Oak Park native Miguel Chavez just graduated in May from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the 22-year-old has already experienced a dream performance: playing Lollapalooza.
Chavez played guitar with a band called Tyler Christian on Aug. 4 at Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park.
“It was amazing,” Chavez told Pioneer Press. “It was my first time going. I didn’t really know what to expect but I got some really good vibes from it. I saw a lot of cool artists playing. It was a dream come true.”
The band Chavez played with featured Tyler Christian – who wrote all the original rock-pop music for the concert – two guitarists, a bassist, a keyboard player, a drummer and two dancers.
The band members learned about the performance in December but didn’t start rehearsing for Lollapalooza until June, he said, although they rehearsed for other shows before then. The musicians had been performing together since late 2021.
When he was young, Chavez took piano lessons but he changed his focus in his teens.
“Between ages 13 and 18, I was just playing guitar at School of Rock,” he said.
Chavez said he chose that instrument because, “Back then, I just thought it was cool. I wanted to be one of those guys.”
He decided to attend college at Berklee because of its focus on contemporary music, he said.
“I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time studying,” he explained.
He earned a degree in guitar performance there.
Tyler Christian, the leader of the band, was invited to Lollapalooza because he was a member of the Berklee Popular Music Institute, an innovative class that brings students to major North American music festivals, according to a Berklee news release. Chavez wasn’t part of that program but he was chosen for the performance because he was already playing in a band with Christian.
Although he graduated from college, Chavez said he has decided to stay in Boston for another year to take advantage of the connections he has made there. He has been performing smaller gigs, as well as with a wedding band.
His next move will be to Los Angeles where his band members are moving in September.
Chavez said that he is still trying to figure out his long-term career goals but he already knows, “I would like to play for the larger pop acts in the future. I love that heavily-arranged, heavily-organized vibe that they bring to the table.”
Luckily, Chavez has encouragement from the home-front.
He said that his parents, who still live in Oak Park, “have always been super supportive of my goals and what I want to do. They’ve been with me every step of the way.”
Myrna Petlicki is a freelancer.