Park City students making noise in Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse
Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse will host an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the Soundhouse Salt Lake Performance Center, 555 E. Main St. Suie C in American Fork. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit ccsoundhouse.com.
Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse, a Salt Lake City-based music school for bands, has close ties with Park City.
The relationship stems from Chapman’s musical connection with Park City High School Director of Bands Chris Taylor, who was recently named Jazz Educator of the Year by the Utah Bandmasters Association.
“Chris is one of the finest educators, not just in Utah, but in the Western United States, and he does an incredible job,” Chapman said.
The current roster of Park City and Summit County students enrolled in Soundhouse features Phin Hailey, Hannah Smoak, Emma Sundahl, Jonas Peterson, Liam Hanrahan, Zane Peterson, Matthew Hartman, Nick Dillman, Dylan Wolfe, Emily Wales, Shane Cumming and Nathan Wales.
While Taylor’s training has given these students a leg up, Chapman said they all got into Soundhouse on their own merit.
“Soundhouse is an audition program and we look for kids who are dedicated and have a level of skills that are developed,” Chapman said. “Over the years, our standouts and award winners have come from Park City and Summit County, and because of that, we value our relationship with Park City.”
Young musicians and their families will be able to learn more about Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse during an open house that will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the Soundhouse Salt Lake Performance Center, 555 E. Main St. Suie C in American Fork. The event is free and open to the public.
Over the years, Soundhouse has won a total of 12 Downbeat Awards this year, and it also boasts a 100 percent scholarship rate where every student that has completed the program has received some type of music scholarship to various colleges across the country, Champman said.
The school has sent bands to music festivals around the world, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Fiesta del Tambor in Cuba, Jazz a Vienne in France, MusicFest Canada, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and the Telluride Jazz Festival, to name a few.
Next year, Soundhouse will perform in China.
“It’s pretty exciting that we, as a community, have been able to create this in Utah,” Chapman said. “People can’t believe what they are hearing, because these kids who are 13, 14 and 15 can play great bebop of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker and can shred Eddie Van Halen transcriptions like seasoned veterans.”
The Soundhouse director knows how god the students play because he is also an award-winning music educator, producer, entrepreneur, author, bandleader and performer.
Chapman was named the John La Porta International Jazz Educator of the year by the Berklee College of Music and the Jazz Educators Network in 2011. In 2103, Governor Gary Herbert honored Chapman with the Utah Performing Artist Award. That same year, Chapman was appointed director of the Jazz Band of America.
He has performed as a soloist and with a variety of noted music groups, including indie rock band Neon Trees, and his own project with vocalist David Osmond, the Osmond Chapman Orchestra.
With Soundhouse, Chapman and his producers teach teamwork, self-confidence, leadership, self-discipline, time management, marketing, problem solving, networking, entrepreneurship, creativity, improvisation, and other skills to help musicians achieve success both inside and outside of the world of music.
“We designed the Soundhouse not to create armies of professional musicians,” he said. “We created Soundhouse to create armies of professionals — successful people.”
Chapman started the Crescent School of Music in 1998, which became the Soundhouse.
“In 2008 we switched from private instruction and ensemble instruction to exclusively ensemble-based instruction,” he said. “While private lessons are critical, it’s nearly impossible to progress on an instrument without having private instruction.”
While all Soundhouse students are required to be enrolled in private instruction, Chapman and his staff give these students an opportunity to gain experience in a band or in an ensemble.
“Can you imagine a young basketball player who just learned skills, but never had the chance to play in a game with a team on the court?” Chapman said. “My view on music is that music is best enjoyed performing with other people.”
The students’ enjoyment of playing music also comes from the social aspect of being part of a band as much as the creative aspect, according to Chapman.
“Music is a form of communication; a language,” he said. “So being able to communicate with other people who come from a different background – whether it be social, economic, racial, religious and political – is priceless.”
Playing on stage in front of an audience adds a different dimension to playing in a band.
“This is an experience we can’t replicate in a private lesson or practice room setting,” he said.
There are just a couple of things Chapman requires from students who audition for Soundhouse.
“What it comes down to is basic skill and fluency in their instruments, but also desire and commitment,” he said. “We’re putting kids on teams with other kids who sometimes drive up to three hours for rehearsals and performances. And we expect them all to play at professional level. Audiences may think these kids come into the program playing that way, but that’s not the case. We transform their desire and commitment.”
That commitment has garnered Soundhouse 64 Downbeat Awards since 2005.
The award is given by Downbeat magazine, one of the oldest publications devoted to jazz and blues in the United States. It recognizes the top young musicians in the country every year in a competition.
“Soundhouse is one of the winningest music programs of the last decade when it comes to the Downbeat Student Music Awards,” publisher Frank Alkyer said in a statement. “What Caleb Chapman and his team at Soundhouse have done is nothing short of amazing. Soundhouse is teaching young musicians to perform and improvise with incredible technique, creativity and joy. It’s one of the top music programs in the nation.”
Chapman still remembers when his students won their first Downbeat Award in 2005.
“I thought it couldn’t get any better than that, because no other musical institution, including the universities, in Utah had ever won a Downbeat Award,” he said. “Then this year, we were recognized with 12 Downbeat Awards.”
Students come from all over the state to participate in Soundhouse, and Chapman said there have been some students who have relocated from other parts in the country.
“Last year we had a kid who moved here from Florida, and then we also had a student move from Montana,” he said.
This year, Soundhouse will open three new schools in Nashville, Los Angeles and Boston.
“It’s been pretty amazing to watch how we have grown over the past few years,” said Chapman, who thanked his staff for inspiring the students. “The best music educators isn’t just about teaching music skills. It’s about motivation. When you think about teachers who inspired us, it always comes down to those who pushed us to do more than we thought we could do by ourselves. The producers in Soundhouse are trained to do that. They push these kids, and the result is awesome.”
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