John Chevalier owns local sound and lighting business Chevalier Productions. A former drummer, Chevalier now focuses on providing sound and lighting for events and groups. As technical director for Knox Concert Series, he recently provided equipment for the Celtic Woman show.
When did you first become interested in music?
I was beating on pots and pans when I was a little kid. I remember tying a string to a lid so I could hit it like a percussive instrument. I had a sister who played guitar; I always wanted to be with her. She would let me drive her car about 50 feet and unload the equipment; I guess I was kind of doomed for this business anyway.
When did you open Chevalier Productions?
I started Chevalier Productions in 1991. Rick Burgess had a show on K98, we were in a band together and he deejayed back when cassettes were the norm. My business provided the sound system so he could deejay.
What is Chevalier Productions?
We wear many hats. We started off as a sound, lighting and rental business. We expanded to a retail business. We also do installation and provide music lessons.
Why are you in the sound and lighting business?
I was a musician. I played in nightclubs and the bar scene in about a three-state area. I owned sound equipment because I had to have it to play. If a friend needed it, I would set it up for them, and they would pay me. Eventually I stopped doing music to focus on the rentals.
What services do you offer?
Sound and lighting rentals, video, staging, guitar amps, bass amps, keyboards, installation services for churches, community event centers, municipal office building, consulting, lessons and retail sales.
What type of events do you provide services for?
Concerts, primarily, and corporate meetings and parties.
What do you do as the owner of Chevalier Productions?
I run the day-to-day operations: communicating with customers and potential clients, driving sales, creating relationships with new clients and booking talent for events.
What is a typical day like for you?
Lots of coffee. I am usually at the office by 8 a.m., and I normally leave around 8 p.m. On weekends, I try not to go to events, but I usually end up working events, which are usually 20-hour days or it could be from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. the next day.
Why do you do this job?
I wanted to be in the music business. I had various jobs that were not music-related, but they have helped me in my business life. I do this job because I have a drive to excel. I want to have the biggest company, the best company. I love being around people. The process is stressful, but I love being here and making people happy. That is the best part of music — when everybody feels good and you know you are doing something right.
Do you remember the first time you felt a connection to a song?
I cannot decipher the first song, but I always enjoyed popular music. Music in general just drew me in. This is so cheesy, but I remember when I was a boy and "Kung Fu Fighting" would come on, I would run around wanting to chop stuff up.
Has Chevalier Productions worked with any acts before they were famous?
We worked with Taylor Swift at Saks High School; we worked with Zac Brown before he blew up. Those are cool connections and fun to see.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at email@example.com.