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McNally Smith Alumni in New York City!

Three representatives of McNally Smith College of Music’s Technology Department, Rob Schlette, Chopper Black, and Bryan Forrester, recently attended the Audio Engineering Society’s 127th Convention at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. As expected, the trio scoured the exhibit hall for all the information they could absorb about new technologies and equipment, they participated in a multitude of informational seminars and discussions, networked with old friends and industry professionals, and they helped spread the word about all that McNally Smith has to offer. But, what wasn’t expected was the sheer number of McNally Smith alumni that the three would run into.

On the very first day of the convention while walking back to the hotel, Bryan and Rob literally ran into Wes Jones on the streets of New York. Wes was the very first graduate (Summer 2009) of the new Bachelors of Science – Music Producer program. He is interning at Platinum Sound, Wyclef Jean’s studio in midtown Manhattan. Bryan commented, “Out of nine million people in New York City at this moment, how is it possible that we happen to run into one of our alumni?” As it turns out, another of the Tech program’s graduates, Kevin Schinstock (Production AAS graduate 2009), has also been interning at Platinum Sound along with an internship at Universal Music Group. Kevin and Wes invited their old instructors to a studio party that evening hosted by Platinum Sound and Vintage King Audio. Many industry luminaries and equipment developers were in attendance, so the chance encounter on the streets turned out to be a valuable one.

Later that evening Dan Wheeler (Production AAS graduate 2002), met up with the group. Dan is a former employee of McNally Smith’s record lab office and is the artist responsible for all the fantastic paintings hanging around in the hallways of the college. Dan caught them up on all the latest in his burgeoning career as a musician/artist/animator/web designer in New York. You can see examples of Dan’s work at DWheeler Designs website; Dan also shared some great insights into how the H1N1 virus has been affecting day to day life in New York City.

The second day of the convention brought even more alumni surprises! Mike Scott, (Live Sound Diploma graduate 2005) was working in the Latch Lake Audio booth and he showed them the entire line of Latch Lake gear. Latch Lake makes very high quality microphone stands for studio use along with some of the world’s finest slides for slide guitar. Another graduate, Jesse Marks (Production AAS graduate 2005), was in attendance on behalf of his employers, Pixel Farm, here in the Twin Cities. Jesse now works in the audio studios at Pixel Farm and has been recording, mixing, and creating music for film, TV, and radio commercials. While strolling through the exhibit floors, the trio ran into yet another graduate, Vyacheslav Kuharchuk (we all call him “Slavik”, BA Music Business student 2009). Slavik is now living in New Jersey and is in partnership in an up and coming recording studio. He said he was there just checking out all the new gear.

It just so happened that Debbie Sandridge from McNally Smith’s Career Center was in New York City at the same time to continue developing relationships with host companies for McNally Smith’s students’ internship possibilities. Debbie invited the trio to a nice dinner to discuss strategies and upcoming plans. But in addition, Hiromi Okaniwa (Recording AAS graduate 2009) was able to join the group for a few hours. Hiromi is now living in New York City and working in an art gallery in Brooklyn. Hiromi was very happy to meet up with her old instructors, if nothing else just to see a smiling, familiar face.

To reflect back, the 127th AES Convention was a very worthwhile and educational experience in a professional sense. But, the most gratifying aspect was the satisfaction of seeing so many graduates succeeding in the paths they began here at McNally Smith College of Music!