Thursday, December 2, 2010

Setting the Stage

My younger son, Alex attends classes at Metalworks Institute where he's studying Show Production and Event Management. Metalworks is an education facility, production group and Canada's leading recording studio which was established in 1978 for the Canadian group Triumph, and is still owned and operated by their drummer and vocalist Gil Moore.

Alex fell in love with the music scene since the day he first picked up a guitar in his early teens. His passion lies with playing metal but through the years, his repertoire has expanded and really, he can manage to go with just about any musical flow.

A natural aside to playing with a band, is setting up equipment and making sure that everything functions well. Alex seemed to be particularly suited to this, and enjoyed that aspect every bit as much as performing. He knew that he needed to follow a career path which would allow him the opportunity to find work in the industry, so when he heard about Metalworks, we all knew that it was right up his alley.

One of the requirements for his class was to organize every aspect of a live show - securing a venue, finding the entertainment, advertising, acquiring items for raffle, providing security, setting up equipment, lighting, monitoring sound and disassembling everything. This event occurred this past Sunday evening at a local bar called Crocodile Rock. I was only able to stay for about half of the show, missing out on three rock bands and a raffle draw or two, but when Alex came home later that night, he said that the evening was deemed a success. Below are a few photos from the earlier part of the event.

Alex in action
Here's Alex up on stage, making sure that the microphones are set up properly.

monitor engineer2
Checking out the audio equipment just before show time.

Once everything was set up, Alex's job for the event was as monitor engineer. I turned to Wikipedia for their definition of the role. "Each performer on stage has their own individual mix that is custom tailored by the monitor engineer to suit their audio needs. The monitor engineer is then faced with the challenge of pleasing anywhere from four to ten or more musicians with a good mix. At shows with a separate monitor mix position, that mixer is typically located just off-stage, to provide easier communication between the performers and the monitor engineer."

monitor engineer
Alex takes his place just off-stage and the show begins.

Ruben Diaz Flamenco Band
The Ruben Diaz Flamenco Band was up first and they sounded amazing.

Alex at Croc Rock
I wonder if they thought it strange of me to be photographing the monitor engineer much more than the artists.

Next up (and the last performance for me) was a young comedian. He was a friend of one of the students and I found him to be less than impressive. Once his routine was done, he was asked to announce a round of raffle wins. The first item was Triumph's Greatest Hits Remixed CD. The kid went on at length about how he'd never heard of Triumph and how they must be some unknown band. This was an unfortunate time and place for such antics because as I said early on, Gil Moore of Triumph operates Metalworks which was facilitating this kid's performance and free exposure. He was also present at the venue.

comic and gm
So up on stage he went to have a friendly chat to educate this kid, bolstered by the Metalworks gang's supportive shouts of "Lay it on the Line." It was really all good-natured ribbing, delivered with only a touch of tension and everything was fine in the end. I still don't think the kid had a clue though - neither about Triumph nor about what makes for good comedy.

I'm thrilled that Alex has found his niche and I'm incredibly pleased with how comfortably he fits into this world. He sure seems to be a natural. I'm extremely proud of you, son!

At some point, I'll take you on a tour of the Metalworks studio. We were able to accompany Alex there one evening when he helped a friend out with his class project. But that's for another time.

Wishing those who celebrate a very Chappy Chanukkah and Many Menorah!


Kristina P. said...

That's impressive! You are clearly a proud mom.

Frank Baron said...

Forgive an old fart for a wee trip down memory lane but this post has prompted it. As I'm sure I told you a time or four, I used to arrange concerts and dances in the long-ago and far-away. I was often also the default "sound guy." I'd go out front among the crowd and listen. Then I'd use hand signals to turn up the bass player's amp or turn down the drummer's mic or I'd go on stage and do it myself.

It was a lot less complicated than the system Alex is getting a handle on these days. But his musician's ear will stand him in good stead. He'll do well, whether in front of the stage, behind, or off to the side.

You have every right to be proud. :)

Zuzana said...

I so enjoyed this post and what a lovely tribute to your son. First of all as I love music and I am always in awe of those that are working behind scenes. Te are the "unseen" performers and such an important part of every show.
Then as you know, I think your son is such a good looking young man, my oh my. If I was twenty years younger, I would be in trouble.;) He has just got that romantic, sensitive look about him. Being a musician, I am sure he has a line of girls waiting for him.;)
Have a great end of the week dear Hilary,

Dawn said...

Oh this is great! You have every reason to be super proud...and I think it's pretty funny imagining what everyone thought as you took pictures:)
I am proud of you! for raising someone so brilliant. (I wouldn't know what the heck to do up there;))

Sandra said...

I share your pride in Alex, Hilary. As a mother, I know that there is NOTHING that feels better than to see one of your children flourish. Congratulations to Alex, and to you too Mama. :)

Sandra said...

p.s. At book club last night we were talking about how hard it is to write "funny". I think the young comedian sounds like he proved that it isn't just hard to write funny -- it's hard to "be" funny too! (sounds like he just kept digging that hole!)

Sueann said...

Your son is sooooo handsome! And that he has found his niche is fantastic. For some kids, it takes forever for them to find out what they want to do. Lucky Alex...he knows!!!!!!
What a wonderful tribute to him and his talent!!

Cricket said...

As you know, I did that sort of thing for years. It's a hard life, honestly. Young man's work (heh, heh) but it's a lot of fun, too, and over time, there will be stories to tell.

Sorry i've missed so many beautiful posts. That wood duck on the orange water? Stunning.

But to return to this one, I give you Jackson Browne: The Load Out.

Tabor said...

So, your son and mine are in the same profession. My son has to set up most of the sound system because he is the expert as a professional sound engineer and then he also performs as second guitar in the band at which he is adequate if not expert. He went into the industry for the same reasons as your son. He wanted a career near something he loved to do. He doesn't have to quit his day job.

Pauline said...

That pride in one's child is so exhilarating. He's a talented and handsome fellow - glad you left the light on for him ;)

Steve Gravano said...

That is so cool! It's always the behind-the-scenes crew that make a show excellent! A talent to be proud of.

Hilary said...

What a nice looking young man!!!
And that is a perk of motherhood, getting to 'crow' and 'glow' when they 'grow' up well.
Kudos, dear friend.

Bob Bushell said...

That is marvelous, your son is a controller of the musical world. He a young man that knows what is happening. Good luck. And, he has a good mother.

Brian Miller said...

what a cool post...and great taht he has foudn something he is passionate about...i dont know that we could have a higher hope for our kids that they are able to do that...great pics too...

DJan said...

You really don't look to be old enough to have such grown children, Hilary! I was surprised, as I thought you were maybe in your thirties from your picture. He's a son to be proud of, and I think it's wonderful to have a profession that you love. I know I did.

ellen abbott said...

If I was younger and single I might have to move to Canada.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

What an interesting glimpse into a life that most of us in this blogging circle would never get to see. You can see the focus and intensity on his face. We really have no idea what goes into the production of the shows we see. Your pride shines through in this post - I hope your son sees it.

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for him. That's wonderful.

steviewren said...

Hilary, you took some fabulous photos of Alex doing his thing! These pictures prove that you are a very good photographer in all kinds of venues. Alex must be as proud of you as you are of him.

It does a mother's heart good when her chickies find their way in life, doesn't it? Congrats to Alex!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

As concert goers, we seldom have a clue as to all that goes on to make it all come together. We know when it DOESN'T work, but we rarely give it a thought when it does. Alex will have a solid career ahead of him with the things he's learning and applying now, whether in front of the crowd or behind the scenes. You're right to be proud and a loving mom to express that pride so eloquently.

Out on the prairie said...

What no heckler to get the comedian off the stage?This sounds like a lot of fun to me.I always wondered where one did go to learn this type of job.

steviewren said...

I forgot to wish you a Happy Chanukah!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the backstage pass.

And kudos to both of you for living so authentically .
He, following his dreams , you for letting him and sharing in them.

Lisa said...

Wasn't that Alex rocking on in a car seat to Florence and The machine?
There is such peace of mind knowing your babies are comfortable in their own skin and flourishing. Job well done Hilary!

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Wow, I really have a lot of respect for people like Alex. That's one aspect of music that has never clicked well with me. I envy the people who possess the technical side naturally. Good for him, I'm sure you're so proud!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures. It is lovely to see our kids doing so well...

Anvilcloud said...

It's amazing the various directions that kids go in. Good luck to him.

Bossy Betty said...

Hilary--How wonderful your son is following his passion and what a wonderful passion! I can see why you are proud mama and I think it is great you took pictures of the very important monitor. I would have probable worn a t-shirt with my son's picture on it at such an event.

Mage said...

Just great shots. Thanks for taking us along with you. What was easy for us in the 60's is now a foreign land of confusing electronics. I was a lighting person. He looks a good fit too.

What Karen Sees said...

What a wonderful post, and great photos to match your son's achievement. I especially love the second to last photo. He looks intense as he does his thing and you've lighted him so well.

hope and love said...

fantastic.. i can imagine how proud u must be with such a talented son.. being a mom of two teenage boys i loved the post..

Maggie May said...

Powerful photos. A lovely looking lad and clearly talented!
Some great pictures there.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

lime said...

so good to see our children succeeding in a field they truly love, isn't it? thanks for sharing the pictures.

wishing you a very happy channukah. :)

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hilary: You certainly can be proud and take more photos of your son then the other talent.

messymimi said...

Congrats to your son -- you are quite a wonderful mom.

Daryl said...

Cool dude ...

Lori said...

How awesome that he is going after his passion and that he has a supportive mom like yourself to back him. Very cool Hilary. You have every reason to be proud and I really enjoyed reading about your son. XX

Rebecca said...

what a cool job and your son is very handsome. i am so happy he is doing what he loves.

the Bag Lady said...

Great post, Hilary! I had wondered how Alex was making out with his chosen path, so it's good to know things are going well for him.
Sad, though, that the young comedian had no clue who Triumph was! Makes me feel like an old person. Oh, wait..... :)

Tammie Lee said...

how wonderful to have music in your life, his life!
You two sure look like family!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is so cool! I never dreamed there would be a school for this. Kudos to your son - you have a right to be proud!!

Redbush said...

Wow! All those lines and dials would totally make dizzy! Your son is one talented individual! Good for him in finding his niche!

Anonymous said...

Oh that's great Hilary! I think he's lucky to have found his passion so early on! Wonderful! I loved Triumph back in the day, especially "Love Hurts"!!!! Total anthem song!

Velvet Over Steel said...

How awesome for your son! I had little idea of all the roles and jobs associated with events like these!

What an amazing school for your very talented son!! :-) Great job, mom!


Brenda Pruitt said...

That sounds like such an exciting career! Never a dull moment in that kind of work.

Anonymous said...

"I don't ask for much, the truth will do just fine..."

I hope someone set that unfunny comedian straight before he went home.

How incredible for Alex, and I'm sure it is a top-notch operation. I know a young man in our local area who works with sound quite a bit, too, along with his penchant for music and drama. It is encouraging to hear of talented people joining the business to follow their hearts.
He's got "the magic power of the music."

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Kristina. I am indeed. :)

• Frank, yes you've told me, and probably Alex about it before, and I know it was a time you enjoyed very much. And I suspect you're right.. he'll do great. Thanks. :)

• Zuzana, I'm sure Alex is very flattered to know that you think so. He did read the comments. ;) Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for such kind words. Dawn. Of course I wasn't alone in this "raising the kids" gig. His Dad gets due credit too. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Sandra. You're so right about that motherly pride. Thanks always for your kind thoughts. :)

• Thank you, SueAnn. You're right about how thrilled we are that he has found something which interests him. Thanks so much. :)

• Cricket, yes I sure do remember that this was something you used to do, too. It's so cool that so many of you know about what Alex is doing. Do you know that whenever you suggests a soundtrack for my posts, I immediately find it on YouTube if I can, and let it play in the background while I reply to comments? Thanks for always giving me that to which to look forward. This selection was perfect! :)

• Tabor, another one who knows about this path. It's good to know that your son is happy with what he's doing. So nice when it works out that way. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Pauline. That light is important. :)

• Thanks, Steve. I'm so happy that he's enjoying what he's learned. :)

• Hilary, thanks very much, my favourite namesake. :)

• Bob, thanks so much for the kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Brian. I agree. Number one is be happy and healthy. This sure covers the first part. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• DJan, thank you so much for that compliment. You're WAY off but I do appreciate it. ;) I agree with how important it is for him to be doing something he loves. Hopefully he'll manage that when he's done with school. :)

• Ellen, it's the hair, isn't it? ;)

• Thank you, Bonnie. I know he saw the post (before I hit "publish") so I'm sure he knows. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I very much appreciate your kind words. :)

• Thank you, Leah. :)

• Steviewren, thank you so much. I had a hard time getting some decent shots particularly when lights were low but I'm pleased with the few that turned out. You're so right about how good it feels to know our kids are on their way. Thanks so much for such kind comments. :)

• Linda, you're right. Until semi-recently, I never gave it much thought. Now I will always notice the behind-the-scenes folks. Thanks always for the kind words. They're so appreciated. :)

• OOTP, no heckler. I stayed quiet. ;) It was indeed fun and I was happy to see my son in action. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Steviewren, thank you! :)

• Deb - backstage pass. I like that. :) Thank you so much - such a lovely sentiment. :)

• Lisa, yep. He was head-banging at a very early age. Thanks so much for stopping by and especially for your warm email this morning. :) I'll include the link to the video to which you're referring in case anyone is scratching their heads.

Hilary said...

• Elizabeth, thank you kindly. I know a number of people, myself included who would envy your wonderful musical talent too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Lady Fi. :)

• Thanks, Anvilcloud. My son read some of the comments this morning and when he got to yours, he said "That's awesome!" I asked "His comment?" He said "His nickname." ;)

• Betty, thank you so much. I'm glad I was there but I think he would have disowned me if I wore such a t-shirt. Unless of course I looked very metal. ;) Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Maggie, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Cool that you know the scene and yes, it's probably changed considerably over the years, just as everything else. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Karen, thank you kindly. I'm glad you think so. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

• H&L, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I'm a few years beyond two teenaged sons (my older one is 23) but I sure know what that's like. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Maggie May, thank you kindly. I'm glad you think so. :)

• Lime, it truly is. You know what that's like. Thanks for stopping by and for the good wishes. :)

• Fishing Guy, thanks kindly. :)

• Thank you very much, MessyMimi. :)

• Thanks, Daryl. :)

• Lori, thanks so much. You sure know what it's like to see your children follow their paths. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Becca, thanks so much. I'm glad you stopped by. :)

• Thank you, Baggie. I'm glad I was able to answer your unspoken question about Alex. The comedian was very young and not connected to the music industry at all, so it's not really all that surprising. AND you're not old.. you're a young puppy! ;)

• Tammie Lee, thank you. You're right about how wonderful it is to have music in my life. It's awfully loud at times but I love it anyway. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Barbara, thanks. I'm sure glad there was a school for this sort of thing. It was so meant for him. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Redbush. I would be lost with the equipment too. It's a good thing he knows what he's doing. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Rainy, he is indeed lucky. Thank you. Yup, that's a nice song and it's on their new Greatest Hits Remix CD. :)

• Coreen, thank you. I didn't know much about it before now either. I still know very little. Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you stopped by. :)

• So true, Brenda. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• KC, I see by your comment that you're no stranger to Triumph tunes. :) Nobody, aside from Moore set him straight. That was the best source. Besides, most of the younger crowd found much of his routine to be humourous. Thanks so much for your supportive remarks. Your visits are always very much appreciated. :)

Slamdunk said...

Congrats to your son for finding and excelling at his passion at such an early age. It must be comforting to know as well that he had such supportive parents along the way.

Cloudia said...

THIS is why Canada is a great nation:
you value ART and ARTISTS and nurture them!

Best wishes to your son,
to you,
to ART.

Happy Channukah

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



Indrani said...

You MUST be proud!
I wish him success in his chosen passion.

Laura said...

I love the intense focus on Alex's face Hillary, you must be so deeply proud of him. My husband who is a keyboard player gets a similar look on when he is in deep concentration playing! VERY Cool!

sage said...

It's not odd for a mother to take more photos of her son, regardless of his job. You sound proud and it sounds like he did a great job.

Suldog said...

That;s so freakin' cool it's off the charts! A metal school? I wish that was around here when I was toiling in the metal wars in Boston. I would have been in those classes in a heartbeat.

Happy Hannukah!

Kat said...

That is so cool! There is so much behind the scenes work that goes into a show. People have no idea. I have a few friends that have worked in the business. It is also very difficult to get into, so it is awesome that your son has broken into it and has an outlet for his passion. Very cool.

Great post, proud mama!

Friko said...

It's good when children make you proud.
Don't know if I could cope with 'metal' nowadays though. Presumably it's metal as in 'heavy'?

Linda said...

Congratulations on raising such a talented son. I know you are super proud of him. It sounds like he has definitely found his place in the world. Best of luck to him!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a GREAT post, Hilary! So glad I decided I wanted to get out for a visit...'Cause I got in on this gem! So nice to hear more about your life and family! You do indeed have much to be proud of!!! He sounds like a terrific and talented young man!!! Just wanted to say "hello!" and send you my love, Janine XO

Joanna Jenkins said...

High five to Alex for a successful event. It sounds like A LOT of work and judging by the pics, he looks very relaxed and capable. It's great that he's able to take his passion for music and pursue an education and career in it. That's big!

Happy Hanukkah and almost Merry Christmas

xo jj

Maria said...

Happy Hanukkah Hilary. That was interesting. I've never heard of Triumph myself, but then that should be expected I suppose. The comedien ended up being funny in spite of himself it seems.

Your son is blessed to have found his niche. I'm praying my own kids will do the same.

NJ said...

Wow it seems like your son and my daughter are very similar. In high school she attended a "focus program" called "Let's Make a Demo". They basically had to produce music, record it, arrange coffee houses monthly at the school and finally arrange a battle of the bands. She also helped with the sound several time for the drama department productions. Then when she went to choose a college we looked into Fanshawe's Music Industry Arts, Sheridan Media Arts and Humber's film program. Originally, she was more interested in sound but once in school she found she loved being on set and cameras. Not a surprise since she got 100% in Photography in grade 11. After graduating from Media Arts at Sheridan she has worked at an Equipment house in Toronto looking after monitors and "Red" HD digital cameras. I always have to ask her when I see a new Canadian show are those your cameras and she usually answers yes. For the most part she loves her job. Good luck to Alex on his career choice. He does look to be a "natural".

Karen said...

Hilary those are great photos and with neat lighting! You know I'm right there with you about being proud of your sons!

Nancy said...

How absolutely wonderful that Alex found what rocks his boat. No pun intended. :-)

Isn't that exactly what ever parent hopes will happen?

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Slamdunk. The excelling part remains to be seen. He's not quite done with school yet but I'm very happy he's located his dream. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Cloudia. Such a good sentiment. And Hanukkah wishes right back at you. :)

• Indrani, thank you, and you bet I am! :)

• Laura, thank you. Very much so. I see you know the look well and feel similar pride. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Sage, I don't think it's odd either, but neither do I think they knew I was his mom. ;) Thanks very much for the visit. :)

• Suldog, I knew you'd get a kick out of this. You and your band crossed my mind a few times when I was working on this post. I'm glad you stopped by. Thanks for the good wishes, my friend. :)

• Kat, you're right. So many have no clue as to what happens behind the performers, before they go on stage and after they're done. He's not quite broken into it yet, but hopefully shortly after he's done school. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Friko, indeed it is good. Yes, pretty loud and heavy. But he also plays many other styles these days - just to give me a break. Truthfully, I don't mind and quite enjoy everything that he plays. It's some of his iTunes selections which leave much to be desired. ;)

• Linda, thank you so much for such kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Janine, so good to see you. Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad you're out and about in the blogiverse. You're much missed. Thanks for including me on your stops. :)

• Joanna, he truly does seem relaxed when he's doing his thing. It seems to come quite naturally to him. He's doing the education part - we can hope that he'll be hired to do what he loves. Thanks so much for the good wishes. The very best of the season to you, too. :)

• Gaelikaa, thank you for the good wishes. I wouldn't expect you to have heard of Triumph. They're Canadian but made it rather big in the U.S. I'm not sure about Ireland - probably not. And very unlikely in India. ;) Thanks so much for the kind words. They're so appreciated. :)

• NJ, that's wonderful that your daughter found her passion. We also looked into Fanshawe for Alex but it was less focused on what he wanted. He has since learned that Fanshawe's guest speakers for his craft are teachers from Metalworks, so it turned out he was in the right place. Plus it's only a 20 minute bus ride from home. Who knows, one day your daughter and my son may be working on the same show. She with cameras and he with sound. Show her his pic now, so they'll know it if they do. ;) Thanks for stopping by to comment. :)

• Thank you so much, Karen. It's a Mom thing, isn't it? :)

• Nancy, don't knock the pun. It was a good one - particularly because he's hoping that he can put his skills to work on a cruise ship some day. And yes, you're so right. It's exactly what we hope for. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

Claudya Martinez said...

That's wonderful! No wonder you are proud. It looks like he did a great job and will have a wonderful career ahead of him.

MaggieGem said...

Wonderful post, I can appreciate your feelings of pride! Alex looks like he's deeply involved in his craft... wish him much luck and success!

SandyCarlson said...

You are an AWESOME mom. Beautiful photos. God bless.

ds said...

How wonderful that Alex has found his passion and is able to pursue it! What more can we as parents hope for? Well done!

Hilary said...

• Thanks kindly, Mami. You're so right about my pride. :)

• MaggieGem, thank you. Your kind words mean a lot to me. :)

• Thank you so much, Sandy. You're much too kind. :)

• DS, that's exactly it. It makes me very happy to know. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

She Who Carries Camera said...

The lighting in your photos is amazing! And that one photo with the woman in the midst of fog ~ HIGH-5 to you!!

When someone can find a career that they totally love, to the point that it feels like they are being paid to have fun, is the best job anyone could have!

Cheryl Kohan said...

Excellent, Hilary. I am so impressed with people who have the kind of talent that Alex has. It's so heartwarming to know that he's following his passion.

The photos are terrific and I did check out both websites. Looking forward to the tour.

I also enjoyed Frank's wee trip down memory lane :-)

Hilary said...

• Jillsy, thank you so much for such kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and I so agree with you about the best kind of career you describe and hopefully Alex will find. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Cheryl, thank you kindly. It is indeed heartwarming. Mine is all aglow. Thanks for the kind words, and as for Frank, he practically lives on Memory Lane. It's always an easy trip for him. ;)

L. D. said...

Good for him, following his dream.

25BAR said...

Looks like hard work.