PULLMAN, Wash. — Longtime Bellevue music educator and band director Michael F. Chapin has received the Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award. He was recognized Oct. 4 at WSU’s homecoming football game against Arizona in Martin Stadium, where he was directing the Cougar Alumni Band.
Chapin spent his entire professional career in the Bellevue School District (BSD) as band director in a number of elementary schools, 1970-91, and as band director of Tillicum Middle School, 1991-2000. When he moved up to the middle school level, he founded the Tillicum Middle School marching band program.
As a teacher, his goal was to instill an appreciation of music in each person and to share his passion for learning. “Whatever it took, Mike would provide the opportunity for students to succeed, and he made a big difference in their lives,” said Jerry Schaefer, former Tillicum Middle School principal.
His commitment to students and their musical development was recognized many times by the BSD during his 30-year career. In the spring of 2000, the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival organizers honored him for his commitment to the band and for its performance in the Rhododendron Festival Parade.
Chapin has been a member of the Cougar Alumni Band since 1994 and director for the past five seasons. Traditionally, the band performs at least a dozen times a year. He also was co-founder of the Bellevue All-City Band in the mid-1970s. The band is a summer opportunity for fifth and sixth grade students in East King County to march in parades, play music with other band members and to learn new musical skills.
Chapin came to WSU from Cosmopolis and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music in 1970 and 1974, respectively. During his student days, he played bassoon and tenor sax with the Cougar Marching Band. Now, as director of the Cougar Alumni Band, “his infectious enthusiasm takes Cougar spirit wherever the band is playing,” said WSU Alumni Association President Lorie Dankers. “He is a great example of the best WSU has to offer.”