Staff Spotlight: Chris Jovanelli

Being coached in little league by author Stephen King was not the start of an illustrious career in baseball for Chris Jovanelli. Instead, a line drive and broken nose confirmed that his choice to focus on music was the way to go.

Raised in a family of musicians in Bangor, Maine, Chris has known music his entire life. His mother played piano and sang in the church choir while his father was a gifted guitarist. Naturally, his talents gravitated toward playing an instrument as well. Drums were his thing, and he made his rounds playing gigs throughout Maine and Vermont for much of his life.

Through the years of playing with various bands, Chris turned his attention to the technical side of live sound production and studio recording. Those skills would eventually evolve further at the University of Maine, where he studied media production.

Upon graduation, he served as a production assistant for Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and as a camera operator for the Portland Sea Dogs, a Boston Red Sox minor league affiliate. Those experiences led to a Digital Video Manager position, in charge of post-production services and online distribution for content such as Downton Abbey, American Experience, RuPaul’s Drag Race, 30Rock Pokémon, Naruto, and hundreds of other film and television titles.

After years in this position and on the way home from a visit to his wife’s family in Columbus, OH, an impromptu side trip led Chris and his family to Pittsburgh. They immediately fell in love with the city. A year later, they were in search of work to be closer to family.

Chris recounted that “when running down the list of possible places to move, Pittsburgh was high on the list. It was just one of those things when I saw the job posting at the School of Drama pop up. Once, in a while, you come across a position where you read through the job requirements and can check most of the boxes. It gets you excited about the possibilities and encourages you to apply.”

This fall marks Chris’ third year serving as the School of Drama’s Media Supervisor, where he provides audiovisual support for classes, production, and events. He also oversees video documentation of all productions in the Purnell Center for the Arts, manages A/V equipment lending and training to faculty and students, and works on various video projects to support the School.

“There is not a day that goes by where I am not thankful to have found a place here. I learn new things every day. I meet new people every day. I get to know people better every day. Since I first came here, I have been overwhelmed by the feeling of kindness and acceptance – no matter who you are or where you come from – I do my best to keep this feeling in the forefront of my mind, and try to reflect this spirit as much as I can.”

Photo by Louis Stein.