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Students Gain Valuable Recording Experience From Curb Fellowship

Publication Date: 12/3/2012

Evan Katz ′15

Arrive early at any major campus lecture or concert this year, and you’re likely to see a small group of students setting up recording equipment at the back of the room. These students are part of the Curb Recording Fellowship, now in its second year. Fellows not only record lectures and concert series on campus, but also gain experience recording at various Memphis venues.

The fellowship is sponsored by Rhodes’ Mike Curb Institute for Music, which exists to foster awareness and understanding of the distinct musical traditions of the South. The fellowship has more than tripled in size since it began with three students last year. Jacob Church ’04, a recording engineer at Young Avenue Sound, directs the program.

“While we do have some fellows who want to make a career out of recording, other students are just interested in learning what goes into it,” says Church. “This is a field where you learn best by apprenticeship. We have sessions about the science and technical aspects behind recording, but there is only so much you can read in a book. It really helps to put your hands on it and learn that way.”

Because an integral part of the fellowship is becoming familiar with the acoustics of performance spaces, students work with Church on a variety of recording projects in different locations. For example, fellows have recorded a gospel performance at a local church as well as the concert for the Levitt Shell’s 75th Anniversary.

Evan Katz ’15, who is now in his second year as a fellow and recently completed a recording of the Rhodes Orchestra in the McCallum Ballroom on campus, says, “One of the things I have learned in this fellowship is that when you’re doing live recording, your job is to really show what’s going on in real time, as opposed to a studio recording, where you have the option to stop and start over. It’s so important to make sure you’re ready ahead of time and that you aren’t taking away from the performance with obtrusive microphones or wires.”

Aside from being interested in recording, Katz is a singer and a guitar player and will record a CD with his band, Hiding in the Coatrack, this December with Church’s assistance at Young Avenue Sound. Over the next two months, fellows also will partner with the Rhodes women’s a cappella group, Lipstick on Your Collar, to record and produce a CD.

“Ideally, I hope to be able to show students that making sound your career doesn’t mean you’re going to be confined to sitting up with a rock band until four in the morning,” says Church. “There’s a whole lot more to it than that. Especially here in Memphis where there is such a wide range of things to record.”

At the end of the spring semester, students deliver presentations about their experiences and what they have learned from the fellowship. Church says he hopes the fellowship continues to grow and that student groups recognize it as a reliable resource.

“These students are good at what they do,” says Church. “My goal is to have a group of students who the campus knows they can depend on to provide high quality services and who are as good as anyone you’d hire from outside Rhodes.”

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)

Tags: Arts/Performances, Campus Life, Service, Staff, Students

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