On the morning of June 10, the Oneshi Press team was devastated to learn that our long-time collaborator, composer, and dear friend Jack Schell, the Soundweaver, had left this world for the next stage of his journey.
Jack’s contributions to Oneshi Press actually predate the founding of the company. A great personal friend of our co-founder Jayel Draco for well over a decade, he was instrumental in the development of the fantasy universe of Children of Gaia, which was in production long before the first book was released.
Jack’s pure spirit, focus on healing in his musical work, and boundless creativity formed the basis of one of the universe’s central characters: Kajell, the Chief of Archers and Soundweaver of Minstrels. Readers familiar with Jayel’s illustrated novel, The Great Nations of Rendaraia, will recognize him in the character whose husband, the bereft scholar Jan’Ka’Zian, dedicates his life’s work to the memory of his beloved. The character of Jan’Ka’Zian—the author and illustrator behind Great Nations—is based on Jack’s husband and partner of 35 years, fine artist John Kazanjian.
Jack was generous, especially with his musical compositions. Always excited to collaborate with artists and others whose work inspired him, he created musical scores and accompaniment for many of his friends’ projects. Visitors to the Oneshi Press live-stream on Twitch will recognize many of his songs, as they form much of the soundtrack to which Jayel Draco creates his work. Jack’s compositions were also the soundtrack for the Great Nations of Rendaraia introduction video—which was narrated by his husband, John.
Jack created original music for Oneshi Press’s creation Tracy Queen, as well, with the unforgettable song “Sleeze.” He even created intro and outro music for the Ancient History Fangirl podcast—a project hosted by Oneshi Press friends and collaborators Jenny Williamson and Genn McMenemy. His collaborations were too numerous to list here, and they affected everyone who heard them with the same experience of joy, light, and deep healing.
“Jack didn’t just make fun and cool music, he was a sorcerer,” says Oneshi Press co-founder Jayel Draco. “His spell was his song and his magic was healing. He taught me that music didn’t have to just go with your mood, it could improve it, it could make you see things differently, it could heal your heart. Although he may be done working, his work is far from done as we carry him with us wherever we go.”
Jack was in the process of writing in-depth compositions for each of the six Great Nations of Rendaraia when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer on May 19th. After only a few weeks, he passed on to the next realm on June 10.
His vast imagination and boundless energy were reflected in the soaring melodies that he will be remembered for, along with his kindness, generosity, and curiosity. We wish him safe and swift passage in this new phase of his journey, and invite our friends and fans to enjoy his musical library, much of which is available at his website.