SPARS ended its 2011-2012 fiscal year recently, producing several well attended and successful events. In addition, interest in the 33 year old recording association is on the rise, as evidenced by the upsurge in membership, newsletter subscriptions, as well as social media participation.
The upcoming year holds much promise as the Board of Directors is poised to announce the formation of the SPARS Foundation, which is being created to fund the association’s new education and mentoring initiatives begun last year. “With the increase in activity, it has been a whirlwind year for all of us on the board,” stated SPARS President, Kirk Imamura. “Based on the feedback of participants from our events, indications are that our activities are having an impact. I believe we are on the right track.”
This past year, SPARS established the SPARS Legacy Award to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the recording industry. The first award, presented at the AES Convention in NY, went to Joe Tarsia, founder and past owner of Philadelphia’s legendary Sigma Sound. SPARS Newsletter, SoundBytes, continues to be well received, having grown to a readership of more than 3,000 targeted industry professionals. SPARS has a new column, SPARS Sound Bite, in Mix and Mix Online. In addition, SPARS has a new Blog, SPARS PatchBay, on Pro Sound Network. Both SoundBite and PatchBay are written by SPARS members and other industry leaders, covering topics relevant to our industry.
SPARS remains committed to bringing all the members of our industry together to share knowledge and to mentor the next generation. This year SPARS launched the SPARS Studio Summit program, a new regional mentoring and education initiative bringing together educators, students, producers, engineers and SPARS members and facilities. SPARS also launched Ask SPARS, a new mentoring program attached to the regional SPARS Studio Summit, which allows students and working career recording professionals access to successful industry leaders. As part of this program, SPARS has established the SPARS Mentoring Forum on Facebook. This forum complements the SPARS LinkedIn Group, allowing participants on-line access to Industry professionals.
SPARS completed the first in a series of regional SPARS Studio Summits and ASK SPARS sessions in Asheville, NC. The Asheville Summit was held at Echo Mountain Recording and featured SPARS board members, local producers, engineers and students from three local SPARS Education Member schools, Appalachian State University, University of North Carolina, Asheville and Western Carolina University. In addition, SPARS produced the third annual SPARS Studio Summit in the HOT Zone at the recent NAMM Convention in Anaheim, CA. In continuing activity last Fall, SPARS presented two mentoring seminars at the AES Convention, SPARS Talk – Lessons from Savvy Owners and Speed Counseling with Experts – Mentoring Answers for Your Career.
This past year, SPARS also expanded its Event Internship program to support the two major industry conventions of the year, the AES and NAMM conventions. SPARS Education members are given priority with regard to these internship positions, as with other speaking and mentoring requests. SPARS also introduced a new SPARS Web Banner for members to display in their literature and on-line.
The SPARS Board of Directors is looking forward to a positive year as the organization continues to grow and influence the industry. There will be exciting news and further developments in the coming weeks as the SPARS Foundation is launched with its increased impact on education and mentoring.