The ball at Times Square has dropped again, the old man is gone, and the new year's baby is here. It reminds me that two years ago, in January of 2011, we were putting the final touches on our new baby. The walls were up, the spackle and paint were being brushed on, the lights were being wired, and the floors were being installed. It was an exciting time here (if not exhausting). After three months of construction, our new studios were about to go on-line when that ball dropped.
Our biggest challenge then was managing the crossover from the old facility to the new one. Business was brisk, even during the holidays, so downtime was not an option. We were cranking out soundtracks for Prevention Research, Inc. (PRI), Lexmark, PetSmart and Office Depot for PCG, and even a live interview for National Public Radio. These were the days of 80-hour-weeks. The interesting thing is, we're still crafting soundtracks for these same clients.
The big day was Monday, January 3rd. Brigitte Nguyen came in to record voice-over for the Cooking Channel's "From the Kitchens of..." (Concentric Entertainment). We had not completed our soundproofing on the walls yet, so we tacked sound panels covered with burlap on the walls. It looked liked an Idaho potato farm in the VO booth. Ready or not, we were in our new place.
The next month was spent clearing out the old place and installing gear in the new control rooms. The extra floor space here was very welcome, as both Dynamix and Post Time Productions (the video production company we shared the building with) were jammed in together. We also started construction of our acoustic wall and ceiling panels that would bring welcome relief from the echoes in all the rooms. Over the next three to six months, we completed most of our "to do" list and put the finishing touches on our facility. However, we are still a studio that is constantly changing.
The last year has brought some significant technical additions to our audio "arsenal":
We upgraded our main editing system with the fastest Mac Pro machine available
Our audio editing software, Nuendo, was upgraded to include many new advanced features
Our noise reduction and sound repair software, Izotope RX was significantly upgraded
We added a 5.1 surround monitoring system
We added a second (and consecutively serial numbered) Neumann U-87 microphone to Studio B
We added a 24-channel remote recording system (Alesis ADAT HD24XT hard disk system, Mackie 32-channel console)
Many thanks to those that have supported us over the years. We are forever indebted to you for helping us progress through three facilities.
As many of you know, our parking lot may have been used for the fake Apollo 11 moon landing video. It's about to get a complete makeover. Starting late January or early February, look for the lot and surrounding area to be under major (re)construction. Unfortunately, this will be a parking inconvenience for several weeks. Don't despair, there is plenty of parking just around the corner. The new lot will feature 40 parking spaces, beautiful landscaping, and high-tech lighting. You won't believe how nice the new lot will be when it's done in the spring. We might try to get Buzz Aldrin to dedicate it. Stay tuned...
Recent Projects From Dynamix Productions
University of Kentucky recruiting television segments for the Kentucky High School Basketball "Draw Show" and Sweet 16 Tournament. (University of Kentucky)
Ongoing learning modules and sales training soundtracks for Lexmark International
Keeneland Gift Shop "Holiday Sale" radio and television spots (Cornett-IMS, Lexington, KY)
Alltech "Celebration of Song" concert in downtown Lexington's Victorian Square. Presented by the UK Opera Theatre Department. Broadcast on WKYT-TV (Audio Visual Techniques, Lexington, KY)
Soundtracks for safety and loss training videos for PetSmart and Office Depot (PCG Solutions, Lexington, KY)
Voice-over for Spring Hill Golf Course (Grayhorse Productions, Lexington, KY)
DVD On Sale Now
The documentary produced by Dynamix Productions, "The Beat of a Different Drummer: The Story of America's Last All-Female Military Band," is now on sale in our on-line store. Read more below.
America's Last All-Female Military Band Subject of Documentary
Lexington, Kentucky - December 7, 2012 - "The Beat of a Different Drummer: The Story of America's Last All-Female Military Band" is a new documentary about the Women's Army Corps (WAC) Band. The 14th Army WAC Band is now largely forgotten, but in its heyday it transcended the novelty of being an all-female band and was considered an elite military band. The documentary, by Lexington producer Neil Kesterson, features interviews with former WAC Band members, WAC officers, and current Army musicians. Rare photographs, film and recordings help guide the story of how these trailblazers helped change the landscape for American women.
The 14th Army WAC Band existed from 1948 to 1976, during a time when America was struggling with equal rights. The WAC Band was a rare place where a woman could work as a professional musician. "I felt like I was special, because I was doing something that not many people did," said Jan Larson of Lexington, KY, a member of the band from 1954-1955. "And I was doing it as a woman."
From 1954 to 1976, the 14th Army WAC Band was stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama, the last training site for all WAC enlistees. Women musicians were not allowed to perform in male military bands during most of this time; the WAC Band was their only option—many for their entire careers.
In contrast, male Army musicians rotated through different post bands every two years. The longevity, camaraderie, demanding hours, and high-standards turned the 14th Army WAC Band into an elite band, often compared to the top male-only bands in the other military branches.
"I didn’t realize at the time that the Women’s Army Corps Band was a group of handpicked musicians," said Robert Delano of Charlotte, NC, the last official member of the WAC Band. "It wasn’t just another post band that you got assigned to. It was a very select, elite group of musicians. And I’ve played all my life, and that still stands as one of the truly great wind ensembles I’ve played with."
The WAC Band played for presidents, national audiences on radio and television, and was even in a Hollywood film. They made whirlwind recruiting tours in cities and towns across America where their appearance was the big event. That fame came at a price, however.
"It was more difficult than you think," said Bernice Goldstein of Washington, DC, a member from 1952 until 1975. "A lot of people think we just play our instrument and that’s it, we don’t do anything else. But we really worked hard. And a lot of times we had to give up our meals sometimes because we had to be at a certain place at a certain time."
By the 1970's, it became increasingly difficult for the Army to maintain segregation, chiefly because of efficiency. But after the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, the push for equality eventually led to the full integration of women into the Army in 1978. In 1976 the 14th Army WAC Band broke boundaries, just as its early pioneers did, and integrated early.
Today, its former members still have bi-annual reunions and concerts at Fort McClellan in Anniston, AL. A handful of former members still serve in the U.S. Army, Reserves, and National Guard.
Documentary filmmaker Neil Kesterson is the owner of Dynamix Productions, a production company in Lexington, Kentucky. A native of Ironton, Ohio, he has been a producer and sound designer for film, video, television, theatre, radio, audiobooks, and multimedia since the mid-1980's. The inspiration for this documentary came from a family member who was in the band, a love of music, and a great story of heroism.
333 N Ashland Ave
Lexington, KY 40502
To view the trailer and press kit, please visit www.wacband.com.
I hope you find this newsletter informative. If you haven't seen our new studios, go to our web site. Or better yet, stop by! We now have two complete control rooms and voice-over booths, allowing us to be even more flexible in scheduling your projects. Oh, and pet the dog Daisy while you're here.