by Lori Goldstein
If there has ever been a time when we need music to inspire and uplift us, that time is now.
Just one listen to “Passions,” a New Age CD released by Force For Good, is all that’s needed to calm and relax you during the age of COVID-19.
Jonathan Sprout, a Grammy-nominated composer of the celebrated children’s four-album series, “American Heroes,” is the executive director, composer and founder of the 5-person team, Force For Good. He describes how “I was troubled by everything that was going on in the country [during 2016]. I woke up in the middle of the night with this cathartic idea to turn my instrumental pieces into films that had a message to them. I remember finding a pad of yellow paper, writing in a stream of consciousness about important issues that are not being properly handled by society.”
Jonathan was concerned about civic issues – gender and racial equality, gun control, voters’ rights, homelessness and hunger, to name a few – as well as environmental issues such as the Arctic meltdown, solar and wind energy.
His list eventually included 24 topics, which resulted in the creation of music videos, or song-films, from the 13 instrumental pieces recorded on “Passions.”
The other 11 issues became films to appear on the second Force For Good album, “Innocence,”set for release in February 2021.
The song-film “Safe,”due to premiere September 1st, explores the issue of gun regulation, with footage of Moms Demand Action marching nationwide against the prevalence of guns in this country.
“Safe” has just won awards in three Los Angeles-based international film competitions: it is an Honorable Mention winner in the 2020 Top Shorts, the world’s leading online film festival, and a semi-finalist in the Independent Shorts Award, as well as a finalist in the Los Angeles Film Festival.
“Exceptional,” which will premiere in January 2021, just won the Los Angeles Film Award.
It posits the question, “What if we could think: there are no disabilities; there are simply millions of different abilities?”
The film “Ice,”which depicts the dire consequence of climate change, has been submitted to the Arctic Film Festival.
The music for both “Passions” and “Innocence” was composed by Sprout, orchestrated and predominantly performed by Joe Mennonna, who plays over 30 instruments.
Once the melodies were composed, Emmy-award winning documentary director Rodney Whittenberg and Sprout created a short film for each song.
Force For Good premieres a new song-film on the first day of each month.
Many of them can be viewed on YouTube, although it is Force For Good’s hope that advocacy organizations such as Sierra Club or Moms Demand Action will use their song-films to promote their causes.
The music is cinematic and ideal for film soundtracks; “Passions” reached #2 on the New Age TOP-100 Radio Charts and remained in the TOP-10 for three months.”
“Passions” is available through Amazon, and may be streamed on the forceforgoodmusic.com website, or via Spotify, Pandora, Apple, and similar music platforms.
The newsletter and website are managed by long-time sound technician Leslie Chew and Hillary Black, former editor-in-chief of several specialty magazines.
Exploring the website is an adventure in itself, connecting you to articles, videos and other resources that relate to issues germaine to Force For Good.
There is a captivating photograph of and quotes by the Dalai Lama, who inspired Jonathan to compose “Grace” (released August 1st) after his own journey to Tibet.
Force For Good makes “art that is intended to inspire people to act,” says Joanathan. “We’re intentionally creating films that will inspire people to be proactive. One of my most pivotal ideas is the first quote we have on the homepage of the website: ‘Let’s join in creating a bold, visionary world that is not driven by fear but inspired by hope.’”
As their song-films speak for themselves, Force For Good’s optimism is infectious.
Jonathan, who was a resident of Morrisville and Yardley for 25 years, now lives in the Upper Southampton community of Bryn Gweled, which he describes as “an old-fashioned neighborhood, where everyone practices the art of being good neighbors.”
All of his music composition occurs in his idyllic home in Bryn Gweled. Force For Good’s cinematography is created and its music is heard all around the world.