Crescendo: The True Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town

Crescendo: The True Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town

by Allen Cheney, Julie Cantrell

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A hidden story of human triumph, Crescendo takes you on the rare journey of a musical prodigy who changed an entire community forever.

More than eighty years ago, a musical prodigy with a brilliant mind was born into a poor, uneducated, and abusive family in rural South Georgia. At three years of age, Fred Allen could play Mozart sonatas on the piano without missing a note. But in spite of his obvious talent, Fred’s parents discouraged him from expressing his creativity and intelligence, even going so far as locking him away from the old piano in their home. Forced to fend for himself through his adolescent years, Fred knew that if he was ever to make something of himself, he would need to find a way to rise above his broken background. With incredible effort, and a few miracles along the way, Fred managed to do just that, eventually earning acceptance into The Julliard School in New York City. While simultaneously attending Juilliard, Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia University, he also began directing a local church choir, where he caught the attention of the music industry.

During the musical revolution of the 1960s, Fred earned numerous Grammy nominations and built a growing reputation within the industry. But just as his new career was beginning to take off, Fred was faced with an impossible decision. His wife announced that she no longer wanted to raise their daughter in New York City and was heading home to the South. Fred had come so far from the pain and brokenness of his past, he couldn’t imagine giving up everything just to return to his childhood home.

Trying not to think about what could have been, Fred took a job as a high school music teacher in his hometown of Thomasville, Georgia, a community of only 30,000 people. Far from the executive suites of RCA and the allure of Broadway, Fred never could have imagined that his new role would not only transform his life but also change an entire community forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785217602
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/16/2019
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 147,751
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Allen Cheney is a partner and cofounder at Mountview Creative, where he oversees day-to-day operations and project development. His team at Mountview produces a wide range of content, from music videos and commercials to documentaries and feature films. In 2015, Allen coproduced the feature film Some Freaks, winner of numerous domestic and international film festivals, and became executive producer of the international feature film Heartbeats in 2016. Allen’s work has been highlighted by Forbes, which also announced his development of the Fred Allen Project.

Julie Cantrell is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, editor, and TEDx speaker. Her work has received numerous awards and special recognition across both faith-based and general audiences.

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Crescendo: The True Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell have brought us a fantastic story of Allen's grandparents Fred and Winnie Allen. A story of an incredibly gifted musician who grew up in poverty in LaGrange Georgia and first displayed his talents by playing Motzart on the piano at there years old! A powerful love story of two remarkable people. A story of Fred's rise from his humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the music industry New York City. A story of devine intervention, which brought Fred and Winnie to Thomasville Georgia where they gave birth to the Thomasville Music and Drama Troupe. This organization under the direction of Fred Allen has touched the lives of thousands and thousands of young people for the past 45 years. Always receiving a standing ovation wherever they performed, Fred brought out the amazing talent of these young people and instilled the leadership skills that these students have exhibited in their lives and careers. BRAVO!
TheBookBag 5 months ago
Crescendo starts as a heartbreaking, sad story about a very talented, abused little boy which turns into an upbeat and inspiring tale of a brilliantly successful and admired man. This book is based on real people and is a real accounting of their lives but it reads like a wonderfully woven work of fiction. Fred Allen and his wife, Winnie are amazing people who have lived a beautiful life together, making a difference in so many people's lives. It wasn't always an easy life, but their love for each other and their shared love of music helped get them through the hard times. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Crescendo and learning as much as I did about these two very special people. This is a story that let me delve deeper into the music world and left me with an appreciation for the good that people can do if they follow their passion.
KerryACroucier 5 months ago
Wow, just Wow. This was an amazing story from beginning to end, even more so because it is a true story. The story took me by surprise and captivated me until the end. I went into this without knowing much about Fred Allen and ended it with such a huge respect for him and his accomplishments. This book is a testament to how one person can make a difference in someone’s life. Uplifting, inspirational, and beautifully written, this is a biography that should not b missed. It I so well-done, you will forget that this is non-fiction. Crescendo is absolutely one that shouldn’t be missed. #tallpoppywriters #bloomreads #JulieCantrell #AllenCheney #ThomasNelson #Crescendo
sjillis 15 days ago
Primarily a biography of Fred Allen, this book also illustrates the impact one caring person cam have on the life of another. Born during the Great Depression in a milltown near LaGrange, Georgia, Fred Allen demonstrated his gift for music at a very young age, but his superstitious parents discouraged his interest. He was raised in an atmosphere that ranged from neglect to abuse, but thanks to the encouragement and support of a few teachers and community members, flourished in high school and was able to attend LaGrange College. There he met the lovely and musically talented Winnie who eventually became his wife. Together the two moved to New York where they achieved material success and Fred came close to achieving what he thought were his professional aspirations...until he realized his wife and daughter were more important than his career. The family settled in Thomasville, Georgia, where they starred a singing and performance group for high school students. Fred soon realized that was his true calling, not the lights of Broadway. Co-written by the Allens’ grandson, this biography uses journals, letters, and interviews to flesh out the story of Fred Allen, and equally, Winnie Allen. Fred Allen’s early life is particularly haunting, and informed the trajectory of his life and career. An enjoyable, quick read about a memorable family and their impact on a community.
Fredreeca2001 4 months ago
Fred Allen was born to an impoverished family in Georgia. He showed amazing abilities by the age of 3. Through a series of wonderful events and kind people, Fred was able to escape his rough beginning, get several degrees and show the world his amazing talent. I will be honest, I have never hear of Fred Allen. This book opened my eyes to his world. What a fascinating person this man was. His talent and his ability to share his knowledge truly makes him incredible in my eyes. I did feel that Fred’s bad behavior was glossed over. It was hinted at but never really expounded on. He was human and his mistakes should have been put out there as well. This did not take away from the story by any means. I just felt a little manipulated during this part of his life. I just love talent and this book is all over it! Not only is Fred one of the most talented men ever, but the writing and researching of this book is over the top! This book is nonfiction but it reads like a novel. Grab your copy today!
lsmoore_43 5 months ago
CRESCENDO by Julie Perkins Cantrell and Allen Cheney I started this book with no expectations. I’ve never been big into biographies and thought, ok let’s give this one a try and see. I was absolutely, completely, emotionally, physically, mentally, lovingly, blown away. From the first to the very last word, including all the letters and all the thanks at the end. This is a book everyone I know needs to read. A huge must on your TBR list. This book was an emotional rollercoaster that takes you on a ride you possibly won’t ever forget. The story of Fred and Winnie. Fred who came from a horrific and dirt poor place filled with hurt and shame, to rise up and do great things. Winnie, the love of his life from a well to do family filled with love and laughter. Together they are unstoppable, wonderful, powerful, but also just down to earth people who love greatly, gently, emotionally and fully. Fred had many problems but with Winnie by his side he was able to achieve things he never thought possible. Through some nightmares that he had put away, pushed down so deeply he had all but forgotten them, to when he pushed Winnie and Allison away. Coming back together stronger than ever and with so much love you will believe with all your heart that anything can be achieved in life if you try hard enough and have someone, maybe lots of someone’s, helping hold you up along the way. Through odds there were definitely not on his side Fred did the things he truly wanted to do in his life. Through fame and then humbleness he accomplished things he never thought he could. This book touches on things that will make you hold your breathe, cringe in places and cry those big ugly tears that cleanse your soul. It will take you on a journey that will lift your spirit and make you believe in life again in a whole new light. It’s absolutely the most beautiful book I have ever read in my whole life and I have read lots and lots. This one touched me in ways no other book ever has. Because it really happened it is even more special. It’s not exactly written like most biographies that I have tried to read. It’s a story with ups and downs. Written by Fred Allen’s grandson and that makes it even that much more special. I honestly have no words that will truly express how much this book, this beautiful story, touched my soul, my heart, my mind and my most secret feelings about life. It’s just a great book and told in ways that you won’t want to put it down. I have to thank #NetGalley, #Thomas Nelson for this wonderful copy. This review is my own feelings and thoughts. Straight from my heart. A huge, big, wonderful 5 stars and worth so many more. I most highly recommend this book to you all.
Annette5151 5 months ago
This was such a good book! It was uplifting, it was a hard to put down book! I didn’t really realize it was nonfiction, it flowed so well! Thanks to Netgalley for the early copy
CharlotteLynnsReviews 5 months ago
I am a music fan so that is the first reason I picked up this book. The second reason? Look at this cover with the beautiful background and the wonderful grand piano (which I dream of owning one day). Seeing the cover had me knowing that I had to read this book. Once I read the first chapter I knew that I was hooked on an amazing, uplifting, and true story that would leave me thinking about the story of Fred and Winnie Allen long after I would finish the book. Fred is born to a family of lower-class citizens, they work hard, drink hard, and see no way out of the life they are living. Luckily for Fred, there were some people in his life that showed him another way to live. They lifted him up when he fell, showed him the right path when he was tempted to go a different way, and they showed him the support when he was faltering in his career choices. There were amazing teachers that gave him the courage to continue making his music. The friends that did not judge him for his family and welcomed him into their circles without judgment. Most importantly there was Winnie, his wife. She loved him, she supported him, she took risks with him, and she let him spread his wings so that he could live the life he dreamed of. I was not familiar with Fred Allens’ story before I picked up this book but I now know his story and am thrilled that I do. I’ve talked about it to my friends and I’ve already recommended this book to others.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This story absolutely took my breath away. It takes you on a real life journey of how one can rise out of brokenness and end up impacting thousands of others for the better. The heart behind this story is absolutely stunning! It leaves the you asking, what am I going to do with the gifts, talents, and life I’ve been given? I would recommend that all teachers and musicians read this story. Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell's story telling ability make the book read like fiction. All in is a much needed reminder in todays society that ordinary people can do amazing things