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CHS alumni plays Carnegie Hall

Patrick Chapman, a junior at USC's music school, performs "Madison's Unicorn" during a recital on Fri. Apr. 10, 2009. Chapman entered a YouTube contest a will be performing at Carnegie Hall with 50 other musicians.
Patrick Chapman, a junior at USC's music school, performs "Madison's Unicorn" during a recital on Fri. Apr. 10, 2009. Chapman entered a YouTube contest a will be performing at Carnegie Hall with 50 other musicians.

Patrick Chapman needs another dream.

A mere 21 years old, the Clover percussionist will performed last week at the place he never expected to reach so quickly -- Carnegie Hall in New York City.

"I'm kind of ashamed to say this," Chapman said. "I told my best friend once, 'My career isn't over until I play at Carnegie Hall.'

"I've got to take that back now."

Chapman played with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, an assembly of more than 90 musicians from 30 countries and territories. The group claims to be the world's first orchestra selected entirely through online auditions.

More than 3,000 musicians submitted videos to the video-sharing Web site, and an international team of musical experts screened them, narrowing the pool to 200 finalists.

Finalists' videos were posted on YouTube, and the Web site's viewers voted for their favorites in February. Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony's music director and creative director of the YouTube orchestra, made the final selections.

A junior at the University of South Carolina, Chapman admits he doesn't look at YouTube often. His roommate told him about the contest last year because he knew Chapman was into the classical music scene.

Chapman submitted two videos for the contest in January. One video was for an online collaborative orchestra and the other was an audition for the Carnegie Hall show.

He found out last month he'd be playing in New York.

Those who know Chapman are excited about his success, though not surprised.

"He came into this world drumming," said Chapman's mother, Sandy Chapman. "From the time he could talk, he begged me for drums, and I finally broke down and got them when he was 13."

Sandy Chapman watched her son develop from a kid who loved to beat on tables and door frames to a skilled musician who still loves to beat on tables and door frames.

"And I know he's my son, and I'm proud of him," she said, "but he is a very good musician and a very good drummer."

Dan Lenard recognized Patrick Chapman's talents early on.

"Right off the bat," said Lenard, who teaches percussion at Clover High School. "I knew he was going to be an all-star."

Lenard first met Chapman when he was a middle school kid who wasn't sold on music.

"He told me he wasn't going to really like this; he wanted to be a football player," Lenard said. "Now, he ended up being a great musician."

In 23 years of teaching percussion, Lenard has never had a student who made it to Carnegie Hall.

That changed last week.

"He is probably the best all-around percussion player I've ever had," Lenard said of the boy who learned the xylophone, snare drum, marimba, vibraphone, timpani, bass drum, tambourine, triangle and train whistle -- among others.

Although Chapman had never performed at the legendary music hall, he had visited.

During his junior year of high school, the Clover band went to New York. He watched the St. Louis Symphony rehearse at Carnegie Hall.

"That was a really cool experience," he said. "That's when stuff really clicked for me and everything got really serious."

"I want to do this." he told himself.

Last Wednesday, he did.

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