Attention local musicians: there’s a new user-friendly professional recording option in town. East End Arts in Riverhead opens its Jesse F. Sherman Recording Studio for business on Friday, April 21.
“We are excited to get the studio going and offer it to the community,” says Diane Giardi, the organization’s education director. “We have had so many calls already.”
The nonprofit, which operates an arts-oriented school, a gallery, events and programs year-round, renovated a carriage house on its property in 2007 with the intent of putting in a recording studio, but lacked the funding to purchase the equipment. Help came last year in the form of a $10,000 donation from the Joel Foundation.
“I wrote a letter to Billy Joel, and three days later he sent us the donation,” Giardi says. “He’s all about recording and providing musical opportunities for students.”
MAKING A STUDIO
In addition to Joel’s donation, the Sherman family of Riverhead donated recording equipment and instruments belonging to their late son, Jesse, whose rock band, Nimbus, performed at East End Arts. The guitarist, who died at age 30, taught guitar and songwriting as well as performed locally on a regular basis. All the donated equipment came from Sherman’s home recording studio, which he built with his father, Fred.
“When Jesse died, we decided we would do this because it’s something he’d want,” says Sherman’s mother, Paulette. “I think he’d be quite happy with it.”
The studio is overseen by sound engineer Noah Gorman, a 24-year-old graduate of Eastern Suffolk BOCES in Riverhead and the Academy for Media Production in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania, who placed second in the SkillsUSA National Competition for Audio Production in 2011. For Gorman, a longtime member of East End Arts, the recording studio is a dream come true.
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“Everybody has been wishing for the equipment, and now it’s finally here,” says Gorman, who lives in Laurel. “The place is fully capable of handling any type of music or audio project. We can do basically anything.”
Gorman was taught by Billy Sperl, an audio production teacher at Eastern Suffolk BOCES who helped guide the studio along in the process.
“We were looking for a way that my students could get involved in an actual studio where they can put together an equipment list as if they were building their own studio,” Sperl says. “We did it as a project. The task was, if you had this amount of money, what would you put into the studio?”
Gorman and Giardi took the list of suggestions and made the purchases, including Pro Tools software, outboard gear, microphones and more. The students also helped sort through the donated recording equipment from the Shermans as well as some of Sherman’s own guitars to determine what would work in the space.
AN INSIDE LOOK
The studio has three areas: the Live Room — which can fit an orchestra or big band, the Control Room, which holds all the recording equipment including a mixing console and an iMac computer, and the Isolation Room, used for recording vocals or drums.
“They put in extra doors, which helps isolate the sound a bit better,” Sperl says. “Everybody can see each other from all the different rooms in order to communicate.”
The first artist to use the equipment and do some test recording is Maddy Seitles, a 16-year-old singer/guitarist from East Moriches who is part of East End Arts’ Music Masters Mentorship Program.
“It’s really gorgeous,” she says. “There’s no studio on the East End like it.”
Seitles performed covers of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” on acoustic guitar at the studio as well as “At Last” by Etta James as a test run and will do a demo at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, April 21.
“It’s got that kind of easy, creative feel that you don’t really see in other recording studios. Most are dark with no windows,” says Seitles, who used to record for the Kidz Bop franchise. “I walked in, saw the light coming through the windows and sat down on the carpet, took out my guitar and just started strumming.”
Jesse F. Sherman Recording Studio
WHEN | WHERE By appointment, Thursdays-Saturdays at East End Arts, 141 E. Main St., Riverhead
INFO 631-369-2171, eastendarts.org
COST $65 per hour (with 2-hour minimum) includes engineer/producer