— GC Pro has been the Ocean County Vocational Technical School Audio Technology program’s partner since its inception, providing it with the right products, platforms, systems, advice and support to enable it to expand and increase its accreditation —
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA — The Audio Technology Program at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School System (OCVTS), in Lakehurst, NJ, provides a challenging academic curriculum for college-prep and adult courses, along with a major in audio production for full time students. The program is literally in its second generation: it was established in 1997 by the late Dennis Bourke, a noted studio owner and engineer in the region and since 2015 has been led by his son, Bill Bourke, along with Zack Slater, himself a graduate of the program and a former student of Dennis’. The mission of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School system is to prepare students for careers or further education, and to that end, the Audio Program has always strived to keep its curriculum and its equipment at the cutting edge, to ready students to enter careers in a fast-changing industry. Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the business-to-business (B2B) division of Guitar Center providing highly customized service for professional accounts, has been its close partner for that entire time. “GC Pro has been our go-to for equipment and expertise for years now, first for my father and now for me,” says Bill Bourke. “Most recently, they were here to upgrade our two Pro Tools systems to Pro Tools HD, which has enabled us to become an Avid Learning Partner and able to provide certifications for our graduates. But my dad was an old-school analog guy, and GC Pro had everything he needed, too. As we grow, they’re there for us.” That’s evident in TechFest, an annual live music festival, a fundraiser that provides scholarship money for the Audio Program. Its sixth edition was held last April in nearby Brick, NJ, and GC Pro provided most of the live-sound technology for the 20 local bands on two stages that operated by the Audio Program’s students. “Now, our students are learning audio for the studio and live, and GC Pro is a big part of that,” says Bourke. Slater adds, “We have always dreamed of giving our students the best real-world experience we can while they are still in high school. GC Pro has helped take our production to the next level and has really enabled us to achieve our goal.” The Audio Program’s growth has been considerable: the two-year, fulltime day course is offered to high school and post-secondary students who can now receive college credit for taking the course. In 2017 it’s scheduled to expand to a four-year full-time academy through the OCVTS Performing Arts Academy. Rick Rivera, GC Pro Account Manager based in East Brunswick, NJ, says it’s been a pleasure to have served the program for so long and watch it grow. “Their TechFest is a great event — the music is great and it helps provide scholarship money for the students, so we’ve been contributing gift certificates and other things to help it along,” says Rivera. “We have more than just a sales and buyer relationship — we care about what they’re trying to do, which is give students a first-class audio technology education that really prepares them for a career in music or theater or live sound or whatever they want to pursue.” The Audio Technology Program at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School has one very unique aspect that students won’t find anywhere else: This campus of the school is located in Hangar One on the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, the very hangar where the ill-fated Hindenburg zeppelin crashed on landing in 1937 (historically seen on the Cover of the Led Zeppelin II album). That disaster took place nearly 80 years ago, but what it left behind is intriguing: a massive hangar whose walls produce incredible reverb effects that Bourke has been sampling over the years, using microphones and systems purchased through GC Pro. “We’re talking about ten-second reverb times,” he marvels. “It would make an amazing plug-in — we’ll call it the Hindenverb.” For more information, please visit http://www.gcpro.com/.