It is my pleasure to serve for another year as SPARS’ president. I want to thank our current board members for a great year of volunteer service: Jeff Greenberg, The Village, L.A.; Karen Brinton, Remote Recording, New York City; Zoe Thrall, Studio at The Palms, Las Vegas; Scott Phillips, Blackbird Studios, Nashville; Eric Johnson, Blazing Music and Sound, Raleigh, N.C.; Andrew Kautz, Love Shack Studios, Nashville; Maureen Droney, The Recording Academy, Santa Monica, Calif.; Mark McKenna, Allaire, Skokan, N.Y.; Lee Foster, Electric Lady Studios, New York City; and Kevin Dillon, Miami.
We have been working on several things this past year including the redesign of our Website, www.spars.com. It is our intention to have a site that not only represents our members in the best possible fashion, but also serves as a resource for the audio recording service community at large. This remains an ambitious project, one that Marcia Vaught-Kautz, our executive director, has been working on for months. We are in talks with a major sponsor and hope to get this revamp under way in the next few months.
We have also received excellent response from our hosted networking social events held in partnership with The Producers and Engineers Wing of The Recording Academy. Their executive director, Maureen Droney, also sits on the SPARS board, and as a result we have had the opportunity to put together several joint events at AES San Francisco 2006 and NAB 2007 (a first for both of us), and we will do so again at AES N.Y. 2007 along with APRS.
Our monthly lunches in New York City have continued under the guidance of past president Karen Brinton. We recently held a lunch to introduce our newest member benefit, a working relationship with Shure Inc. to set up an inventory of gear available to members to “check out” for a time to see if they have any interest. Shure lunches are also planned in Nashville and L.A.
Marcia has been holding quarterly events in Nashville with NAPRS (Nashville Association of Professional Recording Studios). We continue to participate in the annual AES Audio Masters Golf Tournament and the annual block party for the Nashville recording community held each August.
We have also started our Los Angeles lunches again, the most recent one hosted by Don Griffin and West LA Music. We had a wonderful turnout, and it is clear that studio folks like getting together not only to network with each other, but also to get the latest information about new products and innovations in a more relaxed atmosphere.
SPARS board members have also worked to build the organization’s relationship with audio recording educators. Board members have traveled to several member schools, including Full Sail in Orlando, Fla. and the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Ariz., to participate in facility tours, curriculum reviews, student mentoring sessions and student panels. We hope to reach out to other member schools in this same manner. If you are an educator and have interest in this program, then please contact our National Office for more information. SPARS members also actively help intern-placement offices in acquiring internships for both current students and recent graduates of recording programs. In addition, the AES Travel Grant program is a benefit for educators and students alike that has proven an invaluable gateway for students to experience one of the biggest events in our industry, the annual AES Convention. SPARS wants to show its support for the future of our industry, and what better way than to build a relationship with new eager professionals and recent graduates of these schools.
Last, Board Elections are upon us and I look forward to working with several new board members in the coming year. Membership in SPARS, The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services, is open to studio owners, producers, engineers and anyone else involved in professional recording. For more information, contact the organization at 800/771-7727, or visit www.spars.com.
Leslie Ann Jones, Skywalker Sound and SPARS board president