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Want to use the same gear Jay-Z recorded on? Now's your chance (5 photos)

Algoma Conservatory of Music gets another $300,000 from feds to help build recording studio as part of ongoing renovation project

The federal government has announced another $300,000 in grant money for the second phase of renovations at the Algoma Conservatory of Music, which will include rooms for live performances and live recordings in the loft area of the building. 

Some of the recording gear that’s been acquired by the school music has even had brushes with stardom in the past. 

“We have some of the equipment that Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake used, so you know it’s going to be of the highest quality equipment that will used here,” said Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan. 

The second phase of the project will see a final soundproofing for the studio, and getting additional sound equipment. 

Algoma Conservatory of Music Principal Guy Traficante says that once the loft is completely renovated, it will be a “fabulous asset” for current students to make recordings, whether for career development or pedagogical purposes. 

He says the move will also enable the music school to expand its concert series. 

“It’s just a tremendous help,” said Traficante. “The funding from the first phase was enough to essentially build the spaces, and now, this additional funding gives us the ability to really maximize them to bring in the equipment that we need.”

The recording studio, when completed, will be able to record audio from both the conservatory and The Machine Shop, which stakeholders hope will attract musicians and recording artists to Sault Ste. Marie.  

“If an artist wants to record in a venue, then they have to move portable equipment, rent the venue and go on-site to do that, which often means compromises in technical equipment, and of course, scheduling compromises,” said Traficante. “Here, it’s all in place, so they’ll have world-class equipment to utilize, and then these two spectacular venues - the loft and The Machine Shop next door - to choose from, as well as smaller spaces in the conservatory that will be used for isolation booths and such.”

“It becomes a major recording complex that should attract artists from the entire region of Canada and the U.S.”

Local musician Greig Nori is donating more than $200,000 worth of equipment towards the recording studio, and will also serve as the studio’s manager and technician going forward. 

“We’re just so fortunate that he decided to move back to Sault Ste. Marie,” said Traficante of the former Treble Charger vocalist/guitarist. “He’s a leader in [the] recording industry.”

The loft area of the conservatory opens later this fall, with the equipping and refining of the recording studio to continue throughout this year. 

It’s anticipated that the recording studio will be completed by September 2020. 

“It’s going to be a game-changer, and it’s going to put us on the map, and it’s going to make Sault Ste. Marie not only a great place to come and perform at, it’s going to make Sault Ste. Marie an even better place to live in,” Sheehan said. 

The conservatory says it’s raising the rest of the funding for the project through loans and through its own fundraising campaign. 

Traficante tells SooToday that the conservatory needs to raise $1.5 million in order to complete the project in its entirety.   

The federal government originally provided the conservatory $2.1 million in funding for the renovation project back in 2016. 


James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday based in Sault Ste. Marie
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