young composer remembered by music community
Tedd Wright was a young man of extraordinary talents; not only creating, composing, and playing music wise beyond his 12 years, but also impressing friends and family on the baseball field, in the classroom, and everywhere else he strived to succeed. You could say he had, as his mom Andra Wright puts it, the “Midas touch.”
Eau Claire Music School instructor Sue Orfield recalls his first piano lesson with her when he was just in fifth grade where she was “blown away.” Besides being a phenomenon instrumentally, Tedd was a prolific writer. His family recently published a book with about 150 of his original poems, songs, and essays. Unfortunately, Tedd Wright shockingly took his own life about a year ago, right before his 13th birthday. In order to have Teddy’s music live on, Orfield and other local and national musicians have collaborated on a recording project that will allow for a “finished milestone” honoring Tedd’s compositions, musicality, and artwork.
The two-disc album, entitled Winter’s Lullaby, features musicians from around the upper Midwest putting their creative touches on Tedd’s constructions. The album title comes from a piece he composed that the Memorial High School Band recorded in 2011 and was submitted to a composition competition run by the Wisconsin School Music Association. Winter’s Lullaby was awarded Best Instrumental Ensemble. The first disc will showcase these artists, including Orfield, Memorial High Jazz I, and Peter Phippen, putting their spin on either lyrics or compositions by Tedd. The second disc will be Tedd’s original raw material, recorded prior to his death. One of Tedd’s first “hallmark” songs, God is Here (arranged and performed by The Heroes of Tomorrow Night on the album), holds a particularly strong sentiment in his family’s heart as it expresses his “strong sense of the afterlife” that articulated his belief in God – a song that his mom has fond memories of hearing coming from Tedd’s practice space in the basement.
Aside from having musical and expressive abilities beyond his years, he also had a huge heart filled with more compassion than most of us will ever achieve. Having realized that his music lessons and instruments had a certain financial obligation, Tedd questioned how children of different socioeconomic backgrounds would obtain the same privilege that he had, which prompted him to question his parents on the issue and ultimately contribute money to the Eau Claire Music School’s scholarship program. This eventually inspired Tedd’s parents to create a memorial scholarship fund in his honor “to promote local kids that are interested in music or athletics;” so far having allowed several students to participate in lessons they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
After an understandably tough year of grief and mourning, Tedd’s family has come to a point that they would like to celebrate Tedd’s life and honor his memory, and they certainly have a lot to celebrate. His mother shares, “We continue forward and begin to write new chapters in our lives, keeping dear our greatest treasure, our faith.”
More info: TeddWrightCD.com