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Tis The Season To Get Busy

We’ve weathered another year together, intrepid reader. We’ve weathered another year together, intrepid reader. It seems for the past couple of years, we’ve been reporting optimism, at least cautious optimism, as we look forward to the next year. And here we are again. The economy is improving, but too slowly, and stability seems tenuous. Business is up for many, but there’s little confidence in the gains—its certainly still rare to find a confidence level that’s driving major expansion and investment. But let’s not dwell in gloominess; it’s the holidays, and we’re supposed to be embracing a holiday spirit.

Our little industry is still chugging along, and we find joy in working in our quirky niche of the greater economy. That joy is based on the two fundamental elements of music and people. The love of music is what brought most of us here in the first place. Then we discovered a community of kindred souls to share the adventure. Maintaining, building upon and being fed by those relationships are as much ongoing motivations as the music; the music still provides the common denominator in the equation.

Music is an essential ingredient in the festivities of the holiday season, and special events are everywhere to be seen. That means that for many audio professionals, it’s also their busiest time of the year.

Christmas tree lighting extravaganzas, local holiday concert events, acts that tour specifically at the holidays and more can make for a busy season for live sound companies. That these are frequently one-off events makes for a lot of set up and tear down, but as with retailers, the profits of the season are what makes or breaks a year for event production professionals.

That can apply to venues as well. For instance, in my neighborhood, the Grand Ole Opry moves from the larger Opry House back to its Ryman Auditorium roots for a few months each fall. I’ve been told that the reasoning is financial—the Opry House then gets booked for seasonal concerts, corporate events and a four-week run of the Radio City Holiday Spectacular with the Rockettes.

For house of worship professionals (and volunteers), the holiday season is filled with taxing tasks. Rehearsals and performances of musical productions help make a busy time of year even busier. Such events, and drama or stage events, go well beyond the norm, stretching available resources (and often requiring regrettable sonic compromises) and the technical capabilities of a HOW’s technical staff.

The pattern rolls over into broadcast as well, with parades and other live events to cover, a bit more extravaganza than typical for sporting events, and seasonal specials to work into the normal flow of activities—we have to entertain all those folks with extra time off, don’t we? It’s so much easier for the recording studio guys, isn’t it? They have their peak holiday activity in the summer (I have helped set up a decorated tree in a studio in July, to help the artists get in the holiday spirit).

In the spirit of the season, the staff of Pro Sound News and all of NewBay Media thanks you for your readership, wishes you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons and a healthy and prosperous 2014. May your sound be clear, may you always have ample headroom, may your path be undistorted, may your lines run straight, and your connections never fail you. Cheers <clink>!