Composing Praise

It all started with whistling. Thad Fiscella ’05, can’t remember a time when he couldn’t whistle. His parents say it’s something he picked up at the age of two or three.

“Through my early childhood, I can remember whistling tunes in my head all the time, and when people would ask me to whistle, I would just make something up, or improvise a song for them, I didn’t realize at the time I was in a way composing music,” remembers Thad

Today, Thad is a professional musician and composer whose peaceful, relaxing music is directly influenced by his relationship with the Lord, his family, and his life experiences. He has released seven albums on piano and will be releasing another album early this year.

As a child, Thad often listened to classical music, which peaked his interest in music and composition even more. In the fourth grade, he began to play in the school band, choosing percussion as his main instrument. “Not the best choice for composers,” he admits.

Thad’s teacher asked him to take a year of piano so he could learn to read music for the bells, marimba, and other melodic percussion instruments, and so, at the age of 11, Thad began to play piano. Not long after, he fell even more in love with piano and composing music.

“The more I developed my skills as a pianist, reading music and learning songs, the more my skills at composing increased and it became more and more apparent to me that God had given me the desire and talent to compose music, and there was no turning back.”

When Thad began attending HLGU, he continued piano lessons and further developed his skills in music theory, voice, and learning other various instruments. Though he started by majoring in music education, he later changed his major to psychology in hope of one day going into the field of music therapy.

“I learned a lot of valuable lessons and material from my teachers during that time,” Thad said. “Being at HLGU helped me become more passionate about my pursuit of music and fostered an even stronger desire to further develop my skills as a composer, musician, and potentially a music therapist. I began to understand that God had plans for me to use music not only as a career but also for ministry. Now looking back, I am amazed at where God has taken me, and how all the parts from my life, high school, college, life experiences, family, and jobs, have come together to prepare me for my ministry in music now.”

After many years of composing music and practicing piano, Thad heeded the advice of his piano teacher and began to record his ideas. Then in 2005, he felt the Lord calling him to take his musical ideas, complete them, and turn them into an album. After a year of work, his first album, Grand Design, was released on CD in 2006. The theme behind this album is the beauty of God’s creation and the grand plans He has for His children.

“After my first CD, I wanted to create something that was even more defined, music that was consistent throughout, so people would know what to expect when they bought it,” said Thad. “I settled on emotionally driven music that is simple and relaxing, but most of all I wanted to create music that would provide peace and comfort, that would minister to people, especially those going through difficult times.”

Thad continued, “My main focus of my music career right now is the ministry aspect, allowing God to use me to share His gospel through music, and He continues to grow my audience daily.”

As a self-employed musician, Thad’s work days often vary depending on his current projects, but generally he will practice piano in his home studio for anywhere from two to four or more hours. During this time, he will compose music, work on new songs for a current or future album project, or prepare for an upcoming event or concert. He’ll practice for a few hours and then rest a little while to give his ears and hands a break, and then work some more.

In addition to practicing music, Thad will also work on promotion by maintaining and developing his website, using social media, and generally expanding his internet presence. His music can currently be found on Amazon and iTunes, and internet radio sites such as Pandora and Spotify.

Currently, Thad is spending most of his time preparing for a new album release. He’ll go through music ideas he’s already written, decide which songs will be on the next CD, and record music in his home studio. He does all of the mixing and mastering for his music which requires many hours of work for each song.

Along with his career as a musician, Thad has also been involved with church ministry for over 15 years, serving in various roles such as youth pastor, teacher, Bible study leader, worship leader, and worship team member.

Thad and his wife, Laura ‘99, have been married for 17 years and have three children, 13-year-old Reed, who is learning guitar, 11-year-old Emma, who is learning piano, and 10-year-old Ross, who is learning percussion. The Fiscellas attend Calvary Baptist Church in Hannibal.

by Rebecca Sneed ’12