Now that we are several weeks into the summer, following my first year as Director of Recording Technology at UWO, I have been reflecting on what a fun and crazy year it’s been. I have said that going from one university to another is kind of like being in a foreign country. You know what you want to do, but it’s like learning a whole new language.
There was a lot of learning and growth that happened this year, and I really feel like I’m on the ground floor of building upon something really fantastic. With that said, here’s a list of some of the highlights from the 2015-2016 school year:
Classes: I spent a lot of time and effort re-working classes for the structure of our Music Industry program, and I’m really liking how the shape of the program is coming into focus. The courses that I taught were Recording Tech I-II, Audio for Video, Recording Studio Procedures, Session & Mixdown Techniques, Music Industry Operations, Recording Practicum, and Internships. The courses included some phenomenal student recordings and performances.
Studio Upgrade: We have some great recording studio spaces at the university Arts & Communications building, but the facilities were in need of upgrades. Our program was generously granted funding to do a number of important upgrades, including adding a digital interface and Pro Tools system to the main studio, among many other improvements. This was a long and challenging process, but it has made the studio an extremely productive working environment that the students took advantage of all throughout the year.
Guest Visits: I was so thrilled to invite so many alumni and industry professionals to speak with classes during the past year. Many talented and successful people graciously agreed to share their insight, including Landon Arkens, Tony Anders, Ryan Romenesko, Kelsey Johnson-Fischer, Ryan Berman, Jacob Sveum, Carlos Lewison, and our very own, Wally Messner.
Music Industry Program Promotion: I wanted to do whatever I could to make as many people aware of our program as possible. Therefore, some of the initial steps that I took included creating a Music Industry Blog, Facebook page, and YouTube video. Hopefully that’s only the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come down the road.
Sound production for the Chancellor’s Installation Ceremony: One of the first major challenges that I was faced with right out of the gate was to help with sound for music performances for a ceremony held at a large hangar at the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) grounds. The event was to officially introduce Dr. Andrew Leavitt as the 11th chancellor of the University. I’m glad to say that everything went off without a hitch, and the musical performers received a lot of recognition and praise.
Performance at Musica Viva: This year, the UWO Music Department produced it’s 6th “Musica Viva” concert. This event is a fundraiser for music scholarships, as well as a means of showcasing the incredible talent of the students and university faculty. I was asked if I was interested in performing at the event, which prompted the idea to perform a piece by Stephen Foster, based on my album project. I approached student Ryan Lindley, who is also a leader of several a cappella groups on campus. He took the challenge of arranging the piece, “Hard Times Come Again No More”, and the group, called “Musicopian”, brilliantly performed the piece at the concert.
Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra Recording: One of my final major projects of the year was to record a live concert featuring an original symphony by a legendary local composer, John Harmon. The symphony is entitled, “Crazy Horse”, chronicling the life of the famous Lakota Native American leader. The concert was a huge success and truly impressive and inspiring. The orchestra plans to produce a concert recording release.
There are several other major projects in the works that I’m waiting to talk about just yet, but needless to say it was a very busy year. I’m looking forward to both a relaxing and productive summer, and am also anticipating an exciting 2016-2017 school year in the Music Industry program!