Ted Nichelson, M.M.’96, shared some more information about his experience as a Redbird, and now as an author. Take a look below.
How did your time at Illinois State prepare you for your current work?
“My graduate work at Illinois State University was really quite crucial in preparing me to write this book, believe it or not. The graduate curriculum required me to take two rigorous semesters of academic writing coursework, which truly prepared me for the challenge of researching and writing on any historical topic. It became part of the parody of writing a book about the worst show in the history of television. We wanted the text to be very academic in tone because the joke was taking lightweight subject matter and turning it into something that commanded attention. I think we were astonished and surprised at how well we succeeded in this goal because we weren’t sure how it would turn out.”
Why did you decide to come to Illinois State to study musicology?
“At the time I had only been studying the harp for several years, but was very serious about the instrument. Coming to Illinois State allowed me more time to hone my music skills, and prepared me for future auditions. Upon graduating from ISU, I was awarded a full scholarship to study harp at the University of Michigan, so in my opinion it was time well spent.”
Were there some specific experiences/individuals at Illinois State influential to your work?
“My most significant influence at Illinois State was Dr. Arthur Corra. We spent many hours together crafting my master’s thesis on the Handel harp concerto, which ended up being published in a revised form for the American Harp Journal. He was constantly tearing apart my writing, and never let me get away with anything! It was a very intense learning experience and I am forever grateful to him.I also enjoyed my time playing harp in the ISU symphony orchestra with Dr. Glenn Block, and sang in the ISU Civic Chorale with Dr. James Majors. In addition to these responsibilities, I was president of Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity at ISU, and played the piano part time at Von Maur in College Hills Mall. I remember it as a busy but very happy time in my life. I made many life-long friends.”
How did you become involved with the project of writing “Love to Love You Bradys”?
“I took a year off of school between my master’s and doctoral degrees, and ended up experimenting with Web site design in my spare time. I did some designing for one of Susan Olsen’s friends, and we got to know each other. I grew up watching The Brady Bunch, and we laughed a lot about the Variety Hour, which I thought was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. I thought it would make a great book. So I talked it over with Susan and she was excited by the idea of working together. That was in 2002. Seven years later, and after 86 interviews with almost everyone involved, we are finally being published.”
What has been the most rewarding part of writing your book?
“The most rewarding part of writing this book was becoming close friends with so many people who were involved with The Brady Bunch, and having the opportunity to meet them. It was also an incredible learning experience putting together such a large project, because I had to work with people from every imaginable walk of life in Hollywood. I am also flattered because so many Brady Bunch fans have told me how much they love the book, and so I feel that my work with Susan and our art director Lisa Sutton was worth all the stress and many hours of time we invested.”
What’s next on the horizon for you? New projects?
“I am already hard at work on second book with Geri Jewell, who is a well-known stand-up comedian with cerebral palsy. She has appeared on such shows as The Facts of Life, 21 Jump Street, The Young and the Restless, and most recently on HBO’s Deadwood. We are writing her life story. I also continue my music performances, and would like to develop a one man show involving the harp with monologues about being a not-so-normal harpist that grew up in Normal, Illinois.”