Acclaimed musicians find home in Ridgeland
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 1:00 PM
Ridgeland resident Terry Winch has traveled a long and winding road from an idyllic birthplace in the land of Wisconsin lakes to the city he calls home today. He and his wife Jill share a story filled to the brim with music and grace.
"I grew up as a lot of people do in Wisconsin," said Terry, who hails from rural Waupaca. Despite a picturesque life, the budding musician couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing.
He discovered the key to peace at a Christian concert at 15. "It is now 50 years later," said Terry, "and it has astounded me how faithful God is." That single leap of faith allowed him to begin an extensive music career.
After high school, he auditioned with the same group that had led him to God. A few years later, Terry moved to Los Angeles where he would work as a freelance musician for 15 years before leaving for Orlando with two daughters in tow.
"That is actually where I started playing in the orchestra that Terry was conducting at First Baptist Church in Orlando," said Jill, who is from Chicago. The two helped each other recover from the pain of broken marriages and have served together ever since.
Terry is currently on staff at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison as Associate of Instrumental Music and Special Projects. Jill, too, aids the church as a violinist. "God clearly gave us this job, which has probably been one of the best times in our lives, combined with one of the worst times in our lives," said Jill, who was diagnosed with cancer shortly after moving here. "Along with all the seeming tragedies, we have been so surrounded by the love of friends that it's all been worthwhile."
Today, Jill is cancer free. "I would say Broadmoor played a huge part," Terry said of the recovery process. The support through months of chemo therapy lifted the couple back onto their feet. "I'm sure that there were really discouraging days in there, but she treats everything with humor," said Terry. "She just makes the people around her feel more at ease." The two have developed impressive legacies from nothing but hard work, talent and faith.
Jill's music career began at the age of 3 when she sang her first solo. She has since become a master of many trades including writing, singing, acting and the violin. "I've had the great privilege of singing backup for Josh Groban," said Jill, who has also worked with groups such as Casting Crowns and the Nashville String Machine.
"Another highlight was playing in the parliament in Romania for an international group on human dignity," said Jill. This mother of 18-four biological and 14 adopted-has co-written six books, one which received the Golden Medallion Book Award. Her articles have been featured in magazines from Sports Illustrated to Reader's Digest.
Terry has arranged for 75+ albums, CDs, commercials, films and shows. He has written for Disney Parks in the US, Paris and Tokyo which allowed him to record with the London Symphony Orchestra at the very same Abbey Road Studios which was once used by The Beatles. While there, he followed artists such as John Williams, the composer of scores for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, onto the studio stage.
He shared, "I was not one of the greats, but I got to play with some of the most notable players, so to survive, I had to get better." Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was writing the halftime show for Super Bowl XIX.
Jill and Terry now perform as a team. "We got to play at Carnegie Hall for a Christian group called the Annie Moses Band," said Jill. "That was spectacular."
After years of work around the country, the two spend their days in the suburbs working closely with fellow band members and visiting family. "He looked at me this morning and said, 'You know, you're just the perfect fit for me,'" Jill shared. Tragedies have only brought the couple closer.