Experiencing some transitions

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By Kirsten Laskey

Michael Chapdelaine underwent  some major transformations since he first started performing in Los Alamos.

“I’ve been making some serious transitions in my personal life and they’ve brought out some sorrow, anger, relief and bliss … it’s pretty heavy stuff,” he said.

These changes have given a whole new meaning to his music. Now, Chapdelaine said, when he writes a song about leaving, it really means something; and now songs about emancipation and optimism really mean something.

He added, “It allows people in the audience into my world more than when I was younger.”

Also as he has gotten older, Chapdelaine’s performances have incorporated a boarder range of music.

During his early performances with the Los Alamos Concert Association, Chapdelaine offered straight classical music.

Today, Chapdelaine said, “I don’t have any barriers, which is the way an artist is suppose to be.”

His performances offer everything from classical to pop music.

Widening his repertoire is partly due to listeners’ change in taste.

As a young musician, he saw classical music play a significant role in the music world but now it seems all those many chambers and symphonies have vanished, he said.

This change in taste hasn’t dampened Chapdelaine.

“I like music,” Chapdelaine said, “I just don’t care.”

This carefree attitude allowed him to start to arrange songs from the past and present and compose his own music that is in the style of his lifetime.

Chapdeliane will show his growth and transformations as a musician during the Los Alamos Arts Council’s Guitar and Gateaux concert, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Fuller Lodge.

It’s not just growth he offers to the audience, Chapdeliane also brings experience.

He started performing at age 14 when he played in a bar at a U.S. Navy post. Chapdeliane has toured the country and the world for the past 40 years.

Along the way, he won two of the most prestigious acoustic guitar competitions in the world, the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championships.

In addition to performing, Chapdeliane shares his knowledge with student musicians as the head of the guitar program at University of New Mexico.

He has taught there for the past 24 years.

Although teaching has not influenced his music, Chapdeliane said his music has influenced his teaching.

“I’m enjoying teaching more than I ever had in all my years at UNM because my work is affecting my teaching,” he said.

Sometimes Chapdeliane said he has his students play volunteers to his music.

He is eager to try out his music again in Los Alamos because it’s really fun to have a full house of smart people, Chapdeliane said.

“It’s really fun; I love playing there,” he said.

The cost of the concert is $10 for Los Alamos Arts Council members and $15 for non-members.