With a $12,000 grant, the San Marcos High School Vocal Music Department will soon install a new music composition and arrangement studio that will allow its students to gain music recording experience using industry standard technology.
The grant was awarded to the school’s Royal Pride Foundation by the Santa Barbara-based Mosher Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations in the areas of education, health care and performing arts, according to a news release.
Eleni Pantages, director of vocal music at San Marcos, expressed excitement at the opportunity to create a recording studio that can be incorporated into the department’s curriculum and “take the program into the next phase of musical development.”
Jessica Ballonoff, executive director of the Royal Price Foundation, said she approached the Mosher Foundation at the end of last summer with the idea of issuing a grant to replace the Vocal Music Department’s old uniforms.
However, that changed when Ms. Pantages was cleaning out a room full of sheet music and thought that the room could be put to better use. She said the $12,000 will be used to buy such equipment as microphones, soundboards, and computers with music editing software such as Pro Tools and Logic.
Currently in her second year of teaching at San Marcos High, Ms. Pantages is an alumnus of the school and its vocal music program. As most college singing programs require some sort of audition tape in their applications, Ms. Pantages anticipates the new recording studio will be especially helpful to students with ambitions to pursue vocal music after high school.
In addition to singing at San Marcos, Ms. Pantages spent her high school days singing in a band that wrote original music. Looking back on that time, she would have loved to have had access to a recording studio as her students soon will.
“It would have been amazing to have a recording of those songs,” she said.
Having also sung professionally, Ms. Pantages said the studio will benefit students who intend on pursuing music careers. Studio gigs are a huge part of working as a professional singer, and San Marcos’ new studio will give students the opportunity to learn how to operate in that environment.
“I wanted the kids to be able to get some experience in a recording situation,” Ms. Pantages said. “It’s valuable to have some knowledge and skill in that area.”
As for how to introduce the new technology into the program, the director said one possibility is incorporating it into the annual “Musical Theatre Marathon,” a fundraiser for which her students each prepare and perform a vocal solo. Once the new equipment is in place, her students will not only perform it, but get it recorded as well.
A completion date for the studio remains tentative, but Ms. Pantages hopes to have the equipment installed by the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. She also hopes the studio will attract more students to take part in the vocal music program.
“Hopefully this might inspire more kids to be involved,” she said.