Darlene Zschech: Here I Am, Send Me

More than just words, melody, accompaniment, and arrangement, music connects us to something bigger than ourselves. In a world that seems to celebrate shameless imitation, there are a finite number of artists who define iconic – without ever trying. From “Shout To The Lord” to “Victor’s Crown”, Darlene Zscech has relentlessly led us deeper into the heart of worship. Declaring “Here I Am, Send Me”, Darlene once again leads us to the holiest of holies.

In the first line of the opening track “You Are Great” Darlene gently sings “Here I am safe in the arms of my Savior.” Perhaps what endears people most to Darls is her ability to help us find the words we wish we knew how to say to God. And isn’t that what a worship leader is supposed to do – lead us deeper into worship? Part of what makes Darlene such a gifted worship leader is her reliance on the Holy Spirit over her superstar talent. That said, Darlene’s ability to craft an arrangement is second to none. Every time she got to the bridge in “You Are Great” as I was writing this review I could barely resist the urge to push back the mouse and keyboard and start worshipping. The arrangement weaves the bridge back in as a tag at the end of the song, making for an equally moving finale. If this one doesn’t get your congregation up and out of the pews, nothing will.

The title track does a great job of walking that tightrope between style and familiarity. As she does throughout the disc, Darlene really delivers the goods on this one. Those of us who’ve recorded our worship services will truly appreciate the skill that went into these live recordings, “Here I Am, Send Me” being no exception. Part of what makes this track so immersive is that it captures Darlene leading worship. Her ability to deliver every word like she means it is uncanny – because she does.

The album features songs Darlene co-wrote with Martin Smith, Paul Baloche, Jenn Johnson, and Leeland Mooring, yet the tracks never feel like they were penned with the intention of how well they would chart. Part of what makes this record so authentic is that songs like “You Are Great” were written while Darlene was battling cancer. Officially cancer-free, Darlene recorded this live disc at Hope Unlimited Church where she and her husband Mark serve as the senior pastors. Several songs are co-written and led by members of the Hope UC worship team. The musing “Love And Wonder” is one of my favorite tracks from the record and it is led by Darlene’s daughter Zoe, who not surprisingly has a gorgeous – and wonderfully unique voice.

In addition to great worship songs, musos will appreciate Darlene’s outstanding vocal performances. Be it tone, pitch, vibrato, or soaring melodies that just won’t quit, Darlene sings every note like she means it – because she does.

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