When Kindred Spirits Collaborate

A Guest Post

by Melissa Beahm 

Melissa and Larry Beahm when I first met them
Melissa and Larry Beahm of One More Time 

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up…
A cord of three stands is not quickly broken.
–Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10, 12 

35-Day Author Blog Challenge – Day 32, Ultra / Ultimate Blog Challenge

I tried to determine when this collaboration began.  I think it was MUCH longer ago than either Amy or I knew.  We grew up in the same small town in NW Pennsylvania.  She’s about three years older than me.  We knew of each other’s families, but we didn’t know each other.  Jump forward about forty years…

In May, 2015, I felt that strong gut feeling that I get when I’m being given a mission from God.  I didn’t know exactly what would be required of me, but I knew I was to help Amy in some way. 

We were “friends” on Facebook, but at that point, we were more like acquaintances.

We planned our first meet and greet for June 9, 2015 at the local dinor (yes – that’s how they spell it there!).  I’m pretty sure she was nervous about it.  I was, too, so I did what I do – I prayed for guidance and comfort for both of us, knowing God would see us through.

So we met and talked. Since I do the bookings for our duo, “One More Time,” I felt the best use of my time in helping her would be to line up some paid speaking engagements for her.  She needed money to get her book, Mobility Matters, recorded onto audio so even more people could benefit and learn from it. She also suggested that we write a song about the blindness journey, focusing on the red and white cane she uses to seek out obstacles before they’re in her way.  Before I left that day, she gave me an autographed copy of Mobility Matters, stating that we were kindred spirits.

Fast forward through several email, Facebook and phone exchanges to our second hometown visit this  past August.  I’d lined up some speaking engagements for her, and found an RV life-hack that would help her not hit her head on the cupboard door. But I still had little to no ideas about the song.  So, we talked and I read her blogs and got to know more about the challenges she and other vision-impaired folks face daily.

One of those challenges  struck me: when people see her with her cane, they often don’t know how to respond. Everyone is awkward.  While Amy tries to put folks at ease, initially it’s hard to do since she often struggles to see them well and has trouble hearing, too.

The idea came to me–let’s explain in the song that not everyone who uses the cane is completely blind AND what the cane does for her.

Amy thought it would be a great tool to use with children and suggested we release the song to coincide with National Cane Safety Day in October.  She planned to speak at some local primary schools in her area.  I agreed it would be a fantastic way to educate little kids about canes.

So we all got to work.

There were many variations of words and a few different melodies going around in my head. I kept working on it.

Henry is smiling while sleeping, while listening to Mom sing.
Henry is smiling while sleeping, listening to Mom sing!

After a couple of weeks, I sent Amy a copy of what I had written–and she loved it! She really wanted the notion of varying degrees of blindness in the song.  Sometimes Larry and I thought the word “degree” would be too hard for a child to understand. However, listening to KLOV Christian radio on our last trip, I was given assurance it would be okay.

Putting the lyrics and message together
Composing the lyrics and clarifying the message

Larry listened to me sing the lyrics several times.  We established the meter and key and he decided on a Bo Diddley-esque rhythm.  While visiting our friends in Nashville, participating in their bi-monthly Garage Band rehearsal, we brought the song out to run past them.  Jeff Williams, the drummer and long-time Army buddy friend of Larry’s, played around with it and headed Larry in a good direction for the drums you’ll hear.

The computer screen is the song
The computer screen is the song in music-speak

Larry works all the musical magic out on his keyboard synthesizer: drums, bass, piano, etc.  However, he recorded the guitar tracks live with my guitar.  We redid the vocals so many times!  It never sounded right to us until today.  I prayed and trusted God to make it happen.

So, I relaxed and sang and, of course, it worked! 

Larry works his magic with the synthesizer
One of those fancy microphones professional singers use! 

Amy’s addendum: When we obeyed God, He brought us–the physical notes–and the musical notes together to accomplish His goals.

Reflect  on a project you’ve collaborated on. How well did the pieces fall into place? Did you meet your target deadline? How did you feel about the finished project? 

You have just read “Collaboration by Kindred Spirits” by guest writer, Melissa Beahm. Copyright October 14, 2015. #OneMoreTime 

Tomorrow we’ll have the lyrics … and ta-da! The SONG! Check back!!!! 

When Kindred Spirits Collaborate
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