Evan Chapman: Anatomy of an Arrangement

Lesley Mahoney
April 14, 2014
Evan Chapman talks about his arrangement of a song written in response to the Boston Marathon bombings.
Photo by Kelly Davidson

Alumnus Evan Chapman talks about his arrangement of student Ben Johnston and alumnus Jordan Lucero's song, "I Don't Have a Song for That," which was written in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. 

How did you approach the arrangement?

"I felt I should go about choosing a tone, texture, and instrumentation that would best suit the subject matter behind the song before actually starting the arrangement. Seeing as though the subject behind the song was very near to me, having been in Boston close to the finish line last year, I wanted to be sure I paid homage to the event the best I knew how."

"The introduction in the song begins with each section of the choir singing a few chosen phrases: 'we are strong,' 'hallelujah,' and 'clarity' in opposing rhythms, in a higher register, to create a glittery texture that would eventually lead into and support the lead vocal."

Was there anything in particular about this song that was inspiring for you to take on in the assignment?

"Having spoken to Ben and hearing his story, to me the arrangement became a symbol of something a bit bigger then just the lyrics. It's hard not to feel inspired by someone like Ben. He encapsulates what it means to be resilient, a quality that defines what it also means to be a Bostonian."

How did the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings factor into your choices?

"I wanted to make sure I didn't overdo it or make the arrangement too somber. It's a heavy task. I think in the end, the marathon proved something much more positive and uplifting than that initial act of hate. I wanted the arrangement to be about the grit and our hard-wired resilience in the face of adversity instead of those few days we all remember but try to forget."

Read more about the writing of "I Don't Have a Song for That" here.