Cheers to the Sound Engineers!

I spent the day working on “social distance sound”; both my own and others’. I run in a community of educators and teachers who, like many people in the country, have been thrown into a world of having to have what amounts to a television studio in their apartments. We’re all grabbing all the equipment we’ve gathered over the years and we’re trying to make a go of it as best as we can. It’s been a couple weeks of experimenting with mic placement, charging and recharging our phones, moving lamps around our apartments, turning off radiators and covering windows with bedsheets to gain some control of the audio and visual of online music education and concerts.

All this work has got my mind on all of the sound engineers that I’ve worked with over the years, including one in particular; my friend Dave Unger.

About four years into our journey, the Young Stracke All-Stars (my youth folk band) was really cookin’ and we started to get some high profile gigs. And the people that were asking us to play, wanted to hear our music! We’d spent four years cutting our teeth playing small venues like the Lincoln Restaurant where we didn’t need amplification.

But, with the introduction of better gigs came the need to use a sound system properly.

With that in mind the great Chicago sound engineer ,Dave Unger, to lend us a hand. I made a vocabulary list (with a crossword puzzle!) and some drawings, the band invited some friends and Dave spent the afternoon helping us understand how mics, amplifiers and mixing boards work.

It was a very fruitful day! Over the next 7 years of the band’s travels we never had another proper Live Sound workshop, the band members who received this training were able to train the following generation. And those members were able to pass it along to the next members and on we went!

So, I write all of this just to say cheers to Dave and cheers to all the sound engineers who also got the rug pulled out from under them in this challenging situation. Us musicians already knew that you had a big job and a lot of expertise and now it’s even more clear. We’re stuck at home without you, and our sound suffers for it. I think I can speak for pretty much every musician I know when I say that we’ll all be too happy to put some of this work back in your capable hands.

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