Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Keys to Success Musician to Present New Works

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Keys to Success Musician to Present New Works

Article excerpt

WHEN DELLO THEDFORD'S fingers raced over the black and ivory keys of his piano, members of the Roosevelt Jazz Ensemble stood as one, waving their hands, swaying and singing the words of a song from "A Chorus Line."

The scene did not take place in a theater near Times Square in New York City. It was in a drab music room recently at Roosevelt High School, 3220 Hartford Avenue, St. Louis.

Despite the absence of Broadway's glitz, the performers - Roosevelt students - lit up the room with their energy. After the finale, their claps and cheers echoed through the halls.

It's not unusual for Thedford, Roosevelt's music teacher, a clinician, composer, arranger and orchestral director, to bring new life to favorite musical tunes.

Now, Thedford said he was ready to unveil 12 of his original musical compositions before an audience in St. Louis.

A live gospel performance called "From the Composer's Hand" will be recorded at 5 p.m. March 10 at the Northside Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 9001 Lucas and Hunt Road. More than 100 professional and semi-professional local singers will perform, accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra. Tickets are $15.

The performance will feature a 15-minute piece, "Symphony of Praise." Guest soloists will be Karen Hylton, Leslie Johnson and Dorothy Jones, all local gospel singers and musicians.

"It's sort of a gospel symphony with a strong Afrocentric flair," Thedford said. "The rest of the songs are ones I've written down through the years."

After the recording is marketed, Thedford said he wanted to establish a scholarship fund in memory of his late father and mother, Joe and Ethel Thedford. "My father was my first music teacher, and my mother was instrumental in backing my music career," he said.

Thedford, 44, of Bellefontaine Neighbors, said he had fond memories of his childhood. He first learned to play the piano at age 4 at the Zion Wheel Baptist Church.

Ruth Green, his vocal music teacher at Northwest High School, inspired him to study music education, he said. …

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