New Year, New Post!

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I know I’m 27 days late but I was in Atlanta during this time so I get a free pass. All that to say…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

…glad that’s out of the way. I hope y’all have had a great New Year so far. Fun Fact: Starting in February, 2018 is the Chinese New Year of the Dog…so, yeah. Fun fact over.

Usually leading up to the New Year, I take the time to reflect on the pieces I have written that year. The year 2017 was a difficult one for music writing. Now that my composition recital was out of the way (Nov. 21, 2016), there were a lot of other things I had to focus on during my countdown to graduation such as my trumpet recital (otherwise known as my flugel horn recital, with special cameo appearances from my cornet and trumpet), co-hosting our Senior Showcase, actually surviving college enough to graduate, etc. It was also a year of transition for me, moving from college life to adult life. You can see previous post about my post-college life, but it’s all to say that I didn’t have the chance to write a lot of music. The four pieces that were finished were the following:

Overture – Triforce

Meditation – In His Hands

Song Arrangement – Happy!

Euphonium Solo – Consecrated

Of the four, “Triforce” is currently in the repertoire list for the Pendel Brass and “Happy” was used as a recessional item for the wedding of Matthew & Haylee Winters in addition to the Florida Divisional Music Camp. “In His Hands” is adapted from another work of mine, “Chronicles of Faith,” and “Consecrated” was written as a Christmas gift for my father.

I was privileged to attend the 2018 North American Composers Forum a couple of weeks ago. This time it was hosted by the USA Central Territory, so it was a great opportunity to see a lot of friends. I was essentially home. You can read a report from Edward Mylechreest (of Mylestone Music) about the great weekend here:

2018 North American Composers Forum Report – Edward Mylechreest

Another TroyFred Productions New Year tradition is to list the different kinds of pieces I would like to write this year. While I haven’t thought about this as intensely as I usually do, I still have some ideas and have received some commissions that I am excited to start working on. Those include:

  • Selection for the Philadelphia Kroc Center Jazz Orchestra
  • Meditative Item for the Wedding of Chris Irvine & Katelyn Church
  • Cornet Duet for Jonathan George ’20 & Wade Hintz ’20 for their Senior Recital
  • A Special New Vocal Duet

In addition to those four pieces, I would also like to write stuff that is more functional for Salvation Army worship services. I have all the time in the world to write another major work, but writing stuff for Sunday morning might be my goal for a while. Maybe I’ll focus on things like hymn tune arrangements, meditations, song arrangements, etc. We’ll see where the Lord leads me.

I pray you all draw closer to God and learn to lean on Him during the inevitable tough times. To partially quote Albus Dumbledore (and to ignore the irony of quoting a wizard to reference God), “dark and difficult times lie ahead.” During those dark times, we need to follow the light that is our Lord and Savior.

Keep your head on a swivel!

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to boldly go!

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I’ll go in the strength of the Lord,
In paths he has marked for my feet;
I’ll follow the light of his word,
Nor shrink from the dangers I meet,
His presence my steps shall attend,
His fullness my wants shall supply;
On him, till my journey shall end,
My unwavering faith shall rely.

So remember in the last post when I said I would be back soon? See, I wasn’t kidding! I’m back! It’s been a minute (new slang term I’ve learned, meaning it’s been quite a while) since I’ve updated (told you, I’d start saying that at the beginning of each post) and I reckon it’s time for updating:

I successfully graduated from Asbury University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Here’s proof:

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My family and I after the graduation ceremony. We don’t take pictures together all that often, only on special occasions and significant milestones, so yeah that happened. It’s still bittersweet and won’t feel real until August 14th rolls around and I’m not in my first day of classes.

So, what am I doing now that I am fully gradu-ma-tated from Asbury? Well…

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…I have accepted a position as a Regional Music Director for the Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division. You heard right: I have moved away from the Central Territory and now reside in the Eastern Territory. In the 2016-17 season of the USA Central Territorial Youth Band, we played Peter Graham’s To Boldly Go and in a fitting manner, I boldly went!

It has been quite the adjustment period so far. I spent the majority of my time at the lovely (and huge!) Camp Ladore getting to know both my department (pictured above) and the young people in the division. Spoiler alert: THEY ARE GREAT! There is so much skill and so much potential in these young people. They are willing to learn, ready to worship the Lord, and really good at having fun. Some of the best times I had this summer was just hanging out with the youth and bonding over anime, children’s card games, etc. God definitely knows what He was doing when He sent me here. (He kinda always does.) Gavin Whitehouse (the Divisional Music Director, aka my boss) and I led the Chorus during Sr. Conservatory and I used Gungor’s Beautiful Things, Jim Curnow’s How Beautiful Upon the Mountains, and my own Anchored: complete with clapping, dancing, and choreography. It was such an encouraging summer, as a lot of the local officers and music leaders mentioned that they are excited to see what I will do in the Delaware Region. So, that’s pretty cool.

What music am I working on at the moment? There is a major work for the Western Territory Staff Band (B/M Neil Smith) coming soon in the pipelines and this piece is something I’ve been trying to do for a while. My devotional setting of In Thee O Lord is also still in progress. I am also undertaking writing a piano solo for a good friend of mine, Meghan Pierson (Deputy B/M of the Oakbrook Terrace Corps Band). Watch this space for more information on that!

If you are wondering how you can pray for me, I have one request: pray that I stay steadfast in my mission not only to help those I encounter grow musically, but more importantly spiritually. We naturally have an effect on those we encounter in this life, and I want to be a positive influence, pointing them towards Christ. In order to do that, I need to be focused on Him. There are times when that can be challenging, so I just ask that you pray that I keep my eyes on Him.

I leave you with text from one of the songs featured in Erik Leidzen’s At the Master’s Feet (ABJ #36):

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free:
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Happy Freduary! (and a lil’ bit of Spring Break)

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Disclaimer: I did not come up with the term “Freduary.” My good friend Bethany Kelly did.

Good afternoon, y’all! It has been a while since the previous post (I might as well get used to saying that every post.) For those of you keeping score at home, I am in my final semester here at Asbury University.

…yeah, I can’t believe it either. It feels like I just got here. It’s amazing how much things have changed since my arrival in the Fall of 2014.

What’s next? Well I’ll let you know when I find out, but now it’s time for a music update:

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So this happened! On Monday November 21, 2016 five of my compositions/arrangements were featured in an hour-long recital, paired up with musical contributions from Christa Neal ’17 for her senior recital. I kid you not, Akers Auditorium was packed and we were blessed from all those who made it possible. We are indebted to the Salvation Army Student Fellowship Band & Songsters, Adam Schell ’18, Dr. Don Zent, Prof. Mary Ann Wilder, Caitlin Malone ’17, and many more. The five pieces of mine which were featured included the following:

  • For the World (an festival arrangement of the transMission praise & worship song “Christ for the World”)
  • Schelltic Praise! (a solo for Oboe and piano written and performed by Adam Schell ’18)
  • Anchored! (SATB written especially for the SASF Songsters)
  • Give to Jesus Glory (SATB written in the Spring semester of 2016 and now the winner of the 2017 Peniston Honors Composition Competition)
  • My Hope! (originally written as a two-verse congregational accompaniment to “The Solid Rock,” expanded to four verses for this recital)

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At the tail-end of February, I co-hosted a senior recital with my good friend Andrew Wittenberg. I would love to tell you about all the great music he performed that night…but I don’t have a programme in front of me. I played the following:

  • Trumpet Concerto in Eb Major, Mvt. 1 (Joseph Haydn)
  • Concertino for Flugel Horn, Mvts. 1-3 (William Himes)
  • Song for Cornet (Richard Lane)
  • So Glad! (William Himes)

It was a great night, and more importantly, it means I’m done with another great portion of my major. Lessons with Jeff (Barrington, Trumpet Professor & SASF Songster Leader) shift to focus on preparing me to teach lessons to others as opposed to learning from lessons myself. I’m excited about the new direction these lessons will be going in.

As the school year is wrapping to a close, I bet you’re wondering (or probably not wondering, I dunno): what’s coming next compositionally? Well, I’m currently working on my very first work for orchestra (no, that “Ice Ice Baby” arrangement for the Asbury Orchestra doesn’t count) that centers around the Creation story, the Fall, and our path to redemption. It’s a rather adventurous piece of work.

In addition to that, I have one transcription project for a Singing Company that has come up on my desk.  In addition to that, I have recently begun a brass band setting of the chorus In Thee, O Lord, Do I Put My Trust.

Thanks for staying loyal to TroyFred Productions over the past eleven years! Be back soon!

Falling for Autumn!

 

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Yo! It’s been a while since my last post. A lot has happened in the past couple of months. I recently completed a summer position at the Salvation Army’s Central Territorial Headquarters as the Music & Gospel Arts intern. That consisted of working with the Music Department in getting ready for CMI (Central Music Institute), making copies of music and filling folders, and going to different music camps and leading different groups. The final music camp I went to, Camp Mihaska (St. Louis, MO) actually is responsible for a new piece I’ve written entitled The Ramsdale Rumble, written for the 2016 Ramsdale Band, of which I was able to be the Bandmaster. It was a great summer and definitely one I will never forget.

Now I’m back at Asbury University for my senior year, and with that comes recitals. The first of which is my composition recital on November 21. The pieces that are complete that will be featured in said recital are the following:

  • Fanfare & Theme – For the World
  • Choral Selection – Anchored!
  • Oboe Solo – Schelltic Praise!
  • Choral Meditation – Give to Jesus Glory
  • Congregational Song – My Hope!

It is a joint recital with senior violist Christa Neal, so it should be a nice programme. More information and recordings will be posted at a later date.

In other news, I recently been asked to write a recessional for the wedding of two friends: Eddie George and Morgan Irish. That wedding will be this Sunday and am looking forward to the beautiful ceremony. I have also been asked to score another film. This new one is by my own roommate Donny Black, a fledgling filmmaker. I have previously scored Claire Lafferty’s In Time and Lucas Green’s Nerds, so we shall see how this goes. Donny and I have already, albeit briefly, discussed possible story ideas for his film and what direction he wants the music to go in so it will be a good challenge.

Luckily, after my recital I will be able to return to writing music of my own volition (i.e. solely for the Salvation Army) and I didn’t realize how much I missed that until I had no time to do it anymore. I have a few ideas of stuff I could do but we’ll see what actually happens. Thanks for reading this brief update! I have a French quiz in the morning so I’m going to sleep!

Keep your head on a swivel!

-Mbesi, Fred

 

Spring Breakers!

Hello, y’all! Hope you’re doing well! It’s been a couple of months since I have last updated you on my endeavors but I have had enough going on to keep me busy. Being an Asburian music major has kept me on my toes with things such as sonata analysis, piano exams, music history quizzes, and so on and so forth.

Spring Break is coming up in a week or so and I’m very excited. I’m going to North Carolina to have some quality, relaxing time with some friends so I’m looking forward to that. For Easter, I’ll be with my friend Mason’s family for the weekend. It’s what I did last year and it’s seeming to become a tradition.

On the compositional side, things have been booming. I’m nearing completion of a new choral work which will be performed on March 24th at an upcoming recital featuring the composition projects of the freshmen and sophomore theorists, in addition to the works of myself and three other students who are all studying under Dr. Adam Sovkoplas, composer and theory instructor at Eastern Kentucky University. Also on the way is the creation of a new Oboe solo for my good friend Adam Schell, affectionately referred to as “Son of the Music Man.” Thanks to the positive feedback I’ve received from my score of Claire Lafferty’s short film “In Time,” I have been asked by Lucas Green to score his film “Nerds,” which is intended to be featured in the 2016 Highbridge Film Festival. I am excited to work with Lucas and am a huge fan of his filmography; heck I even starred in one of his short films. You can watch that here:

 

 

Next semester, I’ll be hosting and planning my own composition recital. So, a number of my works will be featured. Of those already written, I’m currently planning on including “The Following” and an updated rendition of “My Hope” intended for congregational accompaniment. There will be a (pardon my French) butt-load of new compositions that will have their premiere. One that I’m really excited for will be one I’m dedicating to my graduating class “The Anchored Class of 2017,” but more on that later. It will feature our Class Hymn, “The Solid Rock.” This will be the finale of the recital in a way so the recital will end how it begins. That’ll be great.

This weekend will be an exciting one because I’m going home!

…well, sort of. The Asbury University Concert/Jazz Bands will be going to Muskegon, MI for their annual Spring Tour. Be in prayer for our ministry as we give our musical offerings to the Lord.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more updates.

Keep your head on a swivel!

F. Mbesi

Auld lang syne

I reckon I’m a bit overdue for a post (granted, it’s been over a year since my last one) but HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

It’s 2016, the year of the Monkey, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the end of the Ransomed Class Golden Age, and the list goes on! Before we look onto the future, let’s reflect on all that TroyFred Productions has accomplished during the year 2015:

Festival Arrangement – Radiance

Song Arrangement – Thrift Shop

Congregational Song – My Hope!

Overture – Fancy Faves, vol. 2

Happy to hear that “Radiance” (formerly called “Illuminate“) has been used quite a bit across the US at Salvation Army music schools in Kansas, Indiana, Florida, and more recently at the Dearborn Heights Citadel Thanksgiving Concert. “Thrift Shop” found its usage with the Salvation Army Student Fellowship Band of Asbury University during the Spring 2015 semester.

The congregational accompaniment to “The Solid Rock” was written for usage in Asbury’s production of “Once Upon a Mattress,” to which I led the pit orchestra for. That will be reworked in due course for my upcoming senior composition recital, but more on that later. “Fancy Faves, vol. 2” was an overture of pop songs, much like the first volume, used for the preliminary music for the 2015 Fall Variety Show.

In addition to those pieces, 2015 also saw the creation of my first original choral piece of music, “Nevermore.” That was a long and new process for me, but it seems to have paid off. It’s an idea I have wanted to do for so long so I am glad that it is the first of many new choral pieces to come.

The second minor motion picture for TroyFred Productions, entitled “More than Conquerors” was also finished and had its premiere showing at Wonderland Camp & Conference Center this year. Starring Caleb Woodard and Kate Lundy, it features the story of a girl who believes the redeeming power of Christ can even reach the heart of a boy caught in the middle of a gangwar. “More than Conquerors” will be posted on here in due course in on the “Videos” page. Many thanks to Caleb, Kate, and the many people who were instrumental in making this low-budget production become a reality.

The final noteworthy aspect of 2015 has been the opportunity to score a film at Asbury University. Juniors Claire Lafferty and Sheridan Swathwood were in need of orchestral music to accompany their amazing short film “My Time” and the offer came to TroyFred Productions. It took three months but we were glad to be of service to help Lafferty and Swathwood tell their story.

There are many new pieces to come for 2016. As mentioned before, there are a lot of numbers I will have to write for my upcoming composition recital, which will hopefully be in the Fall of 2016. Some of the pieces I have in mind for that event (but am not totally sold on) are:

  • Fanfare treatment of transMission’s “Christ for the World
  • TTBB choral work for male quartet group Scherzo
  • Solo for Oboe & piano
  • Extended work featuring the Anchored Class Hymn “The Solid Rock”
  • Updated arrangement of “My Hope” for brass band
  • Benediction based on “All my hope on God is founded” (Hymn tune Michael)
  • Meditation based/devotional item based on either Proverbs 3:5-6 or “Your Grace Still Amazes Me
  • Latin arrangement of “Jesus Loves Me” (cuz why not?)

Also in the wheelhouse for TroyFred Productions is an extended brass band work for the USA Southern Territorial Band (B/M Nick Simmons Smith) and a foray into the concert band scene for the Asbury University Concert Band (Director of Bands: Dr. Glen Flanigan). Why the title “Bandmaster” and “Director of Bands” are different, I have no idea…but I digress.

Here’s to what will be an amazing 2016 so long as we put our hope not in worldly things but in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

– Mbesi

 

 

 

Back to the Future!

Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly riding into 2015 in “Back to the Future II.”

Happy Belated New Year from TroyFred Productions!

Hope you all are well. Today’s post picture is provided for you by “Back to the Future II.” This is the year that Marty McFly arrived in in the second part of the trilogy, and there’s not a hoverboard or “Jaws 19” in sight.

Looking back at the year 2014, it was a very good year for us here at TF&P. Let’s look at the pieces of music that were written over the past year:

Song Setting – Peacemaker (2014)

Song Arrangement – Glad You Came (2014)

Festival March – Creed (2014)

Festival Arrangement – Greased! (2014)

Festival Prelude – The Following (2014)

Overture – Fancy Faves! (2014)

I’m also happy to reminisce on the premieres of “Glad You Came,” “The Following,” “Chronicles of Faith,” and “Fancy Faves.” That’s four premieres in a year! Holy snot, that’s great! Another amazing thing that has been happening in 2014 is the production of the next TroyFred Productions film “More than Conquerors.” Filming has been completed and editing/score-writing is underway. In addition to that, many of ya’ll will know of my relocation to Asbury University in the Fall 0f 2014. With the guidance of Professor Nathan Miller, James Curnow, and many of the music staff at the building, we can only imagine the new opportunities that will be coming. I have been asked to be the Bandmaster of the pit orchestra for the Sophomore Musical production of “Once Upon a Mattress” and I plan on working on the following projects throughout the year:

  • Score for “More than Conquerors” Film
  • Thematic Sequel to “The Following
  • SSAA Choral Work for the Asbury University Women’s Chorus (Conductor: Prof. Jill Campbell)
  • “Thrift Shop” arrangement for Asbury University SASF Band (B/M Nathan Miller)
  • “Fancy Faves Vol. 2” for the 2015 Fall Variety Show
  • A new Trombone Solo for Jake Luhn of the Oakcreek Corps Band
  • A new Overture, somewhat along the lines of “Whom Shall I Fear

I am also pleased to announce the first new piece of 2015 has been completed! It is a festival arrangement entitled “Illuminate!” and I am very pleased of how it turned out. Is it perfect? Knowing me, probably not. You can check it out at the link at the bottom of this blog post. More updates will be given soon but I am excited to fulfill this calling that God has placed upon my life. I can already tell this is going to be a great year! Did I mention that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” comes out this year?!?!?!

Until next time, stay frosty!

F. Mbesi

Festival Arrangement – Illuminate! (2015)

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