Will the Real Walter Holland Please Stand!

Walter Holland is an impressive individual with diverse talents and accomplishments. He has made significant contributions across multiple fields as an artist, engineer, educator, composer, and musician. His work in modernizing synthesized music, advancing art education, achieving technical breakthroughs, and creating sought-after works of art have made a lasting impact on the world. His innovative approaches are impressive, and his legacy will continue influencing and inspiring future generations.

Ordinary High School Years. Maybe Not!

Walter was always a curious and creative child who looked at life as a series of inquiries in his quest for truth, information, and knowledge. Growing up in Sacramento, Walter had a close-knit family, including his parents, Walter and Carol, and two brothers.

His aptitude for analytical exploration, investigative thought process, strength in logical reasoning, and systematic problem-solving helped him excel in anything he was interested in, especially art, music, and electronics.

One of Walter’s early influences was his Uncle Lee, who significantly impacted his interests and career path. Lee was a talented painter and watching him work surely sparked Walter’s life-long interest in painting. Lee worked at one time, in electronics and would often bring home gadgets and electronic equipment. The two would deconstruct, analyze, and reconstruct various radios, televisions, toasters, etc. Lee owned a then-cutting-edge Hi-Fi Stereo, which no doubt sparked Walter’s enduring interest in music. In addition, Lee was a pilot and introduced Walter to the intriguing world of aerospace and aviation.

Uncle Lee was indeed an incredibly influential person. He had a way of inspiring Walter and to expose him to things that would remain in his heart for life. Lee’s effect on Walter’s sense of humor, musical, artistic, and technical pursuits was profound, and it ultimately led him to a successful career that he’s enjoyed for over 45 years.

Interestingly, the name Walter Holland may seem ordinary at first glance, but it’s associated with the remarkable qualities of strength, courage, and leadership. It’s fascinating to see how individuals of the same name collectively influence the world thanks to their unique abilities.

Other notable Hollands include a writer, author, and poet who has a way with words that captivates readers, a photographer who captures stunning images that convey emotion and beauty, an actor who has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry, the inventor of the submarine who changed the course of history, Walter Holland and Sons, the famous English pie company, and Dr. Walter Holland, the renowned British epidemiologist who made significant contributions to the field of public health.

Richard Watson, of Amber Route

From a young age, Walter was passionate about painting and music, and by the time he got to high school, people were beginning to notice his skills in visual arts.

After High School Graduation, Walter was thrilled to receive a Presidential Scholarship to the Department of Art at Chapman University for all four years. That scholarship allowed him to immerse himself in his art and was an experience he will always treasure.

The High School Years

From a young age, Walter was passionate about painting and music, and by the time he got to high school, people were beginning to notice his skills in visual arts.

From Walter’s perspective, he had an ordinary childhood, and high school was no exception. Little did he know that his art, music, and electronics talents would shape him to create an exceptional life.

As a self-taught guitarist, Walter had other musical friends and started performing in bands. He built his first Music Synthesizer and started exploring electronic sounds in his early years – to this day; he loves the feeling of getting lost in a good jam session.

Inspirational Friends, Mentors, and Professors

As Walter’s talent in art continued to flourish, his interest in electronics also broadened. John Yules, his Professor in Physics, helped him build computerized music equipment, and his design of music synthesizers started to catch fire. “With John Yules’ guidance, I felt like I was born into the electronics and engineering world,” says Walter.

Walter’s original plan was to study chemistry, but that plan took a sharp turn in just one afternoon. A visiting professor from Chapman University, Bill Boaz, was auditing Walter’s art class and was “blown away” by one of his paintings. That one-afternoon changed the trajectory of Walter’s life.

Professor Boaz saw something extraordinary in Walter and his art, encouraging him to study art at Chapman instead of chemistry. If fact, Professor Boaz submitted Walter’s works to Bank of America, and Walter was honored with the Bank of America Achievement Award for his art.

The Chapman Experience

On Walter’s first day at Chapman, he met a man that would quickly become a lifelong friend, advisor, and co-band member: Richard A. R. Watson, Ph.D., Professor of Communication Studies. “Richard had a quirky personality that charmed many of his students. His creative spirit challenged them to think in new ways and see the discipline through fresh eyes,” said Chapman Chancellor Daniele Struppa of Dr. Watson.

While teaching English and Communications, Dr. Watson taught various courses, including literature, science, and film, to communication theory. He was always interested in using innovative techniques with flash animation, music, poetry, and science fiction. Watson was a true renaissance man who taught futurology and predicted what the world would be like in 2000 years.

Soon after meeting, despite their different backgrounds, they bonded over their mutual love of music. They jammed together frequently—Watson, a clarinet player and keyboardist, and Walter, a guitar player in their band Amber Route.

The Amber Route Story

Amber Route began to play casually at Chapman’s historic horseshoe theater twice weekly, and fans began to take notice of their unique sound. Growing in popularity, Amber Route started playing live shows and then recorded and released three albums.

What’s incredible about the Amber Route story is that Walter and Dr. Watson only had each other as live musicians, yet by adding their newly built synthesizers, they had enough instruments to fill out an entire orchestra. Their music took off, and they became a sensation. Walter learned at a young age what can happen when two people with a shared vision and passion come together.


Fascinated by line, form and the workings of color and light, and how to apply them independently, Walter began his studies at Chapman University in Fine Art. In each subject he studied, he experienced small class sizes and individual professor instruction, which allowed him to expand his analytical exploration, investigative thought, logical reasoning, and systematic problem-solving skills.

After finishing his 4-Year run at Chapman, Walter earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Fine Arts and Communications along with a Minor in Electronics.

After College, Walter returned to Chapman as a Professor, Across the disciplines he taught, he helped students explore the world of chromatics, which is centered around the study of color and light. Chromatics focuses on how light interacts with matter, and its impact on how we perceive objects, materials, and scenes. Texture and color are two key factors that shape our perception and interpretation of the world around us. These areas of interest fuel his passions in Art, Music, and Engineering, which he incorporates into his work today.

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