Family and friends gathered in Studio A on Friday, December 15th, to celebrate the newest graduates of The Recording Arts Center’s audio engineering program: James Berry-Krumrey, Connor Dillon, Noah Mattison, Jacob Moreno, Camden Stapleton, and Nate Vaughan. Mei-Ling Downey was also honored with a certificate for the extensive audio training she completed over the last year and a half. Projects by the graduates ran in all three studios, ranging from jazz to hip hop to film, and even a radio play.
TRAC director Peter Dyson kicked off the ceremony with a welcome to the audience. “This is our eleventh group of graduates, and it truly was exceptional,” he told them. In the next hour, the 7 audio engineers proved to be just that, as each one came up front to accept their degree and eloquently spoke of their time there.
“I’m so grateful to have gone through this program,” said Jacob Moreno. “Thank you to all the teachers, Peter Dyson, and Colin Tedeschi.”
Connor Dillon thanked his parents, and all the parents. “I know this is a tough field,” he said, “and it’s great that you’re letting your kids go for their dreams.”
Camden Stapleton has been coming to Studio West for the open Record Nights since 2015, when he was in high school. And the early training and hard work paid off. Camden had the highest grade of any graduate, ever.
Nate Vaughan accepted his degree, and said that when he first started he was a little intimidated by Camden, who was so far ahead. “But we all drove each other to be better,” he said.
James Berry came all the way from Chicago for the program. “I looked at schools across the country,” he said, “and I liked the no BS approach of The Recording Arts Center. I feel so well prepared. It’s been an incredible ride. I feel like I have a family here.”
Noah Mattison, on accepting his degree, said “this program has been really important for me. I wasn’t motivated in school before I came here. This was an eye-opening program. I have a sense of confidence now and I’m infinitely grateful to be here.”
Mei-Ling Downey, a voice over artist, specialized in voice over work for her projects. She was tearful in her remarks to the crowd. “It’s not easy being a single mother,” she said. “I double majored at UCSD and have earned a lot of money in the past, but I was miserable. I want my daughter to know to follow her passion. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. I couldn’t have been placed with a better group of men here, with my classmates. And Peter Dyson is incredible. The staff is amazing. I hope this school is here forever. It’s an asset to the community, to the students and to their future.”