Dean, Louise Mandrell, Red Skelton, Andy Williams, Gary Morris, Linda Davis, Deborah Allen, Charlie McCoy, Charlie Rich, Boots Randolph, Hal Ketchum, Eddie Rabbit, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Vinton, Roy Clark, Burl Ives, Eddy Arnold, Dobie Gray, The Four Aces, The Four Lads, Jerry Vale, Fabian, Bobby Reidell, the big bands of Les Elgart and Tex Beneke and many others.
Television performances include Hey, Hey, It's Saturday Night (Australia's version of "Saturday Night Live") and numerous performances on The Nashville Network (TNN), The Grand Ole Opry, Turner South, NBC, The Family Channel, BBC (London, EN), Fox Network and HBO.
Dean has performed with many great symphony orchestras with various artists, including the Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Pops, Nashville Symphony, Calgary Symphony (Alberta, Canada), Knoxville Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Denver Symphony, El Paso Symphony, Louisville Symphony, Dallas Symphony and Virginia Symphony.
Read all of Nancy's previous articles: