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On May 25th, over 160 dancers and 45 musicians will perform all original compositions with all original choreography on a big stage in a very big warehouse. The 2nd annual Song & Dance has become a highlight of the performing arts spring season for Tacoma School of the Arts students and families, showing what possibilites there are when students collaborate and create together. Throughout the year, students at SOTA Studios composed and recorded original work, creating over 40 demo songs that the would be selected for this performance. From those 40, seventeen songs were chosen to create original choreography, and students from 6 dance classes split up into teams, picked a song and got to work.
The performance itself will feature a combination of live and recorded original music on a two-tiered stage with dancers performing the original choreography. This video features one of the songs that will be performed, Actress by the band Roswell, along with exclusive behind the scenes glimpses into the creation of the choreography and rehearsals. Again, all of the music was written, performed and recorded by students and all of the choreography was designed and performed by students.
Come check us out on May 25th, but get your tickets early! We’re expecting around 600 and the capacity is limited. Tickets are $7 in advance and can be purchased online, or $10 on the day of the show. The performance is at the Thea Foss Waterway and Seaport, located at 705 Dock Street in Tacoma. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the show starts at 7:30.
What is SOTA Studios? I’ve been tossing this question around in my head for the past couple of weeks as we approach once again another transition period. We have wanted since the beginning to build a space that straddles the fence of profession and education. On one hand, we wanted a real world studio, with experiences and opportunities that did more than just mimic what actually happens out there in the music industry. On the other, we wanted a laboratory that provided the freedom to explore and experiment without the fear and pressure of failure. James Joyce said,
“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery”
We have learned this all too well in the last three years at Urban Grace Church. We have built studios, stages and labs, we’ve made great records and bad records, hosted incredible shows and not so incredible shows and have been the temporary home of a cadre of incredibly talented young artists. As many of you may have heard, due to rising costs in the facilities, we are moving out of Urban Grace Church in just a few weeks. It’s hard to look at the work we’ve done and the progress we’ve made and not feel a sense of disappointment. At the same time, it’s exciting to look forward to new possibilites as we move into a new space in August.
I think the last three years have allowed us the opportunity to answer the question, “What is SOTA Studios?” Our good friend Casey Madison did a fantastic job documenting what we’ve figured out in the video above. This next phase seems to be presenting us with a different question, “Where is SOTA Studios?” Our new space will offer us the opportunity to spread out and capture work from all over the city and I for one, am very excited. We will have the chance to stage concerts in warehouses and amphitheaters. We will be capturing on film sets and photo shoots. We will be everywhere.
On the positive side, we have been overwhelmed by the support of so many friends that have been part of our studio for the last three years. Their concerns and disappointments with the news is evidence that we have done something right. To all of us, we say this only the beginning. I can’t wait to post pictures of our new space as we start putting it together. Stay tuned!
It’s been a while since we’ve posted on our blog. Since Artrageous, SOTA Studios has been flooded with activity. Slowwave has been working on a new single that will be out next month. Zach has been wrapping up a few recordings for the big dance concert in a few weeks and got hired by Sony/Columbia this past week with the Notes from Home team to shoot a few take away shows on location in Seattle for Brandi Carlile. Eric, Nick, baby Zac and the Peabody Crew had two awesome shows at Club SOTA and Adam, Josh and Nate have just put out their second compilation on SALT Recordings.
SALT Records is a great project started by Josh Tacke and Nate Faber, class of 2011. They put out compilations and produce house concerts to bring some of the great songwriters currently at SOTA (and from SOTA’s alumni) together to share great music. Their third show is tonight, celebrating the release of their 2nd compilation.
Here is a live version of The Good Life by Valerie Warren. Swing by Metronome Coffee at 6th and Union in Tacoma tonight, May 7th and 8 PM to get a copy of the studio version on SALT Records’ Compilation 2!
What a busy weekend. Our whole SOTA Studios staff (and then some) put on the biggest show we’ve done yet. After 2 days of load in, rehearsal, tech rehearsal, and set up, we put on an awesome show, raised over $140k to support arts education and entertained more than 600 people at the Bi-Centennial Pavillion.
Watch the night unfold in 90 seconds.
Check out some pictures from our crew setting it up with Northwest Stage and Sound.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and made this night possible!
SOTA’s Showcase on March 11th, as told by local venue owner and talent buyer, Zac Wise
Friday March 11, 2011 I was blown away by the talent that filled the concert hall at Urban Grace. Not to mention even more so when the reality set in that all that talent was possessed by high school students (though I should have known seeing as they are our very own SOTA students). I was somewhat aware of the Showcase, but not fully untill I walked by one of the doors and heard Joe Bakke re-inventing the snare drum. Leaning with my ear against the door, I knew at the first sign I had to join in and spectate. After I entered I was able to thoroughly enjoy Ian Best’s as well as Josiah Thompson’s performances on guitar, both promising solo artists. It was also time for me to round up more of the Peabody crew. After grabbing Sarah Chirila (a SOTA graduate and Peabody crew member), we joined in again to catch Roswell, this time featuring Bakke on guitar, and Nick Vargish on drums. Vargish nailed it with a sweet doo-wop form exploding with hormone fueled energy. Valerie Warren backed by Josh Tacke (drums) and Alex Hart (bass), continued to sooth my soul as they have time and time again. Unfortunately I had to go back to Peabody business, but will be back for the next one without a doubt!
Tonight our good friend, Drew Grow will return to the stage. He has been an inspiration to many of us here at SOTA studios, and we’re so excited to see this. This was recorded last spring in our studio, in the stairwell, right outside of the tracking room. After the show in The Loft, the whole crowd marched down the hall following Drew and the Pastors’ Wives into the stairwell where Ty captured this intimiate moment beautifully. Zach and Alex captured and mixed the audio.
Last week we had the pleasure of recording SOTA’s string quartet on the main stage….Adam Hill was the principal engineer. We used four AKGC451B’s on each individual instrument, a Nuemann TLM103 overhead for the group and a Stereo Room Mic in the back to blend in the sound of the sanctuary.
Check out an awesome time lapse Casey Madison did of the setup!
In 2010, we opened the doors on a new space for creation, collaboration and inspiration. SOTA Studios is the home of the recording and songwriting department at the Tacoma School of the Arts, but more than that, it’s a space for musicians, writers, performers, engineers, producers and the like to work in a space that challenges them to create better work, together. Every day some powerful stories are told. From a songwriter delivering an inspiring vocal take, a guitar player learning to repair his amp with a soldering iron and a handful of capacitors, or a band booking a show or launching a street art campaign to promote it, the day to day moments needed a place to be archived. This blog is that space. If you are here to see and hear some exciting work, or to check out what your friends/children/siblings have created, poke around, comment and share what you see and hear.