Category: Audio and Sound

KSO Wins Second Place in American Prize!

It was recently announced that the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra won 2nd Place in the American Prize in Orchestral Performance for its recordings of Jupiter and Sinfonia Antartica! The American Prize is a national music competition for American music performers, composers, directors, administrators, and ensembles.

Joel Neves, Music Director of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra mentions “This is our second placement in the American Prize: in 2014, I received 3rd Place in the Orchestra Conductor category for the KSO’s performances of Brahms, Symphony No. 4 and Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

Kudos go to Maya Ablao and Michael Chopp, our sound designers for Jupiter and Sinfonia Antartica; conScience for their choral contribution; Kate Van Susante as soloist; Kent Cyr for building our wind machine; and, of course, the amazing musicians of the KSO for their artistic excellence.


Public Performances and Receptions at the Rozsa and McArdle Cancelled

As you are likely aware, Michigan Tech is carefully following guidance from the recent Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order issued by Governor Whitmer.  Campus is closed to the public, except for critical services, and faculty and staff are working from home.  We were sad that the current COVID-19 situation necessitated cancelling or postponing the rest of our arts season at Michigan Tech, but we are hopeful that measures that we are taking now will make a big difference in keeping our community safe and healthy.
With the cancellation of the remainder of the season we will provide three options for all single tickets and pro-rated package tickets purchased to the following Rozsa/VPA events that were cancelled or postponed.  These include:

Option #1 Contact the SDC Ticket Office at tickets@mtu.edu for a refund of your concert tickets.  Season Subscriptions, Pick-6, and Pick-3 packages will be pro-rated.

Option #2 Tickets may be traded for an equivalent performance in the 2020-21 Season.  Some Presenting Series Events have already been rescheduled for next season, including:  Manual Cinema (Sept. 4, 2020), Audiopharmacy (March 19, 2021), and Vieux Farka Touré (March 20, 2021).  Tickets Visual and Performing Arts Department student concerts (Tech Theatre, KSO, Choirs, Bands, Jazz) can be redeemed for a performance in the 2020-21 season by contacting tickets@mtu.edu.

Option #3 Unrefunded or untraded tickets refunds may be donated to the Friends of the Rozsa Fund.  This gift will be tax-deductible and will be acknowledged by the Michigan Tech Fund.  This can also be done by contacting tickets@mtu.edu.

We appreciate your patronage over this past season and look forward to announcing our 2020-21 season.  Details about next season will come soon.  Please visit the Rozsa website for more information, www.mtu.edu/rozsa


Tech Theatre and Sound Students Present “A Haunted Mine: The Lost Labs of Dr. Z”

Quincy Mine at nightThe Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association present their spooky Halloween collaboration “A Haunted Mine: The Lost Labs of Dr. Z”

Tours will run from 6 to 10 p.m. today and tomorrow (Oct. 24/25) and from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 26) in the Quincy Mine on U.S. 41 north of Hancock. Ages 13 and up are $12 per person, 12 and under are $6.

Tours after 6 p.m. are not recommended for small children. All children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult. Footwear for muddy, snow and bloody conditions is advised.

Students are the performers in the mine and have designed sound, lighting, props, scenery and costumes for this one-of-a-kind Halloween scare. All proceeds will benefit the Quincy Mine Hoist Association.

For more on how we haunt a mine read our article in Michigan Tech News.


Participate in Haunted Mine Tour

Quincy Mine with Northern LightsAre you interested in working on the annual Quincy Haunted Mine Tour? We need actors, crew, builders and overall ghouls, ghosts and goblins who want to help us scare people silly. The Haunted Mine will begin building very soon, installs will start Oct. 20, and runs October 24, 25, 26 in the evenings.

If you want to get involved, email Professor of Practice Josh Loar (VPA).

Note: VPA students already involved do not need to email again, unless you haven’t signed up yet.


An Interview with Sound Design Alum Steven Green

Steve Green (BA Sound Design 2014) initially started at Michigan Tech as a geology major. After two years, he realized it wasn’t his passion, so he transferred into the sound design department at Tech. “Tech has a very thorough sound design department that allowed me to learn what I needed to graduate, as well as learn my own skill set that went toward my career path. I think some of my most memorable experiences were with my professors, Dr. Jared Anderson, Josh Loar, and Chris Plummer.”

Green has helped with projects ranging from virtual reality titles to exploratory games, and has launched approximately six games. Green’s game ‘ABZÛ’ was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award and other awards. The game ‘What Remains Of Edith Finch’ is currently nominated for a few awards as well.

Green was interviewed last February by Los Angeles sound designed Colin Andrew Grant: Growth and Guidance: An Interview with Steven Green


Visual & Performing Arts Students Receive Numerous Awards at Theatre Festival

Sound and Theatre students from the Visual and Performing Arts Department recently attended the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival (Region III) in Madison, Wisconsin. Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.
Visual and Performing Arts students presented their work to a jury of professionals and received a number of awards.  Top award winners in the design competition will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national festival design competition.
The award recipients were as follows:
Jason Bates: Recipient Regional Sound Design Competition top prize
Joseph Styers: Honorable Mention Regional Sound Design Competition
Makenzi Wentela: Honorable Mention Regional Lighting Design Competition, Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Don Childs Award
David Brown: Honorable Mention Allied Design and Technologies Award
Sarah Calvert: Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Don Childs Award, Finalist for the National Award for Theatrical Design Excellence, Honorable mention team for Design Storm for their design of Chicago
Students also participated in the Tech Olympics, team competitions showcasing skills in areas of technical theatre.  Michigan Tech Students took top prizes in a number of categories:
Overall first place: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton
First place Sound: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton
First Place Props: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton
First Place Costumes: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton


Eric Smith Studying Audio Production and Technology

Eric SmithWhen I started studying audio production and technology, my ultimate goal was to become a Grammy Award-winning music producer. I thought I would need a cool stage name. I gave it some thought, but nothing clicked. Then one day “Smooth Smith” came to mind. It rolls off the tongue. I presented an audio file from my Soundcloud page and my professor and classmates could see the name: Smooth Smith.

After that it just caught on.

Audio production and technology is a very hands-on major. We learn everything that has to do with audio, theatre, film, and studio recording. After graduation, I have a job lined up with a show control programming company in Miami, Florida. I had a great co-op there last semester. During my time there, I worked on the Universal Holiday Parade for Universal Orlando—it was a huge learning experience for me.

The most meaningful part of college so far has been the opportunities I’ve had through my jobs. I want to thank my supervisors and professors: I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for you. Michigan Tech has given me so much. I’m so glad I came here.

I have a few jobs on campus now. I work for Athletics as a broadcast engineer, making sure our audio and video systems are working correctly during sporting events. I also work with Information Technology and as a coach in the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success.

Wahtera Center helps students who are looking to be more successful in school. I really love coaching! One of my most memorable experiences was returning from my co-op and being specifically requested by a student I had worked with the previous year. I was flattered to see how much they valued our sessions and the impact coaching had on their performance in school.

My favorite part about being a coach is when a student reaches the point where they can come in for a session relaxed and with a smile because they are doing so well in their classes.


In the News – Haunted Mine and 41 North Film

The Visual and Performing Arts was in the news this past week for two different events.

Silhouettes of minersThe Haunted Mine presented by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts was covered by WLUC TV6.

Michigan Technological University VPA students installed 2,535 feet of speaker cable, 1,000 feet of microphone cable and 31 speakers to create the ultimate creepy soundscape for Quincy Mine’s annual haunted tour.

A half-mile in and seven levels below ground, the 15-by-15 dark tunnel awaits the brave souls who dare to enter for pre-Halloween tours Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 25-27. This is the second year Michigan Tech students in sound design and audio production and technology programs have collaborated on the project.


41 Film Festival logoThe upcoming 41 North Film Festival, beginning Thursday (Nov. 1) was covered by WJMN TV3. This year, the 41 North Film Festival will screen five films about history, issues and accomplishments related to STEM innovation in its lineup of more than 20 films.