Fundraising underway for library to honor Jesse Chapman

Betty Chapman is seeing that her late husband’s legacy is passed on to the choral students at Bethune-Cookman University.

A case in point is classical singer Kassy Eugene, a Palm Coast student of Jesse Chapman, who has the chance to sing with the Metropolitan Opera’s “Meet the Young Artists’ Program” – and play the second lady in “The Magic Flute.” It is a scene like this that builds into a legacy that causes Mrs. Chapman to write:
The Jesse Chapman musical legacy is beautiful choral music, disciplined, well-trained singers, harmonious performances and enthralled audiences in concert halls all around the world.

His legacy includes songs sung by his students on tour in China, India, Russia and Poland, to name a few countries; voices singing hymns of praise and worship in a small community chapel, or a massive cathedral in a busy city, at a world-renowned concert hall somewhere in the world – or it could be the richness of an organ being played and beautiful music played on a Steinway grand piano. This all speaks of Jesse Chapman’s musical legacy.

A storied career
Jesse’s love of music was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he took his first piano lesson, and knew that music was second nature to him. He knew what he wanted to do with his life from the age of 8 and went on to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

He continued his study of music in New York and Germany before taking the position of teacher of choral studies at Westhill High School in Stamford, Connecticut. He held that position for more than 25 years and taught thousands of students to love music and to do it well.

Their love for Jesse was demonstrated in a magnanimous way in 2014 when they came together in concert after learning of his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Jesse passed away shortly after the concert.

Students on board
Many of Jesse’s former students are coming together once more to be founding members of the Jesse R. Chapman Choral Music Library Endowment Fund at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach.

The library will be a part of the Choral Music Complex and will house all of Jesse’s sheet music, his books on voice training, conducting, books and articles on how to use the voice as an instrument and so much more.

Photographs of Jesse with his students from tours all around the world are included, as well as awards and plaques from many of the country’s leaders for whom they performed will be housed in the library.

The library will include his time served as choral director at several churches in Stamford and the United Methodist Church in Palm Coast. The choral music library will be available to all choral students who attend the university to pursue a musical degree.

How to help
A fund-raising campaign is in the planning stage and is being chaired by Mrs. Betty Chapman, founder and benefactor of the project.

Mrs. Chapman made the decision to go to work to help organize, to plan and implement a campaign to raise $1 million in funds to renovate and update the choral suite to 21st-century standards, to endow the choral program so it can be self-sustaining and give a $5,000 scholarship to a deserving freshman or sophomore student each year starting in 2018.

The Jesse R. Chapman Choral Music Library Endowment Fund is now ready to come alive with the help and support of the community. Donations designated for the Jesse R. Chapman Choral Music Library Endowment Fund can be payable to B-CU-Chapman Choral Fund in care of Bethune-Cookman University, 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

Please call 386-481-2000 if you have questions or need additional information.

Cheryl Massaro, Flagler County Youth Center director, the Rev. Elijah Emanuel, facility manager, and Flagler County Commission Chair Nate McLaughlin agree that the drum set will help with the efforts to get the Drum Corps going.

Funds needed for Flagler drumline
Julie Murphy, Flagler County Public Information Officer, writes that the county is starting a drumline and donations will pave the way.

Parades have always been a big deal in Flagler County and the George Washington Carver Community Center is tapping into that passion by starting a drumline to give area youth a way to participate.

“We’ve been working to get this going for more than a year,” said Cheryl Massaro, Flagler County Youth Center Director. “We are very excited about it.”

Donations accepted
Several years ago, a team of people supported by the Board of County Commissioners created the George Washington Carver Foundation to bring the Carver Center up to a sustainable level – saving it from an uncertain fate. Donations and fundraising bolster the educational and recreational offerings at the center.

Flagler County Commission Chair Nate McLaughlin, who is also a musician, donated a full drum set to the Carver Center to help in its efforts to get the Drum Corps going.

“This will be a great program,” McLaughlin said. “I didn’t make Little League as a kid, but my dad asked me what I could do. I got a drum set, and music has been my thing ever since.”

Carver Center would welcome donations of bass and snare drums. Those interested in making a donation should contact the Rev. Elijah Emanuel, who’s in charge of the center’s day-to-day operations. The telephone number is 386-338-8714 or reach him by email at

“We want to have a nice drumline,” Massaro said. “We want to have dancers along with the drums so we can make a showing at the various parades that are held throughout Flagler County every year.”

Carver Center, located at 206 E. Drain Street, is a recreational center that offers tutoring, after-school study, internet access, as well as serving the community with GED classes, employment counseling, other services and athletic tournaments.


As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.

Birthday wishes to the Rev. Lannie Thomas, Aisha Kinshasa Thomas, June 10; my niece, Kelli Coaxum, in Manhattan, June 12; and Ray C. Henderson, June 14.



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