Evan Chapman, who grew up in Danville, is starting his career on a high note. A 2014 graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston with degrees in composition and film scoring, he's accepted a position to help develop the first music programming for a new startup network, Fusion, owned by Univision, ABC and Disney.
"I have fond memories of Danville," Evan said when I spoke with him earlier this month. He attended Green Valley Elementary School, Los Cerros Middle School and Monte Vista High School (Class of 2007). He was visiting his parents, Heide and Dean, and brother, Spencer, in Danville between college graduation and his move to the Miami area, where he has by now begun his new job.
Evan told me he was known as "the music kid" in school and at Beth Chaim Synagogue, where he did arrangements, sang and played the piano. He was in Monte Vista's concert choir and involved in all the Pops concerts, including production and arranging, and played at numerous bar and bat mitzvahs.
"The music program with Bruce Koliha (Monte Vista's just-retired choral director) had a lot to do with my interest in fusing pop music with choral treatment and classical, string and more contemporary styles," Evan said.
After high school, he went to Diablo Valley College for a semester, then backpacked through Europe for eight months. On his return to America, he came through Boston "on a whim," visited the Berklee campus and loved it. "I found a sense of belonging and I was really excited to get there," Evan said. "Both my parents were thrilled. I didn't know how to read and write music; I'd always played everything by ear."
Allen Bush, Director of Media Relations for Berklee College of Music, called Evan's job offer an "unbelievably big break." He said Evan caught the attention of Fusion brass with the Loft Sessions, a video series to highlight up-and-coming Berklee student and alumni musicians that he produced while a student at Berklee. It's received more than a million views.
"He produced 16 videos in just over a year to give exposure to his favorite Berklee artists," Bush said. "The Loft Sessions was one of the most popular features on Berklee's YouTube channel. It led to Chapman helping produce a concert at Boston's famed Symphony Hall where Loft Session artists joined the Boston Pops on stage for special arrangements of their songs. One song, 'Keep on Dreaming,' by recent grad Sarah Walk, was filmed for the Loft Sessions with 60 Berklee students, conducted by Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart performing it on stage at Symphony Hall."
Other Loft Sessions, which Evan said were released in seasonal installments, included a hip-hop act and funk piece featuring A.J. Raphael, performing Chapman's arrangement of his ballad "Without You," as well as a spoken-word production, "Hometown" that featured Ethan Smith, a Berklee student and slam poet.
The first publicly performed Loft Session, produced, arranged and edited by Evan, was a flash-mob performance in a courtyard of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in December 2013. Berklee cellists, violinists, vocalists and soloist Mark Joseph performed "O Holy Night" to the delight of museum attendees. It can be viewed at http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/blog/2013/12/18/berklee-flash-mob-mfa. Best wishes to Evan as he grasps this great opportunity to enter the music industry fresh out of college.
Contact Georgia Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org.