DFC music student in Thunder Bay plays with city’s symphony orchestra

Lewis Chapman looks nervous as he sits with his mother in his school gymnasium, dressed in a black suit and tie.

The Dennis Franklin Cromarty high school student is about to perform a guitar solo with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

It’s part of a symphony the 18-year old wrote with other music students and Cree cellist and composer Cris Derksen.

“They talked about the melodies and which ones they prefer and then they worked on those melodies,” said the symphony’s Director of Operations Jeff Gibson.

“Cris took it away overnight and plugged it into her computer and came back the next day and started reworking the composition again.”

“We wrote it on guitars and then the cellist just put it into a symphony,” Chapman told APTN News.

That symphony includes 30 professional musicians who performed the almost six-minute piece in a school concert.

Watch the raw footage here:

Chapman, who named the piece ‘Rebellion’, said it’s about standing up to tyrants.

And inspiration for the melodies came from sounds he’s heard before.

“One of them was a battle theme that I’ve been working on, I envisioned war,” Chapman said.

Then about halfway through the piece, the war dies down and all eyes and ears turn to Chapman and his guitar.

It’s a personal moment for him.

“It was a song that I wrote for my late cousin Colin Roundhead and one of my good friends Josiah Begg,” he said about his solo performance.

Chapman’s mom Sandra said it was exciting to witness her son perform.

“He loves his music and I always tell him that sometimes it just won’t take you places but you know a mother can be wrong at times,” she told APTN.

“I’m very proud of what he’s done so far.”

The Thunder Bay Symphony said educating students through music is an important part of their work.

“We’re trying to build some bridges and make sure we’re trying to make ourselves accessible to everybody in Thunder Bay, not just certain demographics,” Gibson said.

Video Journalist / Thunder Bay

Willow is an Oji-Cree Anishinabe from Sandy Lake First Nation. Her background is in print journalism and she studied multimedia before entering broadcast news . She is passionate about the stories of the Anishinabe in northwestern Ontario, particularly in the remote north.