December 7, 2023

Recognize that voice? You probably do if you are at a California Baptist University athletic event. The voice is distinct.

It is the “Voice of the Lancers.” Do you know the man behind the voice? Maybe, but you might know him by his other name: “Chapel Guy.”

Brett Vowell, director of Chapel, became “Chapel Guy” when he took a position with Spiritual Life in 2003.

He became the “Voice of the Lancers” when the athletics staff asked him to do the public address announcing for a men’s water polo game in 2012. Vowell said he told athletics, “I think you’ve got the wrong guy.”

It turns out they had the right guy because Vowell has now announced every CBU sport, with the exception of swim and cheer.

“I just gradually learned what to look for, what to say and just the craft,” Vowell said.

Vowell now focuses on announcing indoor sports. While his background is not in athletics, participation in theater and music has helped prepare him for the public-address role.

He recalled a dramatic reading of “By the Waters of Babylon” during his college days as one of the first times people acknowledged that his deep, resonating voice was tailor-made for the announcing microphone.

“My voice, having the deeper voice, is a little bit different and unique, and I’ve learned how to control it and use it well,” Vowell said.

Over time, Vowell became better known as “Voice of the Lancers” instead of “Chapel Guy.”

“I see people out in the community and at my church and they say, ‘Oh, Voice of the Lancers,’” Vowell said. “I hold it as an honorable title but I always feel a little shy or boastful if I say I’m the ‘Voice of the Lancers.’”

Originally from Oklahoma, Vowell came to California for three years of seminary. He has now lived here for 20 years and has been at CBU long enough to see significant growth in the student body.

“That’s what attracted me (to CBU) from the very beginning. Coming to CBU, just the students that I met and that’s continued to be true. That’s what causes me to continue here at CBU and motivates me in my work, whether it be in Chapel or with athletics,” Vowell said. “We have a great campus and a great student body.”

He also said he enjoys interacting with the fans, the Crazies and alumni that come back for CBU sporting events.

“There’s the team on the floor but you also have this team on the perimeter that you have to coordinate yourself,” Vowell said. “What’s being said on the mic, you’re not wanting to overstep what’s being said or done with the Crazies, with the band or with the cheer team.”

“A lot of that is planned out on paper but there has to be just kind of this unspoken communication,” Vowell said.

Vowell also acknowledged the changes, like the move into the Events Center, in Lancer athletics will bring some adjustments for him as the public-address announcer.

“I got a little bit of a warm-up at the Tip-Off Dinner last week. That was the first behind the mic in that space as the ‘Voice of the Lancers,’” Vowell said.

Another change is the anticipated move to Division I competition next season.

“I hope I’m up to the challenge,” Vowell said. “I’m open to improving and learning how best to speak at the games at that level.”

When Vowell is not “Chapel Guy” or the “Voice of the Lancers,” you can probably find him taking in a movie at a local theater. However, Vowell has no plans to step away from the mic anytime soon.

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