Spreading the Good Word through music

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 By Chris McCarthy/Publisher

If we all have a song in our hearts, Dee Downey Pruett’s most vital organ is bursting at the seams with music. 

The Attalla resident is the founder and operator of the Singing Bible Drill series, which creates musical Bible memory programs and other Christian-based music for children and young adults.

Originally a series of three CDs, Singing Bible Drill has been available online for the past year at SingingBibleDrill.com and YouthBibleDrill.com, where users may download Downey’s music at no charge. Also available for free downloads are videos and Bible verse bookmarks.

The phrase, “Everyone is a winner, even a beginner, when you’re learning about the Bible” greets visitors on the website’s home page, and Downey notes that setting Bible verses to music is one of the best ways to remember God’s Word. 

“The Bible Drills have been around for a while, and we decided to set them to music,” said Pruett, who started teaching the Bible Drill at Ivalee Baptist Church in 2001. “Kathy Allen got it started at our church, and Peggy Cole is the Etowah Baptist Association’s Bible Drill director. There’s three cycles of verses, and I got involved to help my son when he was old enough. It made 3,000 CDs over the years, and sold some but gave a lot away. The Bible Drills really do serve as an effective tool for gaining Bible memory and skills. For example, a child who is in Bible Drill for three years will learn 75 verses and 30 key passages. It’s just a great way to get the message of Christ out.”

Pruett’s Singing Bible Drills series and the website falls under S.H.O.U.T Ministries, which stands for Saved by Grace (Eph. 2:8, 9), Holy Spirit Filled (Luke 11:13), Obedient to God (John 14:15), United for Souls (Proverbs 11:30) and Tough for Jesus (Eph. 6:10,11).

Bible Drill songs include Psalm 54:2, “Do Lord;” Micah 6:8, “This Little Light;” Matthew 21:22, “Joshua Fought;” Luke 6:31, “Rise and Shine;” Psalm 118:24, “Morning has Broken;” Ephesians 4:32, “Michael Row;” and Romans 8:28, “Jesus Loves Me.”

“We want anyone interested to memorize Bible verses through music,” said Pruett. “I really have a lot of fun making music fit a Bible verse. There are a lot times when I know that it is God who is making the music and verses work together. God has blessed me with this idea because it’s music, and music really does soothe the soul.” 

Through her guitar playing, Pruett has set many Bible verses to well-known hymns, children’s songs and even theme songs from old television series.

For instance, Pruett plays a medley of “Amazing Grace” that features the melodies from “House of the Rising Sun,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Joy to the World,” Peaceful Easy Feeling” and the old Coca-Cola sing-a-long, “It’s the Real Thing.” 

Pruett also set Doby Gray’s “Lean on Me” to Joshua 1:9. 

Speading the Good Word – page 5A

When she’s not creating and recording her music, Pruett works at the Etowah County Board of Education’s Supportive Educational Environment (S.E.E) program, where she teaches expecting and parenting teens. The program is funded in part by the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, which helps prevent child abuse and neglect. 

“I call their children my ‘grand-students and take lots of pictures with them,” Pruett pointed out with a smile. 

Pruett also spends four nights a week at the Etowah County Detention Center helping men and women inmates obtain their G.E.D. through Gadsden State Community College’s Adult Education program.

“God has blessed me with two very unique jobs,” she said. “Years ago my friend wrote a poem about busy blessings, and I think that really applies to me! “

Pruett said that in addition to their regular schoolwork, her S.E.E. students hear motivational speakers and learn parenting skills.

“When the girls first come into my classroom, I tell them that they’ve already made two important decisions – they chose to give their child life and they chose to continue their education,” she said. “I just found out today that two of my senior girls received Pell Grants and will attend Gadsden State,” she said. “They are the first in their families to go to college, so it’s a very rewarding thing to see. This is my 16th year teaching in the program, and I’ve received just as much as I given.”

Melba Stafford, Pruett’s former Vacation Bible School teacher at East Gadsden Baptist Church, helped develop her musical bent at an early age.

“We used to stand around her playing the piano and singing the Bible Song,” said Pruett. “She was a real inspiration who planted the seed in me for loving music and learning the Bible. When my son Josh was learning the Bible drill, I just added to what she started.”

Although she admits that creating and producing the music is very time-consuming, Pruett considers it a labor of love. Her collaborators in the creation and production of Singing Bible Verses include husband Roy and son Josh, uncle Ron Downey, Jim Davidson, Rob Bradley, Nori and Barbie Kelley, Paul Harbison, Todd Brothers and additional volunteer talent. The music is recorded at Ron Downey’s home studio in Attalla. 

LaQuentin “Tre’” Ragland produced the new S.H.O.U.T Ministries videos “Am I Alone” based on Joshua 1:9, “Steps to Salvation” from the Letter to the Romans, “Everyone Is a Winner – the Books of the Bible” and “The Armor of God March” from Ephesians 6:10-20.

“Most of the recording is done during the summer, and the production part is done in the fall,” said Pruett. “I just know I love music and the kids do, too. It’s great for memorization, but it’s also fun to see the kids move with the music!

“Other area churches are more then welcome to put our link on their website,” she added. “Anything we can do to get God’s Word out is awesome.” 

For more information about Singing Bible Drills or to obtain free music or video downloads, visit singingbibledrill.com and youthbibledrill.com. To contact Dee Downey Pruett directly, e-mail deedowneypruett@gmail.com, deedpruett@hotmail.com or call 256-490-35-35. 

“I would like to thank God for His blessings and allowing me to work, learn, teach and have fun with the Singing Bible Drill ideas,” said Pruett. “I also want to thank my family and friends for love, encouragement and support.” 

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