Brian Choper is a Musician, Band Manager, and Executive Producer. He is an internationally renowned drummer/percussionist with over 35 years of performance experience with various bands that range everywhere from Folk, Klezmer and Jazz to Rock & Roll, Pop and now the Blues. He is noted as one of the distinguished American drummers for his performance style, where he can either lay back and accompany, or be out front and solo perform. He founded both Gigs For You and Gigs For Good, and is the Executive Producer for the Thunder & Lightning Rock Band (WEC’s in-house band), where he is now collaborating with Lemoyne Alexander from Maroon 5 and St8OfGrace to write originals for this great band.
How Brian Got Started:
When Brian was just 3 years old he started playing the violin. He played for 3 years and decided that it was not the instrument for him. When Brian was 9 he tagged along with his older brother to a junior high school dance. The school band was playing. After watching the band’s drummer all evening, he knew what instrument he wanted to play: the drums, and within three weeks, against the wishes of his parents, began playing them, never looking back. In 1983, he graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt MD (an Award winning music school) at the top of his music class. He went on to earn degrees in music and business. His talents were developed by studying with some truly gifted drummers and percussionists, including George Huttlin starting in 1974, Marshall Maley, and the late Buddy Rich from 1983-1985.
During the next 10 years Brian gained experience by freelancing with many well-known bands and orchestras, including the Prince George’s Philharmonic and folk bands throughout the world. He became the 1st drummer to play with the Capital Klezmers and then joined the Machaya Klezmer Band. In 1997, he joined Nexus, a classic rock & roll band that toured and played festivals and concert halls.
It was about 1995 when he also became interested in promoting bands and artists. He experimented by promoting the bands he was performing with. The assumption was the busier those bands became, the more opportunity he would have to perform with them, and he found great success in doing this. As it turned out, he learned that the quality of the band did not necessarily represent how often they played, but if you had a truly great band and the word got out, they’d be playing all the time. As a result, many of the bands he promoted became nationally known. He also found he enjoyed working them, as he was able to perform more while meeting other promoters, wheelers and dealers.
Washington’s Entertainment Connection:
Taking this to the next level, in 2003 he founded Entertainment Connection, a music agency/artist consultancy…a place where he could sign and manage artists and bands, under his own wing. Two years later, that company became what is known today as Washington’s Entertainment Connection, or “WEC” for short. WEC not only manages musicians and bands, it coaches artists and signs them with his label, Thunder Records. In tandem with this success, Brian started “Gigs For You”, a band coaching wing of the company that coaches and advises musicians, teaching them how to find work.
"Washington's Entertainment Connection, and particularly Owner/Manager Brian Choper with Nexus, were outstanding to work with. Really, truly, outstanding. We are so thrilled to have found such a phenomenal group who really impressed my family and all of our guests during the entirety of our wedding... If you want an outstanding party band, organized and put together just for your specific vision and needs, then Washington's Entertainment Connection is the right place to look. Not only did they rock the ballroom during our reception, but Brian put together a superb trio to play for our cocktail hour. He really knows what he is talking about, and truly listened to everything that we wanted for our special day. I am SO THRILLED we chose to work with Washington's Entertainment Connection."
Gigs For You:
“Gigs for You”, is a non-profit organization that Brian established, working exclusively with hi-level artists. Through this mentoring program, serious musicians can call for assistance on the business side of entertainment. Brian works the coaching in-between his performance schedule. He specifically provides career advice, networking support, and assists musicians and other entertainers towards their career goals.
Gigs For Good:
In 2012, the Gigs For You program was extended through the advice of his brother, Rabbi Carl Choper, who convinced him to start Gigs for Good.
Gigs for Good is a social enterprise (i.e. a for-profit entity organized to incorporate market-principles to create social good…a phrase Brian did not even know until recently, but can be found in Wikipedia), a project of Washington’s Entertainment Connection (WEC), whose purpose is to bring the performance arts to communities in ways that can impact the life of that community for the good. More specifically, the program brings both local professional and renowned stage artists together to perform in settings where they normally would not look to perform, such as in poor or underprivileged neighborhoods, the purpose of this to introduce new cultures, bring communities together, galvanize action, teach and inspire children, raise funds for a worthy cause, or engage an audience consciously in some effort of social betterment.
In 2002 Brian wrote “Entertainment Connection Career Guidebook“. This book outlines the major steps artists should take to start their career, manage a band, and find work as a professional artist. Through the book, he shares his experiences as a performer, band manager, agent, and consultant.
Brian manages and performs regularly with: “The Thunder & Lightning Rock Band“, “Nexus“, “Koh Haruarah Klezmer Band / The New Klezmer Quintet“, “The Jazz Connection“, and “The Choper Jazz Project” .
Brian promotes many bands besides those he performs with. Some of these include: “St8ofGrace”, “New York Minute”, “2 and a Bass”, “The Liverpool Beat” and a host of Duos, Trios and Quartets.
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