By Angela Norris
Spencer Chapman, a recent Beech Grove High School graduate and standout percussion player, has been accepted to three local colleges with academic and music scholarships.
After receiving acceptance letters from the University of Indianapolis, Butler University and DePauw University, Spencer weighed his options. He ultimately decided UIndy was the best choice for his future and accepted a scholarship from the Richard R. Lugar Academic Recognition Award.
Spencer has had a love of percussion since he was a little boy. “It all started when I was 6 and I got a rock band for Christmas with the electronic drums,” Spencer said. “He was always drumming on everything everywhere we went,” Tonya Chapman, Spencer’s mom, added. He found his talent.
Spencer started playing percussion with the Marching Hornets his sixth grade year. “I really wanted to get into percussion so I tried really hard and I think I was the last kid to get in, actually,” he said.
Spencer not only learned about music, but he learned strong leadership and everyday life skills. Learning how to build communication skills was a very important part of his lessons through band. He has met and made lifetime friends and memories.
“It’s a ton of fun with people who become your family,” Spencer said. He has also participated in pep band, concert band, jazz band, winter percussion and solo and ensemble. In 2019, Spencer won three gold medals and one silver during his solo and ensemble performance. Spencer was also awarded outstanding percussion in 2017.
During his senior year, Spencer ventured into a new passion for the stage with his girlfriend Mackenzie Martin by his side. The pair played Kenickie Murdoch and Betty Rizzo, respectively, in the musical Grease, and Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlett in the production of Clue. Spencer also helped build sets for plays.
“Spencer is the most kind, humble (person) and he is extremely talented and he’s handsome too,” Mackenzie said. Spencer was also asked to play percussion for the Beech Grove show choirs. He is a National Honor Society member and teaches percussion in an advanced music instruction class to the younger students at Beech Grove Middle School.
Cory Wynn is the band director for BGHS; he taught Spencer for six years. Spencer decided he wanted to be a band director his freshman year.
“It was just unusual from an early on age that he decided he wanted to be a band director.” Wynn said. “He decided he had a goal and made it happen.”
Spencer had a strong drive and grew to become a student leader and idol to the other students in the band program.
“It really has nothing to do with music,” Wynn said. “Watching young adults grow up and evolve into confident people with morals and life skills, I think that is the most important thing I can give my students.” Wynn has high hopes Spencer will be a great band director one day in front of his own students. “I will be watching with pride,” Wynn said.
Tonya, who also attended BGHS, joined Beech Grove Band Boosters the first year Spencer was in marching band. She started by feeding the students and eventually became treasurer. Tonya would spend 20 hours or more a week doing “band mom” duties.
“The first year it was very eye opening. I didn’t realize everything that went into making this happen.” Tonya said. “I wanted to be a band mom because it does take so much time and that was time I could still spend with him to support him. I am his biggest cheerleader and I always want him to know I’m there for him.”
One of her favorite memories is seeing Spencer come out onto the field as a seventh grader with the high school kids and feeling so proud that he was feeling confident.
BGHS Marching Hornets wish Spencer the best for his future. The Marching Hornets end each practice, saying loud and in unison, “with pride.” Spencer Chapman has delivered that.