High school students get in harmony at recording studio

By Lauren Michelsen
GCU News Bureau

Forty students from Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley, Ariz., near Tucson, loaded a bus and eagerly hit the road Friday. Their destination? The Grand Canyon University recording studio for the chance to record, mix and take home a CD of their work from that day.

Mark Hodge, the high school’s department chair and music director, said the students were looking forward to the experience. “Once you get a CD you can say, ‘I’m a recorded artist.’ They’re pretty excited about that.”

After a tour of campus and lunch, students were eager to take a peek at the studio. Oohs and ahhs were audible as they made their way into the large, open room. Many pulled out their phones to take pictures and commemorate the moment.

Studio Manager Eric Johnson gave the group his full attention for their time there. “I love doing this kind of stuff,” he said, which was apparent as he explained the ins and outs of the equipment.

After much anticipation, it was time to record. The 10 students from the school’s jazz class began to play Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” as 30 students from the Music and Recording Technology class watched from behind the glass, getting a front-row seat for the mixing and recording process.

Sounds of saxophones and trumpets filled the air. As feet tapped and heads bobbed, it seemed there was a consensus among the students, who all agreed “it sounded really good” as the first song ended.

“The mix sounds great, dude!” said Ezard Garcia, who plans to pursue a career in audio engineering. The chance to record a CD and observe the way it comes together is a great opportunity for the students to “learn by doing,” Hodge said. The band recorded two songs in its session and got to take its CD home that day.

Not only has GCU’s recording studio been beneficial to students majoring in music arts, it has created a ministry opportunity for others to experience campus and further the dream of higher education and, of course, music. The Ironwood Ridge students were given a high quality experience, and there’s no denying they will ever forget this.

Contact Lauren Michelsen at (602) 639-6703 or [email protected].

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