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Berklee Wins ‘Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition’

A five-member team from the Music Production and Engineering department at the Berklee College of Music won Shure's third annual “Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition.”

From left: Kevin Brewer, Jorge Velasco, Miguel Lara, Mike Laglia, Ian Kagey, Farah Siraj and Professor Rob Jaczko pose in one Berklee’s live rooms with a few Shure mics used on their winning recording.

A five-member team from the Music Production and Engineering department at the Berklee College of Music won Shure’s third annual “Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition.” Kevin Brewer, Ian Kagey, Mike Laglia, Miquel Lara and Jorge Velasco—with faculty advisor, Professor Rob Jaczko—won this year’s contest with an original composition by Farah Siraj entitled “Pienso En Ti.”

“This year’s competition combined some of the most incredible work and some of the most esteemed judges in the competition’s short history,” says Shure market development specialist Dave Mendez, who coordinated the competition. “We’re always filled with anticipation to get a chance to listen to what the schools have created using the locker of Shure mics we provided. We’d like to congratulate the winning team from the Berklee College of Music and thank the students from all of the schools who participated.”

The other competing teams were from American University, Appalachian State University, William Paterson University, University of Michigan, Indiana University, Ohio University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lebanon Valley College and Shenandoah University.

Each of the 10 student teams worked on a recording project that required tracking and mixing a performance using a “microphone locker” provided by Shure for the competition. Teams submitted a stereo mix for review by a panel of industry professionals who were selected by Shure to judge the competition.

“Even though the students have had four years of experience doing this type of work in the studio, it’s unique to have the amount of time and yet the restriction of the palette of microphones provided by Shure to work with,” says Professor Jaczko, chair of Berklee’s Music Production and Engineering department. “The team really had to combine all of their skills for this competition. Musical skills, technical skills and critical listening skills were all put together with a single goal in mind. From my vantage point, I liked seeing the team go through that, and I liked watching it come along. I think it’s a great point of reference, and it certainly would be something good for us to use for future students.”  

The judges for the competition were Chuck Ainlay, Steve Albini, Mike Fraser, Ryan Hewitt and Trina Shoemaker, who evaluated the recordings based on their overall fidelity, clarity and sonic balance—as well as creativity in selection and placement of microphones.

As the winning school, the Berklee College of Music takes ownership of the entire Shure microphone locker, comprising one Beta 52A, one Beta 91, three Beta 98D/Ss, two KSM27s, two KSM32s, two KSM44s, two KSM141s, four SM57s, one SM7B, one VP88, and one A27M. The entire microphone package is valued at more than $12,000. In addition, Shure will donate $3,000 toward a scholarship fund for the winning school, and each member of the winning team will receive a KSM27, valued at $575.

For more information, visit Shure at and Berklee College of Music at