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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Local composer talks teaching, audio projects
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2016-01-27

This article shared 5898 times since Wed Jan 27, 2016
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From an early age, Andrew "Drew" Edwards has been interested in how music is made.

He's parlayed that interest into a career as a composer/owner of Blue Police Box Music.

Edwards founded the company seven years ago. Since then he's composed music for theater, film, television, radio, Web content/podcasts, commercials and video games.

"I wanted to name my business something that would go well with branding campaigns and I was also looking for a name that was Doctor Who-related since I'm a lifelong fan of the show," said Edwards."That's why I chose Blue Police Box Music as my company name."

In addition to composing music, Edwards has also taught film-music survey, history of cinema, and music for video games and orchestration classes for the past five years as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Columbia College Chicago.

"I love teaching and being able to share my passion for film music with my students," said Edwards. "To see them evolve as composers and professionals has proven to be one of the most rewarding things I've ever done."

Edwards grew up in Urbana, Illinois, and graduated from Urbana High School before receiving his bachelor's in music composition/theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

"My dad is a farmer and my mom was a Southern belle," said Edwards. "My childhood was idyllic and quintessentially Midwestern. We ran around and played in the park and rode our bikes everywhere like most kids who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. I walked to school every day, which was a few blocks away from where we lived. My dorm was six blocks away from my parent's house."

After graduating college, Edwards thought that he would become a high school band director but he realized early on that it wasn't what he really wanted to do for a living.

"For 10 years, I bounced around and during that time I taught performing arts at a boarding school—The Hyde School—in Connecticut and for the Chicago Park District," said Edwards. "After that I moved to Brooklyn with $500 and a dream in my heart. I ended up working off-Broadway and for the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center, where I ran the sound and mic'ed each panelist ahead of their programs. I scored my first few films and then I got into Columbia College Chicago. I received my Masters of Fine Arts ( MFA ) in music composition for the screen in 2009. Now, I teach in the same program that I went to get my MFA."

Edwards decided to move back to Chicago after spending five years in New York City because he wanted a better quality of life although he doesn't regret his time there.

He met his husband, Andrew Gunnerson, on the dance floor at Lake View's Berlin nightclub almost immediately after moving back to the city. They got married July 18, 2014, at the Cook County Marriage Court and recently bought a two-flat condo in Edgewater. Shortly after moving in, Edwards converted their basement into a recording studio for his company.

Gunnerson—who grew up in Darien ( a Chicago suburb ), got his bachelor's degree in psychology and sign language at Columbia College Chicago—is a caretaker at Misericordia, a 31-acre residential home to more than 600 children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities.

"Andrew is truly amazing and I'm reminded of that daily," said Edwards.

Recently, Edwards wrote the music for the feature documentary, Alex & Ali, which is about the 30-year long-distance relationship between an American Peace Corps volunteer and an Iranian man, and the efforts to reunite them in 2012. The project is currently waiting on a distribution deal.

"It's screened here and in India, Australia, Europe and Central America," said Edwards. "It's the biggest budget project I've ever worked on."

In 2012, Edwards did the music and sound design for Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: The Wanderer, an audio drama for BBC/Big Finish.

"As the title says, the project focused on the companions, including the late Elisabeth Sladen and a number of other classic-era companions," said Edwards. "I scored an episode narrated by William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton, and I'm really proud of it."

"I also worked on the music composition for a documentary called A Message From the East about Muhammad Iqbal—a turn-of-the-century poet/philosopher from Pakistan," said Edwards. "I was so delighted that we were able to get Middle Eastern musicians for this challenging, interesting project."

Edwards also scored a few seasons of the General Admission podcast for WBEZ, and his first big video game will be released in the coming months.

When not working, Edwards likes to spend time with his husband as well as garden and cook. He also loves to play video games, although that sometimes turns into research for his work as a composer.

See www.bluepolicebox.com for more information.


This article shared 5898 times since Wed Jan 27, 2016
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