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A thought-provoking and touching chronicle of a life well-lived.



Fred Allen is born poor and hungry in a small Southern Georgia town. By the time Fred is three years old he can play hymns on a old upright piano without missing a note. In kindergarten, he amazes adults with Chopin. When Fred is cut off from his only source of joy, he sinks into a morass of neglect, depression and hunger. When Eleanor, a woman just released from prison, rents a room in Fred’s family’s dilapidated home, things change. Finally, Fred is protected, fed and loved. She tells him “You’ve got a find a way to get out...You were born for so much more than this.” Fred takes an arduous journey through the Juilliard School, Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, and eventually as a professional in the music industry.

Fred climbs the ladder of success, he marries, becomes a father and a scholar, and establishes an enviable reputation as a Grammy-nominated music producer. Then in heartbreaking speed Fred‘s past catches up with him and his family becomes divided. He must choose either to pursue his dream of fame or his love for his family.


One of life’s pleasure is finding a book that really surprises you by how good it is...this was that book for me. Crescendo was delightful and I couldn’t stop inhaling the pages. It’s a touching chronicle of a life well lived, a gifted musician that made a difference in this world by making a difference in a small southern Georgia town.

Fred Allen’s story was captivating and I would love to see this book made into a movie. The description were vivid enough that I could see it playing in my head as I read the poignant and thought-provoking book.

The writing was immediately compelling. I stayed up to 4am to finish this book in one shot. It was that good. Crescendo is a story that will stay with you long after the last page is turned. Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell have written an inspiring story that is sure to encourage anyone who has ever hoped that their creative abilities might touch the lives of others.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Thomas Nelson

Published July 16, 2019

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