On-the-job training

Elon University students help set up concert at The Foundation.
Jan. 28, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

When the audience arrived to see the Eagles Tribute Band at The Foundation at Isothermal Community College (ICC) Saturday evening the lighting was ready and the stage was set. But what the audience didn't know is how much work was put into the production by a sound crew and students from Elon University.

The 12 students in the live sound and recording class at Elon arrived at The Foundation early Saturday afternoon to begin preparing for the evening. They were mounting cameras and preparing the public address (PA) system before 2 p.m.

"We've been learning about this whole process in the classroom so it's nice for them to be a part of a real production," Clay Stevenson, one of the instructors for the class said. "This is the application part of the theory."

Prior to coming to Spindale, the Eagles band requested certain sound equipment that Russell Wicker, executive director of The Foundation, rented from a Greensboro company. The Elon class went to Greensboro and worked to get the sound equipment ready for the concert earlier this week. Once the equipment was prepared, Rick Earl, another instructor, asked Wicker if the class could also come and help set it up the day of the concert.

"We get requirements from the band and we put that bid out there for companies. We take the requirements, gather the equipment and bring it here and we provide a crew to put it together," Wicker said. "These guys (the class) are learning the ropes and we would love to do more of this. It's reflective of the programs we do and the facility we have that we are able to offer this for them and we hope we can do this for some of our students in the future."

This is the first time that Elon is offering this class as a part of its music production and recording arts major. According to Stevenson, the class includes a wide-variety of students who are interested in many future career paths.

"This (The Foundation) is a fantastic facility and it's larger than the one we have at Elon. It's good for the students to see how another facility goes about doing what we've been learning," Stevenson said. "This is all part of the hands-on, experiential learning that Elon focuses on. The idea is at the end of the course they have the basic knowledge to go out and find employment in the life sound field."

Conner D'albora is a junior at Elon and the only girl in the class. It is required as part of her major with a concentration in recording arts.

"It's a really cool class. I'm interested in live sound and that's what I hope to pursue," D'albora said. "There is such a wonderful energy and passion in performances and I want to be a part of it."

"This gives you a different side of things and you get to see everything that goes into it," said student Marcus Brown. "We are gaining professional experience. And this gives you the back story."

The students worked to pre-aim the speakers and shadowed members of the actual crew to learn more about their jobs.

"There's classroom training and on the job training. Until you get out and get it ready, you don't know how to do a show," Wicker said. "There's so many employment opportunities as a technical production person in the industry. Once you've been trained and get experience you can work all the time."

Mike Gavin, director of marketing and community relations at ICC, said the college is pleased to offer this opportunity to students from another higher-learning institution.

"Even though it's not ICC students working on the project it's great that such a prestigious university as Elon recognizes the quality of The Foundation Performing Arts Center and sees that venue as a great training ground for their students," Gavin said. "ICC is about improving life through learning for students, for employees and for the community. In this case it means improving life through learning for students from another higher-learning institution."

For more information about the Music Production and Recording Arts program at Elon visit. www/elon.edu.