Dick and Melodie Tunney have Faith to Share

October 08, 1997


Staff Writer

It was a rough summer for contemporary Christian recording artists Melodie and Dick Tunney, and Melodie Tunney wanted to thank her husband for being there.

About a month ago she wrote "God Knew That I Needed You" to express her feelings.

"We have been through some hard times," Melodie Tunney, also known as Mel, said in a telephone interview from her home office and studio in Brentwood, Tenn. "I got very sick, and Dick had a tumor removed."

Illnesses and the stress of traveling had taken a toll, and she wrote the song to surprise him.

They've started including the song in their concerts, and fans can hear it Friday, Oct. 10, at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.


Although the song hasn't been recorded yet, people have been requesting a copy for weddings, anniversaries and other special events, she said. They might release it as a CD single.

The Tunneys' next album will be for Christmas 1998, and the song wouldn't fit with the material being planned, she said. The album will include several original songs as well as traditional carols.

The Christmas album will be an independent project, like their current album, "The Treasure of Belonging." The couple also recorded two albums together on Warner Alliance Records, "Left to Write" in 1993 and "Let the Dreamers Dream" in 1991.

Mel Tunney said doing an album not associated with a label gives them a lot of freedom, as they have control over the songs, arrangements, cover and photography.

The Tunneys both are songwriters, and their material is drawn from their life experiences, she said. Their daughters - Whitney, 11, and Kelsey, 10 - are a big inspiration, she said.

Mel Tunney, 37, is the lead vocalist and also plays piano. Dick Tunney, 41, plays piano, woodwinds and keyboards.

They are on the road every weekend, giving from one to three performances during each trip. To compensate for their busy schedules, they set aside time for themselves and their children to relax and do the things they want.

One of Mel Tunney's joys is her Bible study and prayer group called F.R.I.E.N.D.S., and six other women join her every Wednesday morning at her home.

"These women are my lifeline. The Lord has knit our hearts together," she said.

Mel Tunney and another member, Jane Sherberg, are writing a book about how the group evolved, offering advice on starting one.

The book fits in with the Tunneys' ministry, which is to encourage marriage and families.

"We want to show that marriage can be fun and very fulfilling," Tunney said.

She met her husband of 16 years while they were members of the contemporary Christian group TRUTH.

"We traveled together for a year and a half, and we couldn't stand each other," Mel Tunney said.

When they finally noticed each other, they realized that their perceptions had been wrong, and things clicked, she said.

They performed as a duo early in their marriage but believed they lacked the life experiences to start their own music ministry. Dick Tunney became pianist and music director for the Imperials, and Mel Tunney was a recording session singer in Nashville, Tenn. In 1986, he became Sandi Patti's musical director. Mel Tunney formed First Call, which backed up Patti - who has now spells her name Patty - before finding its own success.

Seven years ago, they felt a calling to come home from those ministries and become a duo again.

She said topping the charts isn't very important - what matters is that the audience members enjoy their concerts.

With "The Treasure of Belonging," they are sharing 12 songs that emphasize the importance of giving to others without the fear of being hurt.

"There is tremendous security in belonging to Christ, because even in dark times there can be peace," she said.

Dick and Melodie Tunney in concert

When: Friday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

Tickets: $7 in advance and $10 at the door; available at Cedar Ridge Ministries in Williamsport and area Christian bookstores

For information: call Cedar Ridge at 301-582-0282

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