North Texas Daily

Grad student composes professionally

Grad student composes professionally

August 09
22:00 2012

Brett Medeiros / Contributing Writer

In the span of five days in 2006, S. Andrew Lloyd went through two of the most significant moments of his life: meeting the future Mrs. Lesley Lloyd and undergoing surgery to remove cancer from his back.
A professional organist, composer, and UNT grad student, Lloyd, 32, lived through these ordeals while pursuing a doctorate in composition and organ performance.

Lloyd is the eldest child of 14, all of whom can play the piano and organ, but Lloyd is the only one to take up music professionally. However, music was not the first stop in his journey.

From 1998 to 2000, Lloyd was in Albania as a missionary for his church. He then earned a music degree from Brigham Young University.

“Out of all honesty, I made the mistake of shadowing a dentist,” Lloyd said. “After that I realized I really didn’t want to be a dentist anyway.”

Health issues also persisted. After the successful back surgery and a graduation from BYU in December 2006, Lloyd went under the knife again on Jan. 8, 2007. A two-month stretch of complications and a newly formed relationship tested Lloyd’s morale.

“It was inspiring to see that Andy remained so positive and kept moving on with life with a passion and vigor that I had never seen before in anyone I’ve ever met,” Lesley Lloyd said.

Free of health complications at last, Lloyd worked for as an insurance adjuster for a year and a half. Then a friend’s dream helped changed his career path.

“Somewhere along that time I had a buddy come up to me and tell me he had a dream that I was going to be an organ professor,” Lloyd said. “He asked me if I had ever thought about doing that and it really opened my eyes in getting back into music.”

After graduating from the University of Kansas with an advanced music degree, Lloyd moved to Denton in 2010 in pursuit of a doctorate degree in organ performance.

Lloyd came to Denton a seasoned composer looking to better himself and others.

Laurissa Backlin, a vocal performance graduate student, recently performed one of Lloyd’s compositions.

“He writes very well for vocal performers, so it wasn’t anything crazy and out there, but of course still a challenge, yet flowed at the same time,” Backlin said.

In the next 10 years, Lloyd hopes to see his works performed around the world.

“After the cancer I had realized that my life is expendable. I might not have long to live, but everything made me reflect on what I wanted to do with music,” Lloyd said. “I want to combine intellectualism with accessibility.”

Andrew and Lesley have two little girls and another child on the way. Lloyd plays organ at the First United Methodist Church in Denton.

This graduate student’s composition is not yet finished. In fact, the next movement could very well write itself.

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