Fred Nelson III ’81 organ, composition

Fred Nelson, a native Chicagoan, began his career at the early age of 6. As a child prodigy of Ray Charles, Nelson performed as his opening act for two years and finished his college education at Oberlin and De Paul University, with a concentration in organ and composition.

Nelson’s focus has gradually changed from performance to music production and direction. Through his own music company, Nelson Entertainment Group, Inc., formerly Third Sound music, he regularly produces music for local as well as national radio and television commercials. His clients include McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Sears, and United Airlines, among others.

As a music director and accompanist, Nelson has worked with such artists as the O’Jays, Ben Vereen, Angela Bofill, Nancy Wilson, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in Chicago, Switzerland, and Germany, and has also served as conductor and arranger for orchestras at various concerts. In addition, Nelson has performed, arranged, and produced music for the films, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Hoodlums, and the documentary, The Invisible Men of Honor.

Currently, Nelson serves as director of Music at Christ Universal Temple located in Chicago, Ill. and is a member of several professional organizations: Screen Actors Guild, National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the American Federation of Musicians. He previously served on the Governor’s Board for NARAS.

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