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)

Chronicles of Awesome!

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Hey, y’all! I reckon it’s been a while so here goes an update to share how things are going in the world of TroyFred Productions.

More Than Conquerors

A new movie poster for 2015’s More Than Conquerors, my entry into the Salvation Army’s Boundless Film Festival, will be on its way. For the few gang-related scenes I have to film, I have been able to recruit a few cast members for this expedition through film-making, in addition to a crew for the filming process. Watch this space for more information. The teaser trailer for the film can be seen on my Facebook page.

The Asburian Difference

Things are going well at Asbury. I am involved in a plethora of activities, including the Men’s Glee Club, Concert Band, Orchestra, SASF (Band & Songsters), and I also write for the Collegian, local college newspaper. In specifics, I review 2014 films and am part of the newly-formed CollegianTV team, in charge of making sweet videos about a number of events that happen around campus. New Musicology professor Nathan Miller also gave me a job as being part of his Orchestra staff. With that, I get to do the following: Filing/copying music, live-tweeting and advertising orchestra concerts/events, arranging and transposing music parts, public relations, and other tasks/duties that Prof. Miller wants me to do. There may also be a certain development in the next week or so, so I’ll let you know in due course.

Music!

Many of you are aware of my recent completion of “The Following,” a new concert opener for the African Missions event taking place at the Rockford Temple Corps in the next few weeks. My musical exploits have attracted the attention of resident Kentucky composer and friend James Curnow. Jim is interested in having me study with him so I can refine my compositional/conducting skills and improve on them, which is an opportunity I cannot (nor will I) pass up. Coincidentally, Jim (along with Chicago Staff Bandmaster Bill Himes OF) were both former soldiers at the Royal Oak Citadel Corps, and they were both taught by my grandfather Max Wood. Now I feel as though the circle is being completed as they are now teaching me what they know and what they learned from experience and study. I’m blessed by this forthcoming opportunity and hope to improve drastically so my ministry can be more effective. Jim has already helped me edit “The Following” and he is excited to help me on future pieces of music. The Rockford Temple Band has begun rehearsing for that event and “The Following” was among the pieces on the rehearsal stand this past Wednesday. I am excited to be there for its world premiere, conducting it no less.

Speaking of premieres, my father informed me earlier this week that “Chronicles of Faith,” my first extended work for brass bandhad its African premiere by the Kintambo Band. I was thrilled to have been able to listen to that performance and am excited that people are using my music to worship God in different parts of the world. While seeing something I wrote performed (very well, might I add), the coolest part was seeing people singing along with some of the songs in the piece. Of course, I didn’t understand the language they were singing in but it was a blessing nevertheless to see people united worldwide by the act of lifting up their voices to praise God.  That performance can be viewed here:

You can read more about the piece on its composition page:

http://www.troyfredproduction.wordpress.com/compositions/chronicles-of-faith

Stay tuned for more updates from TroyFred Productions…and remember, EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!

 

F. Mbesi

 

(500) Days of Summer

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Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been quite the busy bee over the course of the last few months. I have just returned from an incredible ministry opportunity: working at the Salvation Army’s Wonderland Camp & Conference Center up in Salem, Wisconsin. This was my third summer up at Camp Wonderland and it was a great one! I cannot say it was a perfect summer, however. There were hangups, there were mishaps, there were frustrations. However, I believe there is no such thing as a perfect summer…those things are supposed to happen. It’s how we react to those situations that matter. We were able to minister to over 1,000 children this summer and if we were able to win at least one of them to Christ, then the drama we encountered was worth it.  God was definitely glorified.

In terms of TroyFred Productions news, you will know that I recently announced the production of a new film for the Salvation Army’s International Congress Film Festival. The filming for this movie took place at Camp Wonderland during the off-days when we didn’t have any campers or responsibilities to attend to. I must say, for most of these staff members who were involved in the movie who have little to no acting experience, they have done a marvelous job and I am indebted to them for their hard work and sacrifice to help me with this project. This is the biggest project that TroyFred Productions has put on to date, and it’s not over yet. Now that filming is done, it’s time to compose the score to the movie and for post-production, which David Minter from the SA Central Territory’s Visual Communications bureau has graciously offered his support. Hopefully this can all be finished by April 30, 2015, which is the deadline for the Film Festival. The film’s title is More than Conquerors, starring Caleb Woodard and Kate Lundy. I am very excited to see the final product.

The one sacrifice that comes with the creation of More than Conquerors is that my regular brass band compositions will have to take a backseat for a while. That being said, that in no way means I don’t have a few new pieces in the works! For example, a special arrangement of “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is in the works for the Sound of Africa band to perform in October. In addition to that, a new piece along the lines of Whom Shall I Fear is in the planning stages…but more on that later!

In the next few days, I will be making the transition to Asbury University, where I will be completing my Journalism studies. While I’m there, I will be working with Professor Nathan Miller, AU’s new music professor after the retirement of Dr. Ron Holz, and the SASF music groups and will hopefully have some new pieces written/played for/by them. Big things are coming, friends! Until next time!

F. Mbesi