My Tribute to Harold DeCou – Favorite Piano Arrangements by Harold DeCou

harolddecou

Mr. Harold DeCou

For years I have enjoyed playing and performing the elegantly-simple, beautiful piano-arrangements of Harold DeCou. In 2009, I decided to learn more about Mr. DeCou using online research. Unfortunately, the first thing I learned was that Mr. Harold DeCou died on December 26, 2008. The included photo is from Harold DeCou’s obituary, which is posted by the Peoria Journal Star.

Mr. DeCou was long associated with Billy Graham and other Singspiration staff. His output as artist, composer, arranger and orchestrator ensures that he will be remembered as one of the giants of Christian gospel music.

Click on the mp3 player to play
Title mp3 Audio Composer (All performances arranged by Harold DeCou) Times Performed by SMOJr.
All My Life mp3 Ralph Carmichael 4
Heaven Came Down (And Glory Filled My Soul) mp3 John W. Peterson Unknown
He Leadeth Me mp3 William B. Bradbury 4
How Rich I Am (Since Jesus Came My Way) mp3 John W. Peterson Unknown
I Am Not Worthy mp3 Beatrice Bush Bixler 3
Like A River Glorious mp3 James Mountain 4
My Jesus, I Love Thee mp3 A. J. Gordon 4
My Tribute (To God Be The Glory) mp3 Andre Crouch 4
Shepherd of Love mp3 John W. Peterson 2
There Is No Greater Love mp3 John W. Peterson 1
What A Friend mp3 Charles C. Converse 3
Why? mp3 John M. Moore 4
Wonderful, Marvelous, Yet True! mp3 Merrill Dunlop Unknown
Harold DeCou Piano Books

Harold DeCou Piano Books

As I gathered all the DeCou piano arrangements in my music library, I was not surprised to find five (5) volumes of DeCou arrangements: three (3) volumes titled: “Piano Solo Favorites” (1-3), a volume: “Piano For You,” and, a volume of Christmas arrangements that I rearranged for synthesizer as my 2013 Christmas-music project. The covers of four of these books are pictured.

Thumbing through the pages of these music books summons wonderful memories for me. My habit is to write (in pencil, of course 🙂 ) the date at the top of each piece that I perform, publicly. I found that I have performed twenty-five (25) pieces from these four volumes. And, I found that I performed most of those pieces several times – several, as many as five (5) times over a period of years.

These books appear to be out of print. If you know where these wonderful piano arrangements can be obtained, please share this information as comment/reply.

I decided to record the arrangements by Harold DeCou that I previously performed most. I will record and post additional ones in some order. I hope that you will enjoy these performances as examples of Mr. DeCou’s arranging excellence.

I sincerely hoped to meet Mr. DeCou in this life and to play keyboards with him. I regret not having been able to have done so. I am thankful for the music that this gentle man left as witness of our faith. If you know a story or anecdote about, or related to Harold DeCou, please share your observations here. This blog’s readers will appreciate your contribution to our collection of tributes.

Thank God for the life and music of Harold DeCou.

62 comments to My Tribute to Harold DeCou – Favorite Piano Arrangements by Harold DeCou

  • Mary Sires

    Hi everybody. It would be really nice if someone would play on the piano and record the song “Face to Face” by Harold DeCou. I had that book 30 yrs ago and lost it. I think it’s in volume 1. It’s one of my favorites!! Thank you.
    Mary Sires

  • Mary Sires

    Where can I get a copy or a cd of Harold Decou’s Christmas piano book, the one that had “Angels We Have Heard on High” in it?

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Mary, I am sorry that I do not know. If someone does, please post the answer here and I will email using the email address you provided. Thanks.

  • David Heesen

    I believe Young’s Music Store might be a possible source for some of Harold’s music. Google it. You can do searches at their site, specifying DeCou as arranger.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      David, I will check out Young’s Music Store as soon as I am able. Other readers may be able to precede my visit there.

      Thank you so very much for this valuable contribution on behalf of all those who have inquired about where they might/may find and order items from Harold DeCou’s catalog.

  • Gary Hostetler

    I snagged up Volumes 1-2 on eBay 2 weeks ago. August 1, 2016. I had these in high school 50 years ago but forgot to get them when I moved out. Nothing is better than his arrangement in volume 1 of There Is No Greater Love. I just played it in church today.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Gary, based on your comment, I went ahead and recorded “No Greater Love.” Like you, I love this arrangement — though, it appears that I only performed it once (June 26, 1994) unlike a lot of the DeCou arrangements that I performed as many as four times over the years. Thanks for your interest in the music of Harold DeCou.

    • Gary Hostetler

      I might add, I grew up in Canton, Ohio in a mega church called Canton Baptist Temple. I was the organist there from age 14-27. We were on TV etc.

      The choir director did music conferences for Baptist directors and we did a John W. Peterson cantata with Peterson directing. I played the organ and Harold DeCou played the piano for it. How cool is that?

      Gary

    • Michael Tomlinson

      My name is Michael Tomlinson and I am Pastor of Worship and the Arts at Kimball Church of Christ in Kimball Minnesota and I am trying to find Volume One of the Piano Solo Favorites. I particularly am interested in “No Greater Love” What A Friend We have in Jesus” and Savior Like a Shepherd Leads Us.

      Knowing that this is out of print I was wondering if you could make copies of these songs and send them to me. I will pay for any expense. My telephone number is 571-###-#### and or send to my email address. Your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Michael, I am sorry that I am unable to provide copies of works whose copyrights are still held by private persons or by publishing companies without their permission. If you were able to obtain such a blanket permission, I would, indeed, make the requested pieces available.

      Regards, Stan Owen, Jr.

  • Lynn Wheaton

    I was music director at a church in Illinois and our choir was preparing a Harold DeCou cantata. I casually mentioned to the choir how wonderful it would be to have Harold accompany his own cantata. A lady in the choir spoke to me following rehearsal and said if I could get him to come from Arizona to Illinois, she and her husband would underwrite all expenses. He was able to come for the weekend, playing some solos in the morning service, then playing the organ and accompanying the choir as we sang his Easter cantata in the evening service. I’ll never forget that experience. Harold and I were good friends until his passing! Mr. Lynn Wheaton, Ft. Myers, Florida

  • Jerry Alter

    I love Harold DeCou’s Easter Cantata “Easter Celebration”. I heard it on WCRF-FM in Cleveland in 1978 and bought it on an LP from my local Christian book store. The Euclid-Nottingham Baptist Church Chancel Choir presented this cantata on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1979. The third song in this cantata “Hosanna” sounds much like “My Irish Molly O” namely the melody, rhythm and beat. “Easter Celebration” sounds much like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”.

  • Naoko Saeki

    I am living in Japan.
    I want these piano books.
    Please tell me how to buy these music books.

    Piano Solo Favorites” (1-3), a volume: “Piano For You,” Arr. by Harold DeCou

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Naoko, the DeCou piano solo-piano volumes you mentioned are out of print. Thus far, all my attempts to find a current source for them have been unrewarded. You may wish to periodically check on eBay. I request that anyone who finds any of the DeCou solo-piano volumes for sale, to notify me through this blog and I will ensure that other readers are notified.

      Thank you for your interest.

  • I grew up listening to a lot of Harold DeCou arrangements…… In the 1970’s he came to my home church First Baptist in Pekin Illinois and preformed with our choir…..in the 1990’s I was attending Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria Illinois and had the pleasure of hearing him as our church organist. How lucky we were to have him in Peoria.. ………what memories…………….

  • Nan Josephson, Ph.d.

    I had the privilege of meeting Harold many years ago (1960s) and of playing a duet with him at a revival in Southern California. I was in my teens and thrilled beyond words to meet my mentor. (He did not know he was my mentor; I studied and mastered every arrangement I could by him.) I’m a gospel pianist who learned most of my technique and style from Harold De Cou and Rudy Atwood. These men provided us with an invaluable library of music for church organ and piano. They both are missed by all who love their arrangements for gospel piano and church organ…and most of all, they are missed because we can no longer hear them tickle the ivories once more.

  • Becky Bulla

    I have always loved Harold DeCou’s arrangements, and used to own his books. Unfortunately, in a move, they were lost. If it is ever possible to obtain any or all of these, I would love to receive that information. Many thanks! I appreciate hearing Mr. Owen playing these special arrangements.

  • Kay Mims

    If anyone has Volume 2 or Volume 3, Piano Solo Favorites by Harold De Cou or know where I could get a copy of these music books, please let me know. I would love to have them. I have Volume One and I also have one entitled Harold DeCou Piano Solos. I love playing his music at church. I would also like a copy of Piano for You.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      We will continue to act as a clearinghouse for information about the no-longer-in-print DeCou Piano Solo Series. Thanks for sharing your interest in these volumes.

  • Tammy Arbogast

    Stan, You may be able to obtain the Decou books- arrangements etc.

    You may want to get in touch with Jonathan DeCou, Harold’s son, who lives in the West Michigan area.

  • Paul Olson

    I recently retired from teaching choir for 33 years in Boise Public Schools. I got out some of my old piano books and was enjoying Piano Solo Favorites Volume 2 this morning. Brought back great memories from high school and Trinity College. I went on line to look up Harold DeCou and found your blog. Do you have more recordings? Thanks for your efforts to honor a man who shaped my christian music up-bringing.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Paul, you asked whether I have more recordings. I will continue to record all of the DeCou arrangements I have performed over the years. There are quite a few remaining that I will record, if given “enough” time by the GiverOfTime. Please re-visit here to check for new recordings, re-listen to others, or explore my blog. Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Victor Owen

    Dear Stan,
    My wife and I enjoyed listening to these wonderful piano arrangements. They were very worshipful and stirring. Thanks for sharing them.

  • Paul Roth

    Nice web site. I was reading your tribute to Mr. Harold Decou and had also searched the web for other items related to his legacy. You might want to update your dead link to his obituary tribute. This one is yet active. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/pjstar/obituary.aspx?n=harold-decou&pid=121874596

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Thanks, Paul for helping to find a link to Mr. DeCou’s obituary. I have updated the post based on the information you provided. Regards.

  • Becky Martin

    Looking for the words and music to “I’ve Found a Friend” or perhaps it is “I Found A Friend” Thankyou.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      If you Google (or, Bing): “song: I’ve Found a Friend” the first items returned are online hymnals. A couple of these automatically play, so take care to adjust your computer’s sound volume before clicking the link.

  • Donna Matchett

    I was privledged to have Harold DeCou’s mother as my first grade teacher! All that Harold was is a tribute to her raising a Godly son. She was a tough teacher. She didn’t put up with anything in her class, yet she was kind and loving at the same time. After years of not seeing her or Harold, my church Shawnee Baptist in Shamong NJ had the dedication of our new church building and the grand piano. They asked for Harold to come be the first one to play it. What a joy to find out that he had brought his mom with him! After quite a few years I had the neat opportunity to go talk with them after the service. I was quite surprised that after time had passed she knew who I was by sight and proceeded to ask about my 3 older brothers by name. It was a treat to have Harold there that day, but even sweeter that he had his mom with him.

  • Charity S

    Hi! I really need God’s Love Gift cd/mp3 or recording…..but can not find one. Anyone could help?

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Charity, It appears that “God’s Love Gift” is out of print. I have searched for it multiple times from multiple requests. Sorry to not be able to help at the current time.

  • Sheryl Tisdel

    Was moved to tears to hear Harold DeCou’s music being played once again when listening to the numbers above. I remember both he and John W Peterson from when I attended the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music back in 1970-71 and loved their music. I recently came across a cassette tape entitled, “Music of Inspiration” in my closet of Harold playing on the Allen Digital Computer Organ. I found a walkman in my basement and have thoroughly enjoyed playing it almost every day but I realize its viability is limited for long term use. I have been searching for a website that might enable me to purchase CD’s of his music. I will check out the website that Adrian has so kindly put here. Thank you!

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Sheryl,

      It means much to me that you also appreciate Mr. DeCou’s beautiful music. Thank you for sharing that my renditions were meaningful to you. This gives me increased resolve to continue my stated goal to record all of his pieces that I have ever performed.

      Recently, I came across a book of his Christmas arrangements in my library that I had misplaced. Maybe, I’ll take time to record several of them for Christmas. If not this year, hopefully next…

      Thanks for writing.

  • April

    Harold was my uncle. Sadly, he and my Aunt moved back to Illinois when I was very young, so I have very vague memories of him. His wife, Rose is my mother’s sister. I took note of the music being looked for, and will try my best to see what I might be able to find without being a pest to Rose. I stumbled across this trying to do a little research of my own about Harold. Nice to see he had people who remember and admire his work.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      April, thanks for your family-commentary. I continue to be enriched by notes left here by the legion of persons whose lives were touched by the music and person of Harold DeCou. We welcome any additional information or anecdotes that you or others can provide.

      Thanks again…

  • Jim Workman

    I was a “Supply Priest” in an Episcopal church recently. The organist played Decou’s Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross as the prelude. It stopped me in my tracks; I was choked up standing in the back waiting for the processional. The sheet music doesn’t seem to be available. Any ideas? Thanks.

  • Adrian

    Have you folks come across Harold’s print music and CDs at Bibletruthmusic.com? See Harold’s product here: http://www.bibletruthmusic.com/search.aspx?keywords=Harold%20deCou&page=2.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Thanks, Adrian for sharing a link to Mr. Decou’s music online. I am certain that this will be very helpful to those seeking additional material by this musical master.

  • Jim

    In the late 60’s & well into the 70’s we would go to Calvary Undenominational Church in Grand Rapids, MI, where Harold DeCou was organist & John W. Peterson was director of music. They both would premier their new contata’s with the church’s choir & soloists, always doing a second performance late enough on Sunday evening that we could get there after attending our own evening service. We would sit in the balcony so that we had a good view of Harold’s hands & feet; his feet would literally dance on the pedals! I could listen to him play the organ & piano for hours!

  • Judy Kane

    Way back when I was in high school (more than 50 years ago) I went to Youth For Christ at Winona Lake, Indiana. I had the honor of singing to his wonderful arrangements. He was always so nice and every day we had something new to learn and sing. I think he was there with Ralph Carmichael. Those were wonderful days. I also have several of his organ arrangement books which I have used for years. The covers are coming off of some of them. I know I will see him again.

  • Dorothey

    Harold DeCou came to TRI-CITY BAPTIST Church (was in Tempe, AZ and now in Chandler, AZ)at Easter of either 1983, 1984 or 1985. He had just completed “Mission Accomplished” and he played it for our adult choir cantata that Easter. We were the first ones to have him play it for Easter. I will never forget the thrill of his own rendition of the cantata for us. I was also thrilled with some of the absolute best Easter numbers I’ve ever heard and I’ve enoyed singing them as solos over the years. I’m just sorry that he has passed. The world will miss him. I think that when he was with us, he had just joined Majesty Music. Our organist at Tri-City was Christiane Emory and her husband, Gary (both are with Majesty Music now) was our sound booth minister as well as our Assistant Pastor. Christiane Emory’s brother, Michael Doney, was our Music Minister and the Adult Choir Leader. His son was in my 3-, 4-, & 5-year old choir. Boy they could sing. These bits of info just show us that it’s a small world.

  • Sharon Hewitt

    If anyone has a copy, or knows of a source, for obtaining the sheet music for Harold DeCou’s arrangement of “Wonderful, Marvelous, Yet True,” I would be interested in purchasing it.

  • connie

    I also am looking for these wonderful arrangements and will be checking this website, hoping someone will be able to get copies. I actually found volume two at a thrift store among the books. That was such a special blessing.

  • Dale Parsons

    Greetings. Do you know where I would be able to get the Piano Solo Favorites books, at least volume 2?
    Appreciate your help.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      In response to this question, I have searched well-known music-publishers and am unable to find the books from this series in-print. I will continue to look, and will forward information if I encounter it.

      If any reader of this knows how books from Harold Decou’s “Piano Solo Favorites” series may be obtained, other readers will be most grateful for your reply. Thanks in advance!

  • Hi!

    I love Mr. H. De Cou’s
    arrangements. Is it possible for you to zerox for me Vol. 2.

    I’d pay for it as from a publisher because it is out of print. And I’d only use it for church. I appreciate
    your efforts for sharering it. Sincerely, Mrs. L.P

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      I am unable to distribute copies of Mr. DeCou’s arrangements without permission of the copyright holders. However, I will take this opportunity to request that anyone reading this who knows how or where these books may be purchased—please, help other admirers of Harold DeCou’s work, by replying. Thanks in advance!

  • Carol Abel

    Harold De Cou wrote a Cantata entitled “God’s Love Gift” Where will I be able to listen to parts of that Cantata? Was it written sometime in 1976?

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Carol, I have done a little checking online, and the only versions of Harold DeCou’s cantata, “God’s Love Gift” that I see are not new and are being resold (some, may be in good condition). This cantata may be out of print. If any other readers know how to obtain a recording or the music for this cantata, readers here will be most grateful for your reply.

  • Cindy Velasquez

    I have the green and the gold ones that you pictured and possibly one or two others. I have his signature on the inside cover of one of his books when he came to my home church back in the 70’s and gave a concert to dedicate our Allen organ. I idolized his arrangements and remember playing ‘What A Friend’ when I was in seventh grade.

  • Berean Baptist Church in Sciotoville, Ohio, purchased a used Allen organ about 2007 and Harold came for a dedication service. Being 53 and having played the piano and organ since I was 6 it was a blessing to have him at our church and I was amazed as his ease of how the music flowed from his hands. God used him in an amazing way and he is one that I will look to find in Heaven and be able to talk with him and again thank him for his inspiration. There are not to many man organists, I am proud to be one and serve my Lord and Savior with the talents he has also given me. To God Be the Glory and may I be a beacon to Christ as Harold Decou has been for years.

  • Out of curiosity, after losing contact with Harold DeCou for more than forty years, I typed his name on GOOGLE and found your Musings Page about Harold.

    Exactly fifty years ago this year, Harold arranged the music, produced and conducted (at RCA in Chicago) my first vocal and instrumental album – In Tune With You — as a baritone soloist and trombonist, backed with a full orchestra and the Melody Four Quartet.

    At the time, Harold and I were with Youth for Christ, International in Wheaton, Illinois (he was the music arranger with Thurlow Spurr and I was a YFCI Staff Evangelist). It was a great time of working with a remarkable young man who was gifted with musical talent beyond measure, yet humble in his dealings with everyone and committed in his service to God and mankind.

    It is a memory I cherish.

  • Jerry Alter

    I love Harald DeCou! I enjoy his Christmas cantata “God’s Love Gift” and his Easter cantata “Easter Celebration”. I have both of these cantatas on LPs which I’ve recorded onto CDs a few years ago. I heard both “God’s Love Gift” and “Easter Celebration” on the local Christian radio station here in Cleveland WCRF in the late 1970s and loved those cantatas so much that I ran out to the Christian book and record stores and grabbed both of these albums. I attended a performance of “Easter Celebration” by the chancel choir at Euclid-Nottingham Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1979 and loved it! “Easter Celebration” musically sounds much like those Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway musicals such as “Oklahoma!” and “The Sound Of Music”. In “Easter Celebration” the song “Hosanna” is much like the song “Maria” in “The Sound Of Music”. The song “There’s Room” from “God’s Love Gift” is very similar to the old Kay Starr popular song “My Heart Reminds Me” and “God’s Wonderous Gift Of Love” is very similar to the old popular songs of the 1940s my parents used to enjoy as teenagers. These cantatas are nostalgic and inspirational! I love them!

  • Dear friends,
    I had the privilege of hiring Mr. DeCou to harmonize some of my songs. He did so for the price of $50.00 per harmonization. He was a wonderful man to work with, truly, gentle and loving. He also arranged two songs that are found on my album “His Eye Is On the Sparrow.” They are beautiful! He told me once that he was taught lessons by someone who did not charge him for his parents could not afford it. I was amazed that someone so talented, had been taught for nothing! It has served an example and in my studio today, if needed, I teach a child in need whenever the opportunity presents itself. May God bless you for taking time to pay tribute to this wonderful man of God!

    Singing the Praises of God,
    Jonathan K. Cook

  • Sarah

    I was wondering if by any chance you could give me the publication date and information. I have been trying to locate those books myself! Thank you.

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Sarah,

      All three volumes of the “Piano Solo Favorites” series were published by Singspiration. Volume One was published in 1963, Volume Two in 1969, and Volume Three in 1977. The “Piano for You” volume was published by Lexicon Music, Inc. in 1982.

      I hope that this helps you and anyone else searching for these.

  • Pam Tanner

    I was a really lucky girl growing up. I attended Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Mi. and Harold Decou was the organist and John W. Peterson was the music director there. I have never been fortunate to find another church, that had the music program I was able to listen to every Sun. It was truly outstanding.

  • Renee Leighton

    I have been searching high and low for a piano book by Mr. DeCou that I used to own (but probably let someone borrow and never got back). It had a gold cover and had a piano arrangement for “How Rich I Am”. I can play most of it from memory, but have a couple spots that I have forgotten. I love the arrangement, and wonder if any of you know where I can purchase this? I have played many of his arrangements over the years, both piano and organ. What a wonderful composer!

    • Stan Owen, Jr.

      Renee,

      You are correct that “How Rich I Am!” is in a gold-colored book. This is Volume 2 of the “Piano Solo Favorites” series. Like you, this is one of the pieces that I have performed. I am uncertain if, or where the book is currently available. Hopefully, my upcoming recording of it will help you to remember the forgotten part.

  • Christopher Burcham

    Stan–

    I enjoyed your tribute to Harold DeCou. He was one of my father’s close friends and associates a full half-century ago when both were young men.

    After hearing my dad talk about Harold all of my life, I finally had the opportunity to meet him about 18 years ago. He was everything that I had always heard . . . and more! He and his sweet wife welcomed me into their home and lives and essentially “adopted” me as if I had been one of their own sons! I have counted Harold among my dearest friends ever since.

    He was, without question, one of the finest keyboard artists of our time but, impressive as his artistry and musicianship were, he was every bit as fine a man! He lived out and exemplified the spirit of Christ as much as any individual I’ve ever been privileged to know. Hard as it is to imagine, the sweetness of his music was somehow surpassed even by that of his life!

    It has saddened me beyond words that I was unable to see him in-person one last time before he went home to be with the Lord–but not only shall I carry him in my heart forever–the prospect of Heaven is now all the sweeter because of dear Harold’s presence there!

  • I think your notes and work are tremendous tribute to great composers. My utmost admiration, Cathy

  • Ken Vines

    Not really familiar with Harold DeCou but he sounds like a talented guy.

    Too bad Stan never got to tickle the ivories with him!

    Editor: Additional comments from this post that are related to “Willy Evergreen” are now associated with “The Spirit of Christmas” comments. Thanks for your kind words.

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