The recording studio comes to Highlands
The recording studio comes to Highlands
By Darren Lum
Canoe FM’s latest initiative provides opportunities for Highland music lovers
Talk to anyone in the Highlands who’s produced an album recently and they’ll tell you about trips to studios outside of Haliburton County, like Peterborough.
Everything has changed now with Canoe FM’s studio plan to start a professional recording studio here which will be open to the public.
Worth nearly $30,000, the studio’s pro-grade equipment was purchased with the help of area professionals and with funds raised through community support at the resort by playing Canoe Bingo FM. The studio will also benefit from the expertise of a full-time employee thanks to a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada worth $35,000.
Canoe FM chairman Paul Vorvis said the recordings can be made by anyone who loves music.
“It doesn’t even have to be [related to a] musical career. It may just be people who have an itch that they want to scratch. They want to produce their music and record their music and want to get it out on the air, but there will be a little selection process. It will be a very smooth selection process,” he said.
Less than a week ago, the county-wide Haliburton-based station made its first taping when artists came to record a script for a radio play, which will be broadcast by Canoe FM.
This start is the start and will be part of the momentum the station wants to build for residents who are passionate about having their voices recorded in any capacity through this initiative.
Vorvis said that from the start, it took a year and a half to get it all started.
He said the idea grew out of the station’s mission, which is to feature and promote local musicians.
“We have a lot of talented musicians in the county, but unfortunately a lot of the stuff they’ve recorded isn’t up to the standard that really and truly reflects their talent,” he said. “Maybe it’s done in basement studios and on computers and all that kind of stuff.”
Vorvis, then on the station’s music committee, saw a need.
He submitted a business plan, which included converting Malcolm McLean Radio Hall into a professional recording studio.
This plan, he added, includes the idea that it would work as a “loop”.
“We would attract young people and other musicians, and other community groups, not just musicians. It could be choirs or church groups and we get them in and into Canoe FM and be able to record their music and then we could distribute it through NCRA (National Campus and Community Radio Association ), at national scale. He adds that it could provide the necessary help to promote the musicians, which could be an important step in their career.
The hiring of a new production employee, Marcus Thompson, in September was significant since the station’s current engineer, Ron Murphy, simply did not have the time.
“Ron has a lot of expertise, but he doesn’t have the time to do it, so we thought we could hire someone who could be dedicated to this project,” he said.
Thompason is a graduate of Humber College’s music program. He is a jazz player and trumpeter, and has parents with musical training, as teachers and musicians. They live in Haliburton.
Candidates for the position came from Ontario, but also from as far away as New Brunswick and Montreal.
The position includes not only studio operations, but also marketing the studio and training volunteers to ensure there are people to support once the contract ends in a year. This station focuses on building “momentum” to ensure the community seizes the opportunity.
Vorvis said: “There is a buzz there. We do not yet know how this will translate, but we are optimistic.
Marketing efforts will include high school students to ensure young people are aware of the opportunity.
Anyone interested in recording should contact Thompson at Canoe FM. He will plan sessions, which will be preceded by a pre-production meeting to determine the objectives. For now, there are no specific criteria.
“We want to keep it open enough. We don’t want to discourage anyone at this point. We do in fact – at least the first six months, then reassess – but it will be free of charge. And then once we get started and get some credibility, we’ll look at that and decide. We are not going to use [the studio] as a profit-generating center. We could go into cost recovery mode. For the first six months, we’re just happy to record stuff and push the project forward,” Vorvis said.