Jonas Brothers Bring 2 CSUN Music Alums on World Tour

  • CSUN alumnus Fabian Chavez '15 (left), accompanies Joe Jonas on tenor saxophone on the Jonas Brothers' "The Tour" in 2023. Photo by Ashley Gellman.

  • CSUN alumna Danica Pinner sits center stage playing the cello with Jonas Brothers surrounding her.

    CSUN alumna Danica Pinner '14 plays the cello at center stage, on tour with the Jonas Brothers. Photo by Miles Leaves.

  • Fabian Chavez plays the tenor saxophone while singer Kevin Jonas plays the guitar interacts.

    Fabian Chavez (left) plays the tenor saxophone alongside Kevin Jonas on the Jonas Brothers' "The Tour" in 2023. Photo by Ashley Gellman.

  • Danica Pinner sits with her cello at center stage among the Jonas Brothers while a green fluorescent light shines down on her.

    Alumna Danica Pinner (seated), with her cello at center stage, on tour with the Jonas Brothers. Photo by Ashley Gellman.

Bright lights, thousands of screaming fans — dream job. For CSUN alumni Fabian Chavez ’15 (Saxophone Performance/Jazz) and Danica Pinner ’14 (Cello Performance), this isn’t some distant fantasy. It’s right now, as the pair of early 30somethings tour with the Jonas Brothers.

“My work is my life, music is my life,” Chavez said.

The alumni, who met as classmates in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, toured North America on the Jonas Brothers’ “The Tour” in 2023 — and, starting this summer, will criss-cross the globe on the pop-rock band’s upcoming “Five Albums. One Night. The World Tour,” experiencing different cultures and doing what they love. Chavez accompanies the band on the tenor saxophone, and Pinner plays the cello.

Pinner began playing with the brothers at the Hollywood Bowl shows on their reunion tour, “Happiness Begins,” in 2019. She had worked with Nick Jonas previously and received a call from the band’s music director, who asked her to join “The Tour.” Chavez was tapped to join the group’s backing musicians in July 2023 by a mutual friend, the group’s pianist.

CSUN helped give Chavez and Pinner a world-class music education, they said, but the university also developed them as well-rounded individuals.

“What I took with me [from CSUN] is how to keep good relationships with people … and music is highly collaborative,” Pinner said. She learned how to connect her instrument to her voice in a jazz improv course, and she credited CSUN professors with teaching her responsibility and how to work with others — something for which she remains grateful.

Chavez looked back at his time with CSUN faculty, including Gary Pratt — professor emeritus of music and former co-director of the university’s renowned Jazz Studies Program — as inspiring, motivating and reassuring. Pratt frequently told students to “be the person [they] are and be confident in that,” Chavez recalled.

Transitioning from their time as students to life on the road as touring musicians was a drastic change. Adjusting to the travel schedule was challenging. Their routine typically consists of playing a show, and then getting on a tour bus and waking up in a new city every day — while sometimes going months without seeing their families.

“But the moment we step on stage, it’s time to party,” Pinner said. They genuinely love the music they’re performing, making their job that much more thrilling, both musicians agreed. Chavez described the shows as a “party, [a] spectacle — and memorable.”

Both musicians already have racked up a long list of credits with some of pop’s biggest names. Pinner has played cello live at the Greek Theatre for Avril Lavigne, for Christina Aguilera at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards, for Lewis Capaldi live on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and many more. Chavez has played flute for six songs on Tyler, the Creator’s recent album, “Call Me If You Get Lost,” and saxophone on the song “Ladders” by Mac Miller, among others.

Both offered advice to aspiring musicians — especially those who want to work in Hollywood and beyond: Say ‘yes’ to every opportunity, support other musicians and, “aside from being a good musician,” be a good colleague.

As working musicians on the world’s biggest stages, they understand that they’re creating memories and evoking emotions.

“Any opportunity I get to make people feel something, makes me happy and full,” Chavez said.

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