Dick and Melodie Tunney
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2009)|
Dick and Melodie Tunney are a husband-and-wife duo who have written and performed with many contemporary Christian artists. They have written songs for Sandi Patti, Larnelle Harris and other Christian artists.
Their story together begins in the late 1970s in the Christian group TRUTH. Mel was raised in a minister of music's home in Texas, and Dick came from a working family in Ohio. Both were accomplished musicians at an early age. The intersection of TRUTH brought the two together and after 18 months of constant touring, Dick responded to a call from the award-winning group the Imperials. Six months later the couple married and settled in Nashville, Tennessee. The decade of the 1980s found Dick and Mel growing in the areas of songwriting and studio work, and soon they were immersed in Nashville's creative community. Recording session work quickly engaged Mel with fellow studio singers Bonnie Keen and Marty McCall and the studio vocal group First Call was born. At the beginning of 1986, Christian artist Sandi Patty called and hired Dick as musical director and pianist, and First Call as her backup group. The "Let There Be Praise Tour" covered 150 cities in 18 months and launched First Call on to a concert ministry of their own while Dick remained on tour with Sandi.
The births of two daughters over a 15-month period of separate touring brought the Tunneys to a crossroads. After several months of prayer and pastoral counsel, Dick and Mel chose to prioritize their marriage and their growing young family by returning home from touring. The season was to be short-lived. Within a year God had other plans for the talented couple. Their first joint recording project, Let the Dreamers Dream, was released by Warner Alliance in 1991. Soon the couple found themselves traveling nearly every weekend to local churches across America, sharing a collection of Tunney songs that were designed to encourage, challenge and stretch believers. All told, Dick and Mel spent a dozen years traveling to more than 400 churches nationwide.
As their daughters grew into their high school years, the Tunneys once again felt the pull towards family and began to ask God to allow them more time at home. The Father heard the prayer and answered by plugging Dick and Mel into their local church's worship ministry and by expanding Dick's studio role as producer–arranger. Mel continued to be a top-notch session singer in Nashville, and Dick found himself recording and conducting esteemed ensembles like the London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Irish Film Orchestra and the City of Prague Philharmonic.
As 2006 dawned, yet another chapter began to unfold in the lives of the Tunneys. A call from First Baptist Church of Columbia, Tennessee came inviting Dick and Mel to lead the worship ministry of this growing congregation, first on an interim basis and then as worship leaders–artists in residence. Soon thereafter, Steve Green Ministries invited Dick to tour with the veteran Christian artist as pianist and musical director. With flexibility to continue traveling and ministering in local churches as well as the privilege of leading a congregation in worship on a consistent basis, Dick and Mel continued on their journey of faith.
The Tunneys' musical offerings have been honored with ten Dove Awards (the Gospel Music Association's highest honor), nearly 30 Dove nominations, a song of theirs won a prestigious Grammy Award (“How Excellent Is Thy Name”, recorded by Larnelle Harris), their songs have appeared in print music and church hymnals, and Dick and Mel have shared the platform with some of Christian music's most significant artists. As well, they have participated in literally hundreds of recording projects as studio vocalist, keyboard player, arranger(s) and producer. They have recorded eight projects together, and Dick has (with Mel's assistance) recorded five solo instrumental projects. The couple has penned more than 150 songs, many of which have been recorded by other Christian artists.
The Tunneys have two daughters, Whitney and Kelsey. In 2008 the Tunneys celebrated not only 28 years of marriage, but also the marriage of their older daughter, Whitney, to Shawn Newby. Both are graduates of the Moody Bible Institute. And, in the summer of 2009, Kelsey will exchange vows with her current fiancé, Zach Bohler, who like Kelsey is a Wheaton College graduate.