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Shepherd students learn more than music through job program

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Apr 23, 2021

Far left, Shepherd Recording Project employee Joseph Rupert and far right, SRP student director Isaac Vila, stand beside the performers from the final Salon Series of the 2020-2021 school year in the Frank Center on April 1. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — As Shepherd University faculty members David Drosinos, Yu-Hsuan Liao and Camilo Perez-Mejia warmed up to perform in the final Salon Series of the school year in the Frank Center on April 1, a group of Shepherd University students and faculty were busy behind the scenes, making sure the live-streamed YouTube broadcast would run smoothly.

The group of students and faculty members involved with the recording were part of one of Shepherd University’s student worker programs, the Shepherd Recording Project. Headed up by Shepherd University School of Music Program Assistant Christina Smith and Frank Center Theater Director Chase Molden, the SRP allows students to gain experience in music recording, editing and broadcasting. After the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the School of Music to cancel a number of its performances last year, SRP members agreed with School of Music Director Kurtis Adams’ request to branch out from their previous work, of simply recording concerts for archiving and CD production, and branch out to broadcasting student and faculty concerts online.

“We’ve been happy to keep [the concerts and recitals] going, not that we don’t look forward to having people in the Frank Center again,” Adams said. “Everybody has helped us out, with making this a success, from the IT Department to the Contemporary American Theater Festival.”

“All the video recordings and the livestreams have been done by music majors. They go to concerts and record them, and have always done a nice job,” Adams said, mentioning he has been impressed with their initiative and dedication to their expanded duties, which have allowed Shepherd’s music students to continue gaining performance experience through the pandemic.

SRP employee and music education and performance sophomore Joseph Rupert said he has helped with every concert possible, as long as it fit around his class time.

“This is a massive learning experience,” Rupert said.

For his fellow employee, senior music major and SRP Student Director Isaac Vila, the work experience has been life-changing

“It’s fantastic! It’s a lot of work, but [I find it fulfilling because] it’s something to help people put out the music they’d like to do,” Vila said. “I’m hoping to go to graduate school for sound recording and audio engineering. This has definitely helped me towards that.”

While the Shepherd Recording Project is not closed to students outside of the School of Music, Vila said it seems to attract them the most, as it allows them to develop skills in areas of the music industry that a regular music degree doesn’t offer.

“It gives you the experience to learn how audio and visual work together. It allows you to learn real, marketable skills,” Vila said, mentioning some employees, like him, also explore the technical side of recording. The April 1 Salon Series concert was recorded with microphones he made with his dad over Christmas break.