Musical Meaning

by Chris Wills

Professor Chris Wills speaks about the power of music to communicate story. He shares a variety of compositional techniques and timbres that enable a composer to relay ideas to the listening audience. Professor Wills demonstrates these compositional techniques on the piano during the 2014 CCCA arts conference entiteld The Razor's Edge.

As a composer, Mr. Wills has received prestigious national and Hollywood awards, including the Kenneth Davenport National Competition for Orchestral Works, two ASMAC Irwin Kostal Memorial awards at the Golden Score Awards along with Randy Newman and Dave Grusin, with John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith as chairs, and the Herb Alpert Music Scholarship, among others. He is currently scoring a feature for Dimension Films as well as an industrial film for a USC director, and has scored soundtracks for family films and documentaries as well as animated films (Japanimation), composed a theme for radio (HCJB World Radio in Melbourne, Australia), and has written arrangements for orchestral concerts including a commission by the Capistrano Valley Symphony world-premiered at Mission San Juan Capistrano, conducted by Carlo Spiga and opened by Master of Ceremonies John Santana of 105.1 FM KMOZART. He regularly arranges film score themes for the Citrus College Sierra Wind Symphony directed by Bill Hoehne for Nights of Music for Film, and has accompanied that group as a keyboardist. Mr. Wills has also arranged and recorded hymns for children for Bob Jones University Press and prepared session charts for artists Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almario, Alex Acuna, William Kidd, Chris Walden, David Brighton (for his David Bowie Tribute Concerts), Varetta Heidelberg, and Jim Curry (for his John Denver Tribute Concerts).

As a session keyboardist, Mr. Wills can be heard on the “Spider-Man 2” DVD soundtrack for which he worked with Vic Mizzy (composer of the “Addams Family” and “Green Acres” themes) and Hal Blaine (drummer for Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Beach Boys, Carpenters and John Denver). He has performed in concert with saxophonist Justo Almario of the Latin band Tolu (whom you’ll hear on 88.1 KJZZ and in film scores), singer Marsha Skidmore of the Tommy Coomes Band for the Franklin Graham Crusades, LA Philharmonic violinist Ingrid Chun, radio host Lauren Kitchens of 95.9 “The Fish”, Stephen Newby of Promise Keepers, the “Word of Truth” radio program of Alex Montoya, the John Denver Tribute Concerts at the Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (which has been rated as one of the “hot” shows to see in Vegas according to reviews), and for jazz concerts and art music recitals at Citrus College, CSU Long Beach, Los Angeles and Northridge, with Latin jazz group Escenas at the Coach House opening for Acoustic Alchemy, and for evening Jazz ‘n Java concerts at EV Free Church of Fullerton. Mr. Wills also served at Mosaic church for 16 years in various capacities including Music Director (with pastor Erwin McManus). As a conductor, Mr. Wills has directed the EV Free Orchestra and Celebration Ringers, several high school, junior high, and elementary bands in mass Band Blowout concerts and ACSI festivals, and for a recent film score on the Spielberg Scoring Stage at USC’s School of Cinema-Television.

Mr. Wills is a member of the Musicians Union, ASMAC, ASCAP, AMC, Film Music Network, Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Kappa Phi


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