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Spiritual journey results in CD for duo

May 02, 1999

Second ChanceBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




Making music has been a spiritual journey for Jay Healy and Mike Helm.

They met through their church three years ago, started singing together and formed a group. The pair recently released their debut compact disc, "Sacrificial Love."

The project was time-consuming and expensive, but it was worth it, according to Healy. "It moves people," he said. "I really think God had a hand in this."

The group's name, "Second Chance," is a reference to redemption. "We feel like we got a second chance," said Helm. "None of us has led a perfect life," said Healy. "God's always pursuing you, trying to find ways to bring you back."

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Healy, 33, is an Allegheny Power lineman who lives in Smithsburg. Helm, 28, is a first-grade teacher who lives in Waynesboro, Pa. Both attend Ringgold Church of Christ in Hagerstown.

They were performing separately when a friend asked if they had ever thought of playing together. When they did, the music jelled quickly, Healy said.

The duo began entertaining at church functions. In the summer of 1997, they played for a youth group each day of a week-long a retreat in Martinsburg, W. Va. The positive response became a turning point.

"That's when we started taking our music seriously," said Healy.

A friend encouraged them to record. Now a music minister in Nashville, Tenn., Keith Shimfessel lined up a backing band and worked as producer. Over a three-week period last summer, Second Chance recorded 10 songs.

There were setbacks along the way, including the daunting costs. They traveled to Chesapeake, Ohio, and Kearnesville, W.Va., to record the vocals and band as well as mix and master the songs at separate studios.

Healy and Helm estimate the final product of 1,000 discs and 500 cassettes cost about $12,000. They did side jobs, roofing and painting houses to pay for the project. Members of the church congregation also gave them donations.

Seven kids from the church sang on "Sacrificial Love," the title track. "It's something they're never going to forget," Healy said. The song was included on a compilation sent to 1,000 radio stations across the country.

The songs have Christian themes and some have specific relevance to their church. "A Little Bit of Joy," serves, in part, as a memorial to another member of the congregation.

The church was very supportive of the music, according to the singers. "It touched us," Healy said. "We thought, we can actually do something to make a difference."

Their music has been broadcast on WIKZ-Mix 95, a Chambersburg station. Second Chance has also appeared in Gospel Voice magazine, Healy said. The recording is for sale in Christian Light Bookstores in Hagerstown and Chambersburg.

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