By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
When Jason Beghtol has extra time, he unleashes his inner superhero.
“I’ve always liked the superhero’s journey,” the 31-year-old Tupelo resident said, “doing what’s right in the face of adversity.”
In 2009, his first musical composition, “Fire and Ice,” was published by Cherry Classics Music.
It’s based on a hero that Beghtol created. The character doesn’t have a name, but he has an official soundtrack that relies heavily on the trombone.
“My love for the trombone is one of the reasons I did it,” said Beghtol, who picked up the instrument in fifth grade. “It’s for two tenor trombones and a bass trombone and percussion. The percussion adds another dimension to it.”
Beghtol has a master’s degree in music education from the University of Mississippi, and he earned a master’s in trombone performance from Florida State University.
He began “Fire and Ice” while working as an assistant bandmaster at Tupelo High School. Now, he’s the assistant band director, Jazz Band director and brass instructor at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
He also plays trombone with the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra and he’s studying for a doctorate in music education from Ole Miss.
Throw in the fact that Beghtol and his wife, Ginger, have two kids, Jack, 2, and John, 11 months, plus a pair dogs, then you understand that finding time to unleash that inner superhero can be a challenge.
“It’s definitely a spare-time thing,” he said. “You just chip away at it little by little.”
Help from others
“Fire and Ice” has been a collaborative effort. Bryan Mitchell, NEMCC band director, arranged the percussion parts.
In addition, Beghtol sought help from the school’s art department for the illustrations. Alan J. Boyer, an NEMCC student, won the chance to render the “Fire and Ice” character into two dimensions.
“I didn’t give him any idea of the look,” Beghtol said. “I told him the story line and let him hear the music.”
If you were to buy a copy of “Fire and Ice” for $17.50 from Cherry Classics Music, you’d get several of Boyer’s illustrations, as well as the musical score for the story’s first two movements.
“Fire and Ice” is about a man who gets a pair of bionic legs as part of a military experiment. The process nearly kills him, and he’s frozen in a cryogenic chamber.
Some 80 years later, he wakes to find the non-bionic parts of his body have turned to ice. Pretty soon, he’s on the run because the people who created him want to make an army of soldiers like him.
“My favorite comic book heroes are Iceman and Iron Man,” Beghtol said. “I sort of combined the two.”
More to come
“Fire and Ice” debuted in April during a faculty recital at NEMCC, and Beghtol reported it was “very well received.”
A few copies of the sheet music have sold, but he hasn’t heard any feedback yet.
“I wrote it because I wanted to write it, not because of what others thought about it,” he said. “The feedback isn’t crucial, though I would like to know if folks dig it or not.”
The current composition contains only the first two movements of “Fire and Ice.” Beghtol still has superhero stories to tell and music to write.
“I’m working on the third and fourth movements, when I get time. I want it to continue,” he said. “Sometimes at night when the boys are asleep, I work on it, when I’m not working on my classes for my doctorate. It’s kind of a hobby, I would say.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.