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Many people ask what was the beginning of DEOrecordings… It is difficult to express now what we experienced so many years ago, starting in the seventies. A lot has changed since then and many obstacles that seemed impossible to overcome now can be dealt with in no time. Such reminiscences are also very subjective, we become heroes, which is not true. We know one thing for sure – God had his hand in it. Sometimes he was so real and close that we could almost touch Him. Let this story be yet another testimony that He is alive and active, even in the beginning of the 21st century. His sense of humor is peculiar – he decided to cooperate with us, no one brilliant nor outstanding, even in the Polish context.
In 1973, I studied at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice. During my vacations in Sweden, I met by chance an American student, who invited me to visit him the following year in the States. When he found out I had no money (where should I have had it from?), he said he had enough and would take care of the money, I just need to get to the US… My father, a professor at the university, decided to give his several monthly salaries (back then students usually did not work) to pay for my flight ticket. I used the Polish LOT airlines that started to fly to the USA at that time. I was waiting in long lines to apply for a passport (36 hours in one piece), did not know if I would get it or just find myself on the applicant’s list, then long lines to receive the passport (only 8 hours), I was really stressed. But I got it! What about the visa? I had to go to Warsaw. Over 100 people were standing in the line, only 3(!) got it, including me :). It was a miracle! I got to the States and I was shocked. It was a completely different world: people were smiling on the streets, I had new amazing Christian friends – they were young, in love with music that was not acceptable in our serious Polish Christianity. All of it made a huge impression on me. I saw a huge contrast. One month earlier, by chance I flew as a glider pilot past the eastern border of Poland and landed in a small village in the Soviet Union. It was in the seventies.
Let’s go back to the US. In 77 days, I visited 40 states, met a lot of amazing people, for example Jon Stemkoski, co-founder of Continental Singers (he conducted at the age 21!), and later Celebrant Singers. He took me to one of their concerts. To me it seemed like the most beautiful, inspiring thing in the world. They played the musical “The Apostle” about the life of Paul the Apostle. They did five encores – I was clapping the hardest to make the concert at least a little longer… In another American home, I used for the first time stereophonic headphones. I listened to the recording of the concert of The Gaither trio that was popular at that time. To the surprise of my hosts, I did not join them for the festive dinner as I could not stop this amazing phenomenon… It is no surprise that I came back home with a strong resolution to start making music in a new way, treating music as a way to express my inner faith and testimony, as an opportunity to reach new people with the Gospel. When I was a child, I used to take violin classes, later on I started to play guitar and after that the French horn. But it was not that easy. I had to face harsh reality: the Christian youth group that I was involved in experienced a deep crisis. With my brother and sister, we started to sing in a family trio with guitar, but we felt like it is was not enough...
Janina, Adam, Henryk Król
Adam, my brother, is a way better musician than me. He was often asked by various bands to write arrangements or to write the notes.
One of the bands from Wisla was especially dear to us. They had in their band 2 trumpets, a trombone, an electric guitar, a bass guitar and an accordion! Dreaming of singing the famous back then Gaithor’s song “The King is Coming”, we could not imagine playing it without the brass at the end. We met in Wisla to practice it briefly and record a CD straight away.
Usually, our dreams outrun reality. During 15 years of ministry of DEOdecyma band (we chose this name for us very soon, it means “Ten for God”), we did not record any disc. Our first concert was a music horror. It took place in Miechowice in spring 1975. I still remember it. The band was not complete (one of our friends, Tadzio, got poisoned when he was welding with gas), one of the girls and I had a cold and could not give a sound, we did not practice enough (luckily we did not know that), the temperature oscillated around zero Celsius, we were singing for the first time with PA system (that is with Regent).
The first DEOdecyma members (from the left): Rudolf Kędzior, Stanisław Malina, Janina Król, Jan Cieślar, Tadeusz Pilch, Maria Cieślar, Stanislaw Cieślar, Irena Pilch, Jan Procner, Adam Król.
But the reception was fabulous. It was a pure novelty. And when the trumpets sounded in the finale: "The King is Coming"- all of us standing in the front experienced it as a voice from heaven... Piercing quiver...
In the “studio” at Spacerowa in Wisla (from the left): Henryk Wojnar, Andrzej Janaszak, Maria Cieślar, Janina Król, Beata Walek, Rhonda Król, Stanisław Cieślar, Jan Cieślar, Ryszard Pieszka, Adam Król, Henryk Król.
One of the first concerts (from the left): Adam Król, Stanisław Cieślar, Henryk Wojnar, Henryk Król, Beata Walek, Rhonda Król, Janina Król, Maria Cieślar.
DEOdecyma was active for 15 years. You can still listen to our archive records at http://deodecyma.ccm.pl/. Looking back, we were musically very bad, but God was at work and during many small and big concerts, we have seen His hands at work. We always had with us some books and Bibles for sale, it made our concerts even more attractive. After concerts, many people wanted to give their lives to Jesus, that is why we started a biblical correspondence course. It included 21 lessons that we typed at a typewriter through carbon paper. Over 1000 people took part in the course, many Christian groups came to life. But it was not our success. We were just a small part of God’s amazing plan and as we know, many different stimuli, people, books, films lead us to the most important decision in our lives. Very often we just reaped the harvest. We met many amazing godly enthusiasts and many of these friendships last till now.
In 1976, DEOdecyma was recorded for the first time, when a radioman from TWR visited us with a small UHER and one microphone. For three days, we were fighting with technology and our own weaknesses in a chapel in Wisla Czarne. To make a long story short, for us, young enthusiasts, who were convinced of their greatness and uniqueness, making a record was a very humiliating experience. The first session shows you that you are not the best in the world… But you can always blame poor equipment, temporary indisposition or bad qualifications of the person recording. Later on, we were waiting for the “mixed” version with added echo effect – we expected a miracle. This first cassette “Deodecyma1” was very popular! It was probably one of the first of that kind in Poland. It brought a certain novelty – rich instrumental part, new songs, but also a bit of a scandal - “modern” music in the church!
Our only problem was very typical for the whole Polish economy at that time – an excess of demand over supply. The only cassette recorders (Grundig) were hardly available, and tapes of better quality almost didn’t exist! At one time, we got a deal on several hundred 60-minute BASF cassettes, sometimes our foreign friends would bring some. Copying was done at home- on a little stereophonic "Wollensak" copier in the bedroom - each side of the tape separately. Better not to mention the quality of these cassettes, but the times were different. I got hooked on recording. More and more people asked us for new programs. The next tape was produced in our "rehearsal basement". This time we did it by ourselves.
Jan Cieślar our audio man
We purchased a tape recorder ZK-140, which had one channel that would function from time to time, we had a 4-channel Regent amplifier, 2 Shure mics, headphones and... a blanket for the head of our "sound engineer"- a friend who worked as an electrician. In the meantime, we received Shure Vocal Master sound system from the friend from the USA, the one who invited me to visit him back in 1973. It opened for us a new era. These experiences showed us clearly that we need to separate acoustically the room where we play from the room with recorders to know what we actually record. Our hosts agreed to park their car (that was always being renovated) outside and let us use their garage. We knocked out a hole in the wall for a window, put up sound-absorbent systems, painted it – and the effect was impressive! Gradually, we got more and more gear: a "professional" echo- AKG spring, 3-headed cassette recorder, Revox recorders, monitors (Quad 405), MM mixing table (modified by our close friend from Gliwice).
The first "studio" at Spacerowa
Yet we were aware that in our basement, for purely physical reasons, recordings will never be good enough…
Two members of our band (a married couple) planned with their parents to build a house in a beautiful part of Wisla, on their family property. We agreed together that we will make a real recording studio in their house.
The members of our band had various professions: an architect, construction engineer, carpenter, plumber, mechanic and electrician. We were almost self-sufficient. We did not have money, but we assumed that just as Polish families build their houses without any money, we can build the whole studio the same way. What a blissful ignorance!
There was one more thing. We knew we were not able to buy professional equipment for our studio ourselves. We really expected a gift from God so we wanted to give first everything that we could offer: our strength, savings and enthusiasm. If you care, you show it in practical ways.
During the work at the construction site that was located high in the mountains, our poor physical fitness was exposed. Our host would usually come and do more in an hour than we did during the entire day digging
A huge whole high in the mountains attracted some attention. People in Wisla started to talk that we were building a church.
First stab at building the studio
Soon enough, the authorities brought the construction works to a halt… Our vision died – this crisis showed us that it is not our ambition or efforts that will make the studio reality. If it was ever to be built, it would be all by God’s grace.
The time in the eighties was not particularly easy in Poland. After the first strikes in Poland, there came the time of martial law with the limitations it forced upon us. We started to try to make our initiative legal. We needed help from people who were respected also by the state officials. And we experienced an unexpected problem: many people that we counted on were not brave enough to support our applications to the department of religion even though they supported us orally. The topic was very unpopular and considered by some politically dangerous… All the more we are forever thankful to Rev. Prof. Witold Benedyktowicz, the head of Evangelical-Methodist Church in Poland, Rev. Bishop Zdzisław Tranda, the head of Polish Reformed Church and Rev. Superintendent Adam Kuczma from the Evangelical-Methodist Church. Even though we were not members of their churches, they always supported us, helped us and saved us from difficult, sometimes ambiguous situations… I would like to mention also great help of Rev. Andrzej Komraus, pastor of Evangelical-Methodist in Gliwice, who for years supported us selflessly..
The construction was closed till 1984 by construction and political authorities. In 1984, we started working on it again and experienced a miracle: two American foundations were interested in our project and decided to equip our studio! We invited western audio specialists for consultations, for example the famous Rupert Neve, as well as specialists who helped us in other areas, like air-conditioning. As a result, we got floating floor, soundproof panels on the ceiling, angled walls, wiring (dozens of kilometers of wires), backup power supply (electric generator). We were ahead of our times!
Many friends, volunteers helped us, around hundred people :) Entire youth groups were coming. We were working Thursday through Saturday, 12 hours a day, or more. We spent the money only to buy the materials. We had also two experienced bricklayers and one carpenter.
During the construction
The atmosphere at the construction site was amazing. I think that no one who took part in this project will ever forget that time. Those, who were not yet born at that time or were not close enough, can only regret it. In the only two rooms that were finished, the kitchen and one room, we ate, slept, talked and prayed.
A meal together with our hosts
Our hosts, did not only accept us, but also helped us, completely selflessly! Later on, amazing people from the Netherlands joined our team. They were specialists in interior design and decoration.
They started to unpack their Mercedes which was full with equipment that we saw for the first time in our lives: tools with accumulator, pneumatic drill, special screws, and so on. At that moment anything seemed possible! Today most of these tools are widely available in Poland, but people do not know how to use them properly…
We set the date for our opening day. In the last days before the opening we hung linen wallpaper from the Netherlands, covered floors with materials from England. But it did not go smoothly either! On the day of the grand opening, there came VIPs - sponsors, everyone who helped to build it, our close friends.
With famous Rupert Neve, world-class expert in studio techniques and with the Pro-Audio Electronics team
WOW! The mixing room is ready
And the studio
I will never forget that day. In the morning, I took our special guests on a trip around Wisla with our brand new Nissan Patrol. Suddenly, there came a storm with a terrible downpour. We were at that time in the narrow valley of Czarna Wiselka river, among picturesque rocks, with lightnings, heavy rain, fast-flowing stream and waterfalls around us. It looked like a setting of a good horror. Meanwhile in the studio, people were working on the details. The water started to gather at the doorstep to the studio. It could flow inside covering our English floor… The gentlemen who arrived earlier took off their jackets and using buckets and shovels managed to get the water under control. The wiring of the studio took many weeks and thousands of meters of wires, thousands of solders. Mr. and Mrs. Szeptyccy from Gliwice and Andrzej Prugar from Pro-Audio Electronics company did it for us for free. When we realized we do not manage to lay all wires on time, we had to be creative to hear at least some sounds from the speakers. Our guests did not notice a thing and we were literally shocked when we saw the new interiors...
DEOdecyma band was the first one to record in the new studio that was built. Keith Gunn from BBC was our audio engineer.
The team (from the left): Henryk Król, Ryszard Pieszka, Stanisław Cieślar, Lidia Miksa, Maria Cieślar.
And then everything started. Texas Swing Band from USA, Universe with their carols (more than 200 thousand cassettes were sold, unfortunately pirate copies). The first sessions stay in our memories longest. We recorded with Universe in the end of fall, our director and producer was Piotr Prońko. One day at about 2 am, we opened the door of the studio and realized that rain turned to snow and our mountain became one big ice rink. Literally, we could not make even a step, only on all fours. Somehow, we managed to get to Piotr’s car, his Mercedes, but we did not know how to drive down. With fear and passionate prayer, we started to slide from one snow bank to another… But as we somehow managed to stop the car before the steepest slope, without uttering a single word, we both agreed to stop this madness and walk back to the studio. On the next day, out host, who was an experienced forester, felled a tree, chained it to the car, we sat on the tree and slid down the hill… PHEW!
There is no use in describing all recording sessions, although some created unforgettable atmosphere in the studio and real worship of God. Andrzej Gąsiorowski, musician, initiated some recording sessions, he organized, produced and recorded them. He invited mostly professional musicians from the area near Wroclaw and together with them something new and beautiful was created in the studio. These sessions took sometimes more than 24 hours, with some breaks to eat spectacular dinners, that were prepared upstairs…
In the beginning, I was the engineer, but Andrzej Prugar, with his great experience and output, supported me at that time.
Later on, Paul Griffith from Florida joined our team, but after spending a couple of years with us and marrying one of our colleagues, he returned to the States.
More people joined us later on, and have stayed with us until now, but it is not history… We do our best to make our clients feel well in our studio, we strive for perfection, care and reliability.
In the studio we record commercially for other publishers, too. We had the honor of welcoming in our studio many famous musicians from Poland and abroad, for example Paul Westwood, Barry de Souza, Nanette Wellmans, Janina Sojka, Kwartet Śląski, Krywań band, Tomasz Stańko, Universe, Illusion, Acid Drinkers, the Blenders, Flap Jack, Tomasz Żółtko, Beata Bednarz, WEST band, Józef Skrzek, Trytony band, The Enemy Within, Czarne Komety z Południa, and others. Many hits were recorded here. The studio with its commercial activity imposes some restrictions because of its character. We do not record vulgar contents; we do not promote social pathologies or religions other than Christianity. I think that our motives are clear.
Many bands and singers have Christian origins, for example the famous St. Martin in the Fields, most of black musicians and so on, the list is very long. I am convinced that orderly personal life encourages success, also in the art.
But time goes by. Our recording studio, copying cassettes (we have made more than 1 million copies), distribution of Christian CDs and movies, have become regular commercial business.
In 2014 our studio has been extensively renovated. This is what it looks like now:
The mixing room after renovations
The recording room
Our clear goal has always been to reach contemporary people with the message of the Gospel that Jesus lives, He loves them and can “fix” their lives! Well, Christian music and printed materials usually reach people who already know the Gospel… That is why we were looking for a way to reach ordinary people.
A lot of friends convinced us, enthusiasts of contemporary Christian music (CCM), to start with the radio. It was the time, when legal structures for creating things like that, started to be created in Poland. In the meantime, there were many commercial radio stations without clear legislation… But we have always wanted to be transparent…
In 1995, we decided to apply for a radio license.
A new chapter has begun with creating and building the radio. It is a whole new story… We partnered with HCJB (now called Reach Beyond) from the US. We had amazing people and suffered tragic lack of resources. The first radio station was created in Oswiecim in 1997. Our budget deficit was growing, we were pushing forward and opened other transmitters (now there are 6 of them). The financial pressure for the entire DEOrecording Association was huge and debts were still growing… We had great Christian broadcasts, great music, but very few people wanted to listen to it. In 2007, Krzysztof Budzisz, who has been in charge at that time, presented an alternative – radical transformation of the radio. Instead of trying to support the Christian radio, we wanted to create a radio network – two radios, CCM and FEST in Silesian dialect. And it worked! We had 25 times more listeners than before. Our best result was 920,000 listeners in a week (acc. to Millward Brown, SMG/KRC). As a result, the radio is self-financing.
The strictly 'missionary' programs were broadcasted every day for about 3 hours in the evenings. The situation changed with the rapid expansion of internet communication. The increasingly widespread use of emails, then messengers, and eventually social media caused our sought-after audience to move online. Despite good listenership, the spiritual impact through radio diminished year by year. The final sale of both our radio stations occurred in 2023.
The studio of Radio CCM, from which the program was broadcasted.
The third key component of our current activities is:
A meeting with the Jesus.net team
We have always been open for innovations, modern software, online shop, back then, in 1993, in DOS, when we did not even have good Internet connection.
But it was our visit to UCB in Stoke-on-Trent in England in 2006 that has inspired us and shown us a new direction. Right there, I saw for the first time as people all over the world in real time give their lives to Jesus after learning the message of the Gospel at Jesus.net. It was like a revelation to me! We have to bring it to Poland! It works! It reaches people who are truly interested in God, automatically!
It was right after organizing two amazingly blessed Festivals of Life in Wisla (2004 and 2006). More than 50,000 people participated in the second one. We experienced incredible connection between Christians from different denominations, including Roman Catholics. It was real unity, joy and friendships. We met regularly, even after the festival. We prayed together and asked God what should be our next step… We did not want to organize festivals anymore; we were looking for something new… God’s answer? – mission online. It was a logical continuation after many years of our involvement in media. I still remember this enthusiasm, prayers and joy after introducing the topic at a prayer meeting in Wisla.
And we started! We always analyze our actions and its effects – the project grew incredibly. The cooperation with Jesus.net, we are their Polish partners, is going very well. After some time, it became clear that we can be much more involved internationally in Jesus.net. Today our online ministry has three branches:
2.Creating software for online ministry by the team of 6 people from DEOrecording studio. Our software is used all over the world.
3. Web hosting service for the entire Jesus.net.
We have more and more ideas for the future. We cooperate with many amazing people all over the world. We thank for everything the One „who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him”. We give all the glory to Jesus Christ. We are so thankful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His incredible guidance, grace to grow continually and see His hand at work in the lives of people around us.
It is an everlasting story. The life with God is fascinating, worth living and, what is probably most important, available for everyone who wants it. If this history has moved you and you would like to experience something similar (but in different form), feel invited – you can talk about it directly to Him. https://szukajacboga.pl/modlitwa/
Would you like to get involved? There is a place for you. Feel invited to join us. This story is not over yet. Contact us.
If you like what we’re up to and you’d like to join the association, let us know.Contact
Prayer is an inseparable element of conducting effective evangelism efforts. We ask for your prayers that we would reach large numbers of people.