Our Recent Graduate

I just wanted to recognize and boast a little bit about Aly, our very own resident guitar expert. Aly recently turned 18 and just graduated from the Caleb Chapman Music program.

Our Recent Graduate
Our Recent Graduate

During her years with the program, she participated in Jazz combo groups and small classes under the direction of Curtis Woodbury and Dr. Ray Smith. Aly also successfully auditioned on a number of occasions for Caleb’s top-performing bands and has served as guitarist in the Latin Jazz group, La Onda Caribena for two years, as well as in the top-tier improv Jazz Combo, The Crescent Octet.

During her time with the bands, she was able to perform in some of the world’s greatest venues. She has performed at the Telluride Jazz festival and has toured in Los Angeles. She has performed at the local Peaks Jazz festival for three years running, and was recognized in the 2013 festival as an outstanding soloist with her High School band. Most recently, she was invited along with La Onda Caribena, Voodoo Orchestra, and the Crescent Super Band to perform in New York City at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola/Jazz at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2013 season. Her performance with La Onda Caribena was met with glowing reviews, including this excerpt from New York City Concert Review, Inc.:

La Onda Caribeña followed [The Voodoo Orchestra] with the flavors of Salsa and Latin-tinged jazz.  Opening with Hector Lavoe’s and Willie Colon’s  Llego La Banda, this ensemble showed that they were the “real deal” as well. Passion, brilliance, supercharged rhythmic vitality, and beguiling vocalists make La Onda Caribeña un grupo ganador. Victor Lopez’s Salsa Caribeña, written especially for La Onda Caribeña is sure to be a signature piece for them. They closed their set and the first half with a scintillating performance of Tito Puente’s Para Los Rumberos.

…If you ever have the opportunity to hear The Voodoo Orchestra, La Onda Caribeña, the Crescent Super Band, or any group lead by Caleb Chapman, do not hesitate to do so. Do not walk, but run to the box office and get your tickets before they sell out. It is truly the experience of a lifetime.

Aly often shared the stage with many of the modern Jazz greats, including Wayne Bergeron (who headlined her band at Carnegie), David Sanborn, Abraham Laboriel, Poncho Sanchez, and Jeff Coffin among many others.

When she was fifteen, Aly built her first guitar. She has since built two others and is now working on a fourth guitar of our own design. Soon after entering the world of guitar lutherie, Aly began performing on her own creations regularly at her shows and rehearsals.  I understand that d’Addario’s Rick Drumm, who is a frequent guest artist at the Peaks Jazz festivals, now knows Aly by name.

Finally, during her stint with the CCM program, Aly picked up her very first Downbeat Magazine Award along with her band, La Onda Caribena, for the best youth Latin Jazz group in the United States! At the recent Awards Gala, it was announced that an entirely new performance tier is being created in which the CCM program will now participate. Apparently, the program is too difficult to compete with for the other private arts institutions that once dominated these awards.

Well, that’s enough bragging for now. Aly has had a good run over the past several years, and now it is time for her to rise up and get to work. She’s just getting started and has a long road ahead, plus a lot of room for improvement to make yet, so everyone give our new graduate some encouragement. She needs to get some new instruments up in our guitar gallery, and I want to hear her play them too!