JTHS Alumni Spotlight Cinema Scoring: Jermaine Stegall, Joliet Central High School Class of 1995

Career & Education At-a-Glance

  • Northern Illinois University (B.M. in Music),
  •  University of North Texas, (M.M. in Music),
  • University of Southern California (Advanced Studies Certificate in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television Certificate).
  • BMI Outstanding USC Composition Award (2004)
  • Mexican Cinema Journalists Best Original Score Nomination (2007)
  • Maverick Movie Awards Best Original Score Nomination (2009)

Imagine watching a film without any music – the experience would not be nearly as impressive. Joliet Central High School’s very own alumnus Jermaine Stegall (’95) now shares his musical genius and passion with many audiences as a music composer for film and television, composing and producing original and additional music score for theatrical and independent films and television shows airing on Netflix, Amazon, Disney Channel, CW network, and VH1.

Stegall in part credits his early beginnings for his professional success and serves as a great example for Joliet’s young aspiring musicians. Having attending Eisenhower Academy Elementary School and Hufford Middle School, Stegall fostered his musical passion and abilities at Joliet Central High School by performing in the Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Pep Band (1991-1995). He also explored his other interests as a member of the Human Relations Club (1993-1995) and the Basketball team (1992).

When reflecting on the teachers that inspired him most, Stegall fondly recalled, “Ted Lega (band director), for being probably the strongest and most prominent influence in my life at one of the most crucially impressionable times in my development as a musician. Ted also mentored, and introduced generations of students to the highest standard of excellence, unity, and discipline. Also Kevin McOlgan (private lessons) who truly defined the word ‘teacher’ and did so in a way that was inspiring, encouraging, inviting, and truly magical. Lynne Vaughn (English teacher) who also taught with beauty, excellence, grace, and stood out in how she was able to promote mature intellect.”

After his positive experiences in high school, he went on to determinedly pursue a career in music, receiving a B.M. in Music from Northern Illinois University, an M.M. in Music from the University of North Texas, and an Advanced Studies Certificate in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television from University of Southern California.

Additionally, Jermaine Stegall has scored over 20 feature films, some of which have been released theatrically in the U.S., Mexico, and Colombia.  A few of Jermaine's film scoring credits include the theatrical release of Jamesy Boy directed by Trevor White (Phase 4 Films), and Badge of Honor (Anchor Bay Films) directed by Agustin. Jermaine's most recent score for the teen comedy Mono (Fox Digital Studio) was released on July 8, 2016 on Netflix and digitally everywhere.

His exceptional work has not gone unnoticed, having been awarded the BMI Outstanding USC Composition Award (2004), Mexican Cinema Journalists Best Original Score Nomination (2007), and the Maverick Movie Awards Best Original Score Nomination (2009).

Most recently, Jermaine participated in the 2016 Sundance Composer labs held at Skywalker Ranch.  During the labs, Jermaine worked closely with composers Harry Gregson-Williams, Christophe Beck, and the Skywalker Sound Design team.  This opportunity ultimately led to the invitation of becoming a Guest Lecturer at Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic on topics of creative and technical aspects of composing original score for film and television. 

When asked what advice he offers current high school students, Stegall says, “In the 21 years since high school, I’ve seen the most impact come from those who’ve coupled their career paths with something they were passionate about.  Once the fire was lit, ‘the odds’ became secondary to the goal.  

I also encourage people as they are starting to choose a career, to embrace the broadest possible view of the field they’re interested. The first ventures, are normally in the ballpark, but not always spot on.  Life is a process of constant refining in pretty much every area. 

It was highly impractical for me to choose a career in music, then go even further and pursue composition.  I had never even met a composer till college.  But once the passion was there, my career path started to affect me and the people around me in a more profound way.  Also, I always had the feeling that if I chose a career I could truly retain passionate for, then it would seem less and less like work and more like an inspiring challenge.”

To listen to Jermaine Stegall’s compositions, please visit: http://jermainestegall.com/

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