IPR Live Sound & Stage Production Students Seize the Moment

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A very rare and interesting experience landed in Live Lab recently. An old touring friend who was working with a new rising star, Tinashe, contacted me and was is need of a place for this artist to rehearse with her band and dancers.

They were preparing for her world tour. When he came into Live Lab, he was excited to see that we had everything required to fill the needs of the band. Hands were shaken, and the rehearsal was on! He asked for two stagehands, so I pitched it to a few of Live Sound & Show Production students from Live Sound 2 (SP219). Tom Lura, Jonathan Wiener, and Zach Rudolf stepped up to the plate to act as assistants to the crew. It all seemed pretty simple: Come in, be ready, and do as you are told, right?

Well around midnight, really only hours from the rehearsal’s load in, another call came in, this time, it was from a production company out of Chicago. “Can you tell me about your power tie in?” Well, this brought up the big red flag! Why would we need electrical power tie in when we have everything they needed?  Yes, gang, it turned out they really wanted to do a full production rehearsal, and they were bringing in set pieces, video wall, and major amounts of trussing, moving lights, consoles, and set carpenters.

The production equipment was trucked in overnight from Chicago, and at 8:00 am, we proceeded to haul the gear up the small elevators here at IPR. Those pieces that would not fit the elevators had to be carried up the ten flights of stairs to the fifth floor. Once in, the build started, and we could see the scope of what was about to happen, or so we thought. It seemed odd that only one sound engineer was on the tour staff – and this was the front of house position. When we asked who the monitor engineer was, they looked to our students and said, “you are!”

So, with that, Tom Lura agreed to tackle the position. Day one proved to be somewhat more than we anticipated, but what a proud moment for me to see a second quarter student rise to the occasion. The first day also involved programming the lighting and video wall to work along with a Pro Tools session that provided additional backing tracks, all run from time code.

Day two did not disappoint; the tour manager realized he really needed a monitor engineer, so he approached Tom and asked him to join the tour. Once details were discussed, Tom agreed and now is on tour with the band. Congratulations Tom Lura! We will be excited to hear about your journey.

But, Day two got even more interesting. Some of the video content was not completed for the tour, and they needed a voice over from Tinashe, a part that will be broadcast during the show. Here is where Jon Wiener made his contribution. Jon brought her down to Mastermix B, set up and recorded the voice over, I was lucky enough to be in the studio during the session, and Jon was simply masterful, between his Pro Tool chops and his professional demeanor in the studio, the session came off without a hitch. Tinashe felt comfortable and relieved that we could provide exactly what was needed – and she never had to leave the building.

The two-day event was extremely hectic, but our students represented our school like seasoned veterans. They each logged no less than 38 hours each over a two-day period. And they did it with smiles and a “yes I can” attitude. This simple rehearsal turned into something far more than originally planned for, and the fine students at IPR seized the moment, took on the challenge, and great things were accomplished.

Written by Peter Greenlund