SPARS President Kirk Imamura announces election results and new Board of Director members

The 32 year old recording association recently held new Board of Director elections for 2011. There was a very active field of 16 candidates running for 9 open seats representing three different membership categories.

SPARS President Kirk Imamura had this to say regarding the results, “I am honored and excited to serve as the new President of SPARS.  SPARS and our industry are each going through a challenging transition. We see this as an opportunity to think differently and make some positive changes.

We are fortunate to have a fresh and energetic board made up of members who are all passionate about preserving our craft and nurturing the next generation of talent.  To that end, I would like to reach out to all those in our industry to engage in open dialogue and frank discussions about the future.”

Those newly elected to the Board include, Jessica Dally, Live Sound and Post Editor & Mixer, Los Angeles, CA; Dave Hampton, Engineer, Educator, Author, Los Angeles, CA; Mark Rubel, Pogo Studio, Champaign, IL; Rick Senechal, Microsoft Studio, Redmond, WA; and Candace Stewart, EastWest Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Re-elected to the Board were Trevor Fletcher, Hit Factory-Criteria Recording, Miami, FL; Scott Phillips, Blackbird Studios, Nashville, TN; Kevin Becka, Conservatory of Recording Arts / Mix Magazine, Tempe, AZ; and Sherri Tantleff, Full Sail University, Winter Park, FL.

Those members continuing on the Board are Kirk Imamura, Avatar Studios, New York, NY, who will be serving as the new President; Zoe Thrall, Studio at the Palms, Las Vegas, NV; and Tony van Veen, Discmakers / CD Baby, Pennsauken, NJ. Eric Johnson, Blazing Music + Sound, Raleigh, NC, moves to the position of Immediate Past President.

Kirk Imamura also stated, “I also wish to thank all those who were nominated and who were willing to participate in the election process. We have plans to harness the energy and commitment of many of them in the year to come. I also want to thank our Immediate Past President, Leslie Ann Jones, Director of Music and Scoring at Skywalker Sound, who served as chair of the nominating committee, as well as fellow members of the committee, Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director, P & E Wing of the Recording Academy, Immediate Past President, Eric Johnson, and Gary Ladinsky, President of Design FX, for their hard work in selecting such a fine group of nominees.”

For more details on those elected to the SPARS Board as well as information on those serving, please see the below listing.

New SPARS Board of Directors | 2011

Kirk Imamura, President / Director

Kirk Imamura has over 18 years experience in the consumer electronics industry working for Sony Corporation. Kirk has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from San Diego State University. He has engineering and management experience in equipment design, software development, large scale manufacturing operations, product development and strategic & business planning.

Since leaving Sony, Kirk has spent 9 years in the music industry successfully running and guiding the operations of Avatar Studios in New York as President. During his tenure, the studio has been awarded five TEC Awards for Outstanding Creative Achievement. Kirk’s well-rounded management experience, people skills, technical background and marketing abilities are well-suited for leading a business to the next level.

Eric W. Johnson, Immediate Past President / Director

Eric W. Johnson

Eric began playing music professionally at the age of 16 in a local R&B band in his hometown of Winston-Salem, NC. In 1986, while attending North Carolina State University’s School of Design, Eric founded Johnsound Productions. Eric’s early work included composing, writing, and recording jingles for local and regional clients. Eric also did studio production for artists seeking recording contracts. One of his first clients was Tyka Nelson who is the sister of Grammy Award-winning artist Prince. Eric helped write and arrange Tyka’s first single, Marc Anthony’s Tune which made Billboard Magazine’s Top Forty chart during the summer of 1987.

In 1988, Eric began to move away from producing artists and began to concentrate on music for advertising as well as soundtracks for non-broadcast corporate video and film projects for clients such as IBM, Caterpillar, Golden Corral, Nortel, Burroughs Wellcome, Hardee’s, and North Carolina State University.

In January of 2003, Eric joined Trailblazer Studios to launch Blazing Music + Sound, the dedicated custom music and sound division of Trailblazer Studios. Blazing Music + Sound provides custom music, recording, mixing, and sound design for advertising agency, film, television, and video game production clients. Blazing Music + Sound currently handles audio post for TLC’s top rated shows Jon & Kate Plus 8 and 18 Kids and Counting. Other clients include advertising agencies McKinney( Travelocity, Quest, NASDAQ), McCann Ericksson (General Motors), television clients National Geographic/Nova, Fine Living Network, The Tennis Channel, and Animal Planet, and gaming companies Virtual Heroes, Red Storm Entertainment, and Codemasters.

Kevin Becka / Director (Re-elected)

Kevin Becka has been in the audio industry for over 20 years, starting as a recording engineer with credits ranging from Kenny G, George Benson, Quincy Jones and more. He’s also been the editor of Pro Audio Review, Audio Media USA and is currently the technical editor of Mix magazine where he edits and writes product reviews and features. He is the Director of Education at the Conservatory of Recording Arts in Arizona, a member of AES, SPARS, a voting member of NARAS and an ASCAP writer.

Jessica Dally / Director (New Board Member)

Jessica graduated from the University of Colorado in Denver in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Music, emphasis in Recording Arts and Music Business and a minor in Theater, Film and TV production. Jessica has over 8 years of live sound engineering experience mixing local variety shows, worship services, and theater productions. In June 2008, she traveled to London, UK as an intern at Music4. In the past year, she has worked as a sound editor and re-recording mixer for several student and short films and is scheduled to begin work on her first feature in May. Jessica’s involvement in the audio industry includes volunteering with SPARS, Cinema Audio Society and Motion Picture Sound Editors.

Jessica was selected as a SPARS travel grant recipient for the 2009 AES convention held in New York. Recipients helped staff the SPARS booth on the exhibit floor, sat in on the board member meeting, assisted at the Friday evening reception and the TEC awards on Saturday. Jessica continued to help with SPARS, manning the booth at the NAMM show in early 2010 to provide information to visitors about SPARS services and benefits. Later that year, Jessica served as the intern coordinator for AES in San Francisco, coordinating intern schedules to provide booth coverage and organizing SPARS interns at the Friday evening mixer with other professional audio organizations. Jessica continued as an intern coordinator for SPARS¹s H.O.T. Zone sessions and TEC awards at the NAMM show earlier this year.

Trevor Fletcher / Director (Re-elected)

An industry veteran for over two decades, Fletcher has worked in numerous capacities for Miami’s Criteria Recording Studios. After the purchase of the facility by New York’s Hit Factory in 1999, he was appointed GM/VP of newly formed Hit Factory Criteria.

Fletcher is a former two-term president of The Recording Academy (NARAS) Florida Chapter, and currently serves on the National Board of Trustees. In addition to volunteering on local & national academy committees, events and the TEC Awards nominating body, Fletcher has credits as engineer or production coordinator for artists as diverse as 2 Live Crew, Julio Iglesias, Al Di Meola, Missy Elliott, and Gloria Estefan. Fletcher continues to expand the national and international reputation of the studio and the Miami recording community.

Dave Hampton / Director (New Board Member)

Dave Hampton is a 30+ year veteran of the audio recording industry. His company MATK Corp is trusted and called on to create and provide custom solutions for various artists and companies. He has served as Technical director for Herbie Hancock’s Hancock Music in Los Angeles, and Prince’s Paisley Park Studio in MN. In addition to engineering, Dave still consults with manufacturers on new technology, lecturers on survival in the industry, and mentors new recording professionals. His latest book, The Business of Audio Engineering is mandatory text for several audio programs around the country.

Other clients: Marcus Miller, George Duke, Justin Timberlake, Maxwell, Lady Gaga, and Babyface.

Scott Phillips / Director (Re-elected)

Scott Phillips, Studio Manager at Blackbird Studios, was born and raised in Jacksonville , FL. In 1996, after graduating from Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando , Scott moved to Nashville and began building his career in the recording industry.

Starting as an intern at Masterfonics, he quickly proved himself to be management material, landing the position of Studio Coordinator after just five months. A promotion to Studio Manager soon followed and with the merger of Masterfonics and Emerald Sound Studios in 1999, Scott once again found himself at the helm, eventually becoming Vice President of the Studio Division of the largest recording complex in the Southeast. In 2005, Scott was recruited by John McBride to manage Blackbird Studios, which is owned by McBride and his multi-platinum recording artist wife Martina.

Being involved with Nashville ‘s newest state of the art recording facility has proven to be an exciting opportunity and he looks forward to an incredible future at the creatively inspired recording complex. Scott is a member of Leadership Music’s Class of 2006, NAPRS (Nashville Association of Professional Recording Services), AES (Audio Engineering Society) and serves on the board of SPARS (The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services). In his spare time he enjoys golf, basketball, Titans football, and spending time with his family.

Mark Rubel / Director (New Board Member)

Mark Rubel has made about a thousand recordings at his Champaign IL Pogo Studio: Hum, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Adrian Belew, Melanie, Luther Allison, Henry Butler; RCA, Capitol, Warner, Jive/Zomba, etc. Mark belongs to SPARS, AES, NARAS, ASCAP, MEIEA, EARS, and other acronyms. Having taught Audio Technology to thousands of students, he is Audio Director for Eastern Illinois University’s $65 million Doudna Arts Center.

Mark interviewed Les Paul, Terry Manning and others for Tape Op Magazine, and acts as panelist, consultant, beta tester and expert witness. He plays many instruments badly and sings worse, and is ridiculously happy cultivating songs, students and cats with his saintly wife Nancy.

Rick Senechal / Director (New Board Member)

Rick Senechal currently leads the audio group at Microsoft Studios. MS Studios is a full service production facility located in Redmond Washington. They offer services ranging from broadcast, post, music, brand music and music supervision, UI design and general audio production. Our work is played in every global market with an up countable number of plays.

Starting as a drummer and then transitioned into audio production, in these early years he ran the recording program at Fairhaven Studios on the Western Washington University. During that time he created curriculum for four university level audio classes.

He has a heart for music production and creating educational opportunities aimed at increasing the skill level of the local audio community thus drawing more production to the Northwest.

Candace Stewart / Director (New Board Member)

Candace Stewart is an industry veteran with over 20 years experience in Recording Studio management. She has managed such facilities as Take One Recording, Red Zone, Soundcastle Studios, and Firehouse Studios.

Prior to coming onboard at EastWest Studios in Hollywood, Candace managed Cello Studios which was located in the same building, and was converted into EastWest Studios by design superstar Philippe STARCK.

She has worked with artists in all genres of music from the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg to film composers, Jerry Goldsmith and Paul Williams.

In her tenure as a manager she has seen many technological changes in the industry but her commitment remains the same: to facilitate artists and all those who create music in any way possible.

Sherri Tantleff / Director (Re-elected)

Sherri Tantleff has been passionate about the audio industry for over 22 years. She was Studio Manager/VP of Operations at Manhattan’s audio post facility, Sync Sound for 16 years.

Currently, she is Industry Outreach Manager for Full Sail University. There she’s a national liaison to the audio and film industries bringing professionals together to address issues regarding curriculum, employment and technology. She attends many industry conferences including AES, NAB, NAMM, Remix Hotel, and the Mix LA Open.

Sherri is a member of the Recording Academy, has a Bachelors of Music Business degree from the University of Miami, is a musician and teaches family music classes.

Zoe Thrall / Director

Zoe Thrall

Zoe Thrall has recently taken over management of the newly constructed Studio at The Palms in Las Vegas. Her 22 years in the recording industry includes studio and artist management, engineering, performance and touring credits.

In addition to her directorship in SPARS, she is a member of the Audio Engineering Society, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the American Federation of Musicians.

Tony van Veen / Director

Tony van Veen

Tony van Veen is CEO and President of Audio and Video Labs, Inc, the parent company of Disc Makers and CD Baby. Having performed and toured with several bands and run a small independent label, he joined Disc Makers in 1987.

As president of Disc Makers he has been at the forefront of empowering independent artists to release, distribute, and promote their own music. In the process, he oversaw the company’s growth from a small regional vinyl pressing plant with less than 40 employees, to the undisputed leader in CD and DVD manufacturing for independent artists in the US, with over 400 employees, producing over 20,000 new independent titles a year. In August of 2008 the company acquired CD Baby, the largest independent music store in the world with 250,000 independent album titles and over 2.2 million songs in its catalog, which it sells on its own cdbaby.com store and distributes to dozens of the largest download stores in the world, including iTunes, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, and eMusic.

Tony continues to be actively engaged with independent artists while splitting his duties between Disc Makers and CD Baby.

Paul Christensen, Ex Officio / Executive Director

Paul Christensen is the new Executive Director of SPARS. He was recruited to head a new program to expand the SPARS mission and re-brand the association to better serve members of the recording community, facility owners, producers and engineers. In addition, a new, enlarged web site has been built to encourage networking, community, education, as well as free lance opportunities.

Mr. Christensen served as a Director of SPARS from 1989 to 2000 in various capacities, including Chairman of the Board from 1997-1999, SPARS 20th Anniversary. He is President of Omega Productions, a 38 year old award winning Entertainment Production Company specializing in live concert DVD, HD and CD recordings.

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