Why do you go to a concert? You go to see Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Nickelback, Eric Clapton, or your other favorite acts, but you wouldn’t pay for a ticket just to watch them stand on stage. You go to a concert to hear a live performance. What’s a concert without sound? It’s not enough for a singer to have a great voice or for Slow Hand to play the opening notes of “Leila.” The “sound” of music isn’t Julia Andrews singing with the Von Trapp children. The true sound of music is what talented and trained technicians do to make sure that the songs you paid to hear reach your ears, whether your eardrums are buzzing because you’re seated in the first row, or you can’t even see Jon Bon Jovi on stage but you can hear “Livin’ on a Prayer” all the way back to your seat in the very last row. What kind of concert would it be if all that was on stage was the singer, the musicians, and their instruments? No cables, no microphones, no equipment?
On the most fundamental level, a concert is sound. With that in mind, Michael & Laurie Allison have started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Sound Haven Learning Center so that behind-the-scenes music lovers can learn the craft of sound engineering. The crowdfunding goal is to raise $10,000 by May 8. The funds are needed because the Sound Haven Learning Center is housed in a 100-hundred year old former church with plumbing, roofing, and heating to match its years. The $10,000 will be used to install three new boilers, replace broken pipes, remove the leaking roof, and repair the plaster.
Once those necessary renovations have taken place, the Sound Haven Learning Center can begin to live out its dream of training aspiring students to be sound technicians. Classes will include basic, intermediate, and advanced sound principles; basic and intermediate maintenance and repair of equipment like microphones and cables; analog and digital sound training; audio networking; and array software, so that the students will be trained for a career in the live sound industry.
The facility will be an asset to the Wisconsin community in which it’s located because, in addition to providing training for technical skills, the Allisons plan to offer music lessons, studio and recording space, and concerts for fundraising events. Schools, churches, and businesses will have access to consultations and space. Michael Allison, with nearly 30 years of experience as a crew chief and systems/FOH/monitor engineer, learned his trade by working with top-level acts like the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Beyoncé, Nickelback, Genesis, and many others. With a resume like that, he brings not just skill, but credibility to the mission and vision of the Sound Haven Learning Center.
The crowd funding financial support can make a dream come alive, but also provide focus and training for generations of students who want to learn a trade, for musicians who want to play, and for a community to become a home and haven for what is truly the “sound” of music.