Songwriter

From the Profane to the Sublime

Aussie Auspices

Not only Australia, but the whole world would become a better place in 1966, when Darlene came into it.1 By the time she was 10 she was already belting out the tunes, and 'hoofing it' on Australian Television's Happy Go Round. And, as an adolescent she was in several Christian groups in Brisbane, AU. She had eight years of formal vocal and nine of dance instruction.

Jingles to Jubilee

She married Mark Zschech1 while a young woman in her twenties, having their first child in 1989, daughter Amy Jaye, followed by another girl, Chloe Jaz four years later. She then was active writing and singing tunes for Australian commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Coca Cola, and McDonald's, all the while active in her church and doing backup for many . Furthermore, she set up the vocal ensemble for the acclaimed 1994 Australian tours of Barry Manilow and Michael Bolton.

Queen of the Hill

By the time the nineties rolled around, Darlene's increasing role in her Gospel music ministry was so involved that it became the full-time effort, leaving the jingle writing to someone else. Her church, Hills Christian Life Centre, (HCLC), a congregation that has grown to more than six thousand members, now employs her as Worship Director, assisted by her husband. The spirit of freedom and openness that characterizes the Australian attitude has been the vehicle for the Holy Spirit to flow freely where He has been invited and feels so welcome. In this setting, also known as Hillsong Church in Sidney, she teaches others, as well as runs the Youth Alive in New South Wales. This worship team, and the key word here is team (there is no 'I' in this word for cooperative group) includes songwriter and music pastor Russel Frager, who had almost given up on music almost a dozen years ago. Though when "anointed" she is right up front belting out awesome music unto the Lord, she feels just as comfortable being back with the group of singers, not wanting to be vainglorious in any way. She is Executive Director of Mercy Ministries Australia. They minister with a place to stay for women of all ages, including adolescents, undergoing various problems that include anorexia and bulimia, drug dependence, and assorted mental and emotional problems, especially family and physical abuse related.

Only Jesus is the Superstar

Darlene is also Associate Director of HCLC's yearly Hillsongs Conference, that has hosted since 1986 an interdenominational leadership conference that has seen attendees from thirty other countries besides Australia. It had more than eight thousand participating in 1998. They get a full house of 2800 at the Sidney Opera House at all three evening sessions of their conference when held there. But, she agrees with Brian Houston, the Senior Pastor and his statement that they are not trying to build a super-church, (even though they have a new auditorium) but emphasize the true Christian fellowship that starts at the local church:

I think the local church is actually God's answer-it is the body working together to bring the hope of Christ to the world, I think people are going back to the church as a lighthouse.

On the Wings of a Dove

She has written many wonderful inspiring songs, but, most successful is her notable piece --that starts out with a quiet prayer-like attitude, and ends with triumphant volume--

"Shout to the Lord":

My Jesus, my Savior,
Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days-
I want to praise-
the wonders of Your mighty love.

My Comfort, my Shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath,
all that I am-
never cease to worship You.

(Chorus)

Shout to the Lord,
all the earth,
let us sing-
power and majesty,
praise to the King;
Mountains bow down-
and the seas will roar
at the sound of Your Name.

I sing for joy
at the work of Your hands-
forever I'll love You,
forever I'll stand,
nothing compares
to the promise
I have in You.

As well as the 1996 album, Shout to the Lord, and a Hosanna! project, this was also recorded live in Shout to the Lord 2000 at one of the HCLC leadership meetings. The song has quickly become a favorite with worship services of all denominational stripes.

Songlist:

1. Let the Peace of God Reign
2. I Believe the Presence
3. People Just Like Us
4. Jesus, Jesus
5. I Will Never Be
6. Jesus, Lover of My Soul
7. Show Me Your Ways
8. All the Power You Need
9. Power of Your Love
10. This Kingdom
11. Father of Creation
12. Shout to the Lord

She has a notebook with her everywhere. Not a notebook computer, but a pencil and paper. It was one those days not too many years ago where, after a stressful time, she felt led to go into a room, and with Psalm 96 opened before her "Shout to the Lord" was created. The album of the same name was number one in the worship category for more than seven months, and was number ten almost two years later.

Temporal Recognition is Nice, But Eternal Awards Will Be Forever

Hillsongs has put out a dozen recordings, which, of course, she has participated; she appears on Hosanna! Music collections, and with the double CD compilation, Shout to the Lord -- The Platinum Collection she has sold in the United States well over two million. 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 Dove Award nominations include a combination of best album, songwriting and song of the year. In addition to the aforementioned, she had another album in 1997 entitled I Believe the Promise, and in 2000, For this Cause, and her latest is The Power of Your Love Symphony: Live in Australia. Even though Geoff Bullock wrote the words and music to "Power of Your Love" around 1992, also on their first album, Darlene and the Hillsong singers bring a real charismatic power to it in the live version.

  1.
Lord, I come to You,
let my heart be changed, renewed,
flowing from the grace
that I've found in You;
And Lord, I've come to know
the weaknesses I see in me
will be stripped away
by the pow'r of Your love.

(Chorus)

Hold me close, let Your love surround me,
bring me near,
draw me to your side,
And as I wait
I'll rise up like the eagle,
and I will soar with You,
Your Spirit leads me on
in the pow'r of Your love.

  2.

Lord, unveil my eyes
let me see You, face to face,
the knowledge of Your love,
as You live in me;
And Lord, renew my mind,
as Your unfolds in my life,
in living every day
by the pow'r of Your love.

(Chorus)

Songlist--
The Power of Your Love Symphony: Live in Australia

1. One Day
2. Faith
3. Awesome in This Place
4. Dwell in Your House
5. You Are Never
6. I Simply Live for You
7. Carry Me
8. Lifted Me High Again
9. Here to Eternity
10. For This Cause
11. Reaching for You
12. It Is You
13. Believe
14. Everyday

She did receive a Gospel Music Association's "International Award," and "Shout to the Lord" is certified gold. Not only is she heard in recordings worldwide, her two solo albums also a hit in Japan, Spain and Germany, she has traveled around this globe in concerts, that include the festivals at Blackstrup, Flevo, DeBron and Greenbelt. How blessed we are at her continued work. Integrity Label Group's Dan McGuffey, on the other side of the planet notes:

This is not entertainment to her. She is very serious about her commitment to the Lord in this respect. It's refreshing to work with such a godly woman, and it's evident that God is using her powerfully across denominational and cultural lines. From an industry perspective, I've personally never seen a phenomenon quite like Hillsong Music Australia...


1 Information on Darlene's family is sketchy, one very possible reason is she does not want to draw undue attention to herself, as she is not proud, but boasts only in the Lord. It is possible that Zschech is her maiden name and not that of the husband, therefore, his last name may be different. If anyone has an update please message me.


Source:

todayschristianmusic.com/Profile-DarleneZschech.htm
"A Shout Down Under" (Parts One and Two), Paul Gallagher, Charisma magazine; 1999
Integrity Music online
Darlene Zschech's website
All Music Guide

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.