Real-world experience - Ford, Woulard travel to Bulgaria to work on soundtrack of film ‘Dwegons’
A recent visit to Eastern Europe offered two Troy University music alumni at different stages of their careers the opportunity to assist in the movie score production for a full-length animated feature film.
Troy University Director of Bands Ralph Ford, who has more than 175 publications for concert band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and marching band as a composer-arranger for Belwin division of Alfred Publications, and Matt Woulard, who serves as a graduate assistant in the John M. Long School of Music, spent eight days in Sofia, Bulgaria, working on the music for the film “Dwegons.”
“It was an outstanding opportunity to work on a movie project and get a close perspective on how things are done in that business,” Ford said. “I served as assistant to the music supervisor and it was a rewarding experience. My main role was synchronizing the music with scenes in the movie. It’s a pretty big job.”
Ford was recruited to work on “Dwegons” by his friend and colleague Stephen Melillo, who composed the music for “Dwegons.” Troy University’s Symphony Band has recorded several of Melillo’s compositions. Ford began working with Melillo on the movie project last summer in Virginia. Ford knew he would make the trip to Sofia to work on the project but he knew he would need some assistance coordinating the 1,800 pages of parts, 87 minutes of music and 400 pages of score for the film.
“I knew Matt could contribute a great deal to this project and I was looking for a way to get him to Bulgaria for the recording sessions,” Ford said.
Ford contacted some of the members of the Emerald Coast Chapter, one of the most active chapters of the Troy University Alumni Association, and they came through becoming the first alumni chapter to help fund a study abroad opportunity.
“The Emerald Coast Chapter provided a scholarship to Matt to cover his travel expenses,” Ford said. “Chancellor Hawkins has put an emphasis on providing study abroad opportunities for students and finding sources of funding to help students benefit from these experiences within their fields of study. The Emerald Coast Chapter really showed their support for the School of Music and made a real difference in the development of Matt’s career. He actually played the Celeste on the entire soundtrack and the members of the Emerald Coast Alumni Chapter made that real-world experience a reality for Matt.”
“This was a great experience and it changed my life,” he said. “It gave me experience in the real world and not everybody in graduate school gets to be surrounded by highly talented and highly successful people outside of a classroom setting. I also got to work with a professional orchestra, something I had never done before because I am a marching band person.”
Woulard said he also benefited from visiting another nation, especially a place such as Bulgaria, which spent decades behind the Iron Curtain, visited by only a few people from western Europe and North America. Woulard said he was fascinated by the architecture of some of Sofia’s oldest buildings, many dating back to the Fourth Century.
Ford said “Dwegons” tells the story of a family that inherits an old house and finds that it is inhabited by colorful creatures. The movie is scheduled for release this year.