Proposed floor plan for redone room 16.

Music studio to be erected in memory of seventh grader

(Image used by permission of Stephen Burns)
Proposed floor plan for redone room 16.

A recording studio is being built in memory of Connor Burns, a seventh grader who died last year.

The studio will take up one-third of room 16 in the middle-school quad. The other two-thirds will become the new middle-school Latin room.

The construction project, which began on Feb. 20, could be finished as soon as the end of Spring Break. The official name will most likely be “The Connor Burns Music Studio,” according to headmaster Stephen Repsher.

The building is being redone by Ken Dyer Construction. Dyer is a close friend of Stephen Burns, Connor’s father.

Initially, many families donated to a fund set up by the school for a project to honor Connor.

That’s when the Burns family came up with the idea of a recording studio.

“Connor taught himself to play both the acoustic and the electric guitar,” his father said. “He would listen to rock songs, and pick out the riffs and chords and play and sing along.”

And, Connor often recorded himself to improve his ability to play and sing, Burns said.

Connor’s interest in the middle school’s History of Rock ‘n’ Roll elective was another driving force in choosing to build the music studio.

“Connor was really interested in finding out what influenced certain groups,” elective teacher Brian Billings said. “He loved Led Zeppelin. And he wanted to find out who or what influenced them.”

To raise money for the studio, a fundraiser was held on Dec. 10 at the Track Shack, a recording studio owned by parent Chuck Hansen.

Nevertheless, the project hasn’t been fully financed yet.

“The studio and all of the state-of-the-art equipment that will be in it will be expensive,” Burns said.

Repsher said the recording studio will be open to all K-12 students.

Students in band, orchestra or chorus, or even students who want to form their own rock band, will be encouraged to use the facility.

Felecia Keys, orchestra and choir teacher, said she will have multiple uses for the studio.

To audition for honor orchestra, students now record themselves in band teacher Bob Ratcliff’s office. Students who wish to submit material to The Glass Knife record there too. Sometimes the quality of these recordings isn’t very good, Keys said.

More importantly, the music studio will allow Keys’s musicians to improve. Right now Keys records her students so she can study their performance.

“With the studio a group of kids can go record and listen to themselves while I’m in class,” Keys said. “It also (will allow) students to recognize what they need to improve by themselves.”

After the remodeling, the current middle-school Latin room (20) will become the new makerspace (a physical location where people gather to share resources  and knowledge).

A middle-school elective and an after-school program currently use the makerspace. It could be opened to high-school students in the future, Repsher said.

—By Adam Dean

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