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Stage Managers: The Real ‘Rock Stars?’

“Now roll them cases out and lift them amps, Haul them trusses down and get ’em up them ramps, ‘Cause when it comes to moving me, You guys are the champs.” Jackson Browne

music production, battle of the bands Band players are called rock stars for a reason. They command the crowd, and the attention. But we often overlook the people that actually “put on” the show. BEAU students taking an audio production course as part of their music production and engineering degree program were living Jackson Browne’s lyrics as they were pulling off the Utah PTA Battle of the Bands (BOB). In the role of stage managers, students set up and tore down the stage, helped format audio levels and transitioned each band during the concert.

The 11th annual concert pitted 13 high school bands from across the state in a competition to name the best group of 2013. With numerous bands playing back to back, having individuals there to switch each set is critical in a quality production.

“Without those people, it would have taken a long time and the event would run less smoothly,” said Music Production and Engineering Program Chair Bruce Kirby. “It’s also awkward to have the audience waiting between performances. The event was well organized and came off as professional because our staff helped the performance with seamless transitions.”

While an event like this can be fun to do, it also has an educational application. Setting up mics is very similar between live and studio production, battle of the bands 

“Learning how shows like this are pulled off help with our music business classes and is good practical experience for our music students,” Bruce added.

Bruce, who also judged the competition, saw the importance of this event for high school students as well.

“It’s cool that this is here to encourage students to develop their musical ideas and to learn what the elements of a professional performance are,” he said.