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Live On The Grammys: Wooster's Tracy Chapman, '82

Live On The Grammys: Wooster's Tracy Chapman, '82
Brady Carpenter, '26, & Sean Jakobson, '26

Due to copyright issues, we cannot run the video from the Grammys, so if you haven't seen it, be sure to look it up and watch her performance!

**This is re-run of WiNK Week 2 article from Sept. 15, 2023** 

Did you know that Tracy Chapman, writer and singer of the song ‘Fast Car,’ which blew up due to a remake by Luke Combs this past summer, is actually a Wooster Alumni? She graduated in 1982. Brady and Sean took a dive into the Wooster Archives and found some facts about our, arguably, most famous Wooster General. 

Tracy Chapman was a very strong two sport athlete. She was the MVP and Captain of the ‘82 Girls soccer team and the MVP of the ‘82 girls basketball team. 

Student life 
Chapman was very involved in her Wooster community. In addition to playing sports, she was proctor of her dorm, and a part of three groups: Chapel Committee, Weekend Committee, and Coffeehouse Committee. The Chapel Committee helped run Chapel, and where she spent a lot of time working on her music. Chapman also was a boarding student (she was from Cleveland), which led her to be a part of the Weekend Committee. That group created and ran events so that boarding students had something to do. Lastly, she played a part in the Coffeehouse Committee, which was similar to an open mic night, in which Chapman was a consistent participant when the Coffeehouse was open on Friday nights.  

Interview by fellow student 
In a booklet titled “Five Seniors Talk About Wooster School,” Betty Symington interviewed members of the Class of ‘82 about friends and exceptions. One of the seniors she talked to was “top student, talented musician” Tracy Chapman. Symington claimed that although she was an inexperienced rookie reporter, Chapman still gave an obliging response; she was thoughtful, curious and responsible. Chapman said she was quite patterned, doing the same things almost everyday. As for what she was best known for - playing the guitar - Chapman said “I never plan the time I play the guitar. I make it without even thinking about it. I have to decide to make time for my work or my friends. For the guitar, I just make it.” Symington also wrote “The intensity of Tracy’s involvement with her music is known to all. Yes, she performs at Friday night coffee houses and in school assemblies, but that is not where the force of her presence is felt. It is the distant harmony of an anxious, searching voice and more confident guitar, the echo of a young composer at work that escapes from behind the gently closed doors of the Chapel where she practices that reminds us that intimacy and creativity are just as much a part of Wooster life as obligations and busy work.” 
Later in the article, it states that Tracy Chapman was the Proctor of West Dorm (now McAlister), which took up a lot of her time. And, as many of us current students can relate, she complained about broken vacuum cleaners in her job area. In the end of the interview with Chapman, when talking about friends, Symington wrote: “They feel special and are special. Tracy Chapman has learned that.” 

Fun facts we found 
Throughout the yearbook there are several facts about Tracy Chapman. In the Class Will, she stated that she leaves her room and in turn her closet (in the building we now know as McAlister) to whoever lives there next… maybe she left some things there for the next person? In her senior quotation, she quoted Nikki Giovani and Father Guido Sarducci. In the Do You Remember…” part of the yearbook, she is stated to be funny. 
She was also prophesied to marry her guitar and live happily ever after. Lastly, the Reverend at the time came together and asked the community to pitch in to buy Chapman a guitar, which is the one she used throughout high school, playing it in the Chapel because of the good acoustics. Rumor is that she did some writing of her song ‘Talkin ‘Bout a Revolution’ in the Chapel, which became the unofficial theme song for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, and which she performed for Seth Meyers and aired the night before the 2020 Election, changing a line at the end to say “Vote.”

So we learned that Tracy was funny, loved singing at the Friday night coffeehouse, lived on campus and left her closet for the next person. She sang in the Chapel because she liked the acoustics and was a great soccer and basketball player. Chapman was involved in the community and represented what a General should be, and proves to all of us that you just never know where you may go from here. 

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