The Octagon

Connor Burns Recording Studio opens by recording two Country Day groups

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Shimin Zhang
Chamber advisor Felecia Keys and juniors Allison Zhang (middle) and Chardonnay Needler (right) arrange the stands before recording on Jan. 25.

The long-awaited Connor Burns Recording Studio is finally finished. On the evening of Jan. 25, an opening ceremony was held in the middle school quad.

This project was initiated by Steven Burns, to commemorate his son, seventh grader Connor, who died in March 2015.

“(Connor) loved rock and roll,” Burns said. “I realized he wasn’t just teaching himself how to play guitar and play rock and roll – he was actually using his laptop to record himself.

“He would watch (his recording) and play it again to make it better. He was actually going through the steps you go through in a music recording studio.”

The construction of the recording studio began two years ago when the middle school science room was moved to the recently finished Middle School Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology. Room 16 was then split into the middle school Latin room and the recording studio.

For the opening ceremony, a chamber ensemble recorded “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla, which is one of Piazzolla’s most famous tangos. The chamber ensemble was the high school piano trio, comprised of junior Chardonnay Needler (cello), junior Allison Zhang (violin) and senior Atsuo Chiu (piano).

“There is a lot of room for individual expression in this piece, which (the performers) all do very well,” orchestra teacher Felecia Keys said.

The high school jazz band recorded “Mas Que Nada” by Sergio Mendez.

“Mas Que Nada” is a Brazilian samba with a Latin groove to the music, band director Bob Ratcliff said.

The rhythm section of the jazz band, which includes guitar, bass, and drums, recorded first and laid down a track for the next group to listen and record their part on top of, Ratcliff said.

During the event, a buffet of food was provided as well as wine. Heaters were set up in the middle school quad, and the recording done inside the studio was played throughout the ceremony.

The faculty will be trained to use the new equipment so students can learn to use the recording studio, head of school Lee Thomsen said.

Thomsen also said middle school French teacher Eric Hennion has experience with remixing music and will teach a new remix elective next year using the studio.

—By Ming Zhu

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