About this series: The Downtown Boxing Gym is incredibly proud of our 100% high school graduation rate – a track record of success that has continued every year since 2007 thanks to the hard work and dedication of our students, staff and volunteers. As graduation approaches, we’re celebrating our Class of 2018 seniors and their bright futures.
Dorian Hogan entered the Downtown Boxing Gym as an aspiring boxer. He leaves as a talented young pianist and budding music producer.
Hogan, a senior at River Rouge High School who turned 18 in May, is largely self-taught on the ivories. He learned to play by ear and learned the very basics on the gym’s piano from Ivan Moshchuk, a visiting concert pianist.
“He learned A, B, C, D, however it goes… I’m not a pianist, so I don’t know,” said Dorian’s mother, Tamika Hogan, who works as the boxing gym's transportation coordinator among other duties. “And Moshchuk also taught him a couple tunes like the alphabet and stuff like that. After he left, [Dorian] just continued to play and play. And one day Khali [Sweeney, the Downtown Boxing Gym's founder and CEO] came to me and said, ‘Tamika, come here and hear Dorian play the piano.’”
Dorian learned to play classical piano standards like Beethoven’s “Für Elise” and “Moonlight Sonata.” He also started playing R&B songs.
“What I learned about him is as long as he could hear the song, it only took him a day [to learn to play it],” said Tamika. “Every day, he learned a new song to play. It was like he had full training... it was amazing."
From there, famed music producer Jeff Bass, who produced Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” heard about Dorian and donated the boxing gym's music studio, complete with a recording booth and pro music production tools. You can learn more about the music studio in the video above.
When Dorian came to the boxing gym five years ago, it was to box, Tamika says. And boxing was good to him, taking him to places like Ireland to compete in tournaments, where he did well, advancing to the championship level in several tournaments before suffering defeat.
But, music is now his passion.
His family has opened up its own studio and record label, called Project 28, in an office building in Oak Park. Dorian works as a producer and makes beats for the label, which records R&B, hip hop and inspirational music.
Tamika, who has two other sons, says she’s excited to see her youngest child spread his wings and graduate.
"I’m excited to say I’ve got three high school graduates," she says. "I’m very proud of that.”
Congratulations, Dorian and all of our Downtown Boxing Gym graduates. The future is looking bright for the Class of 2018!