Mic Check

Kurt Heitmann sets up mixing console. Photo: M.A.Ebner

Audio Visual Club students set the stage for Garrison Middle School graduation 

By Mary Ann Ebner

With studies completed and grades posted, a team of eighth-grade students at the Garrison Middle School faced a final task in preparation for graduation. Before the Class of 2012 could march forward to receive their diplomas, members of the Audio Visual Club set the stage for the June 20 ceremony.

Taking their cues from Kurt Heitmann, who teaches and facilitates Audio Visual Club as an elective course for seventh and eighth graders, members of the A/V Club headed backstage to round up speakers, stands, audio carts, microphones and cables to prepare the school’s gymnasium for graduation ceremonies. “Let’s get the cart, four speakers, and four stands,” Heitmann belted out to a dozen eager kids who were setting up not only for the school but for their own commencement. “Why don’t you guys start on microphone cables . . . and we’re going to tape those down like usual.”

Heitmann, who has volunteered to lead the club for the past five academic years, has worked with this group of students throughout the school year to orchestrate audio visual operations for plays, musical performances, and ceremonies. A sound engineer and senior vice president of CP Communications in Elmsford, N.Y., Heitmann works primarily in providing audio visual services for sports and entertainment broadcasting. ​“I’m an audio engineer by trade,” Heitmann said. “My father was an engineer so I grew up in the business. This is something I can do to give back to the community. Some kids really buy into it. It’s easy for kids to use technology, but we’re giving kids the basics of how it works. They can’t join the club just to goof around.”

Student adjusts mic. Photo: M.A.Ebner

Club member Addie Westerhuis laughed along with other students as Heitmann teased them about the tangled cables. There’s nothing glamorous about working with cables, but keeping equipment neat and organized is essential. “Working with cables and wrapping the cable is the hardest part,” Westerhuis said. “It’s part of the fun, but it’s probably the hardest thing you have to do.”

The team of students kept busy with a steady rhythm and made the process look easy. Macdara Heanue and Matthew Hard hoisted speakers together, and labeled the console for each microphone. “Success!” Hard shouted, as the microphones passed the sound check.

Principal Impellittiere and Lizzy Walker. Photo: M.A.Ebner

All of the members of the current Audio Visual Club will move on to high school in the fall, and Heitmann, who has agreed to continue to lead the elective course in the new school year, hopes that rising seventh and eighth graders will consider the course. “I tell the kids that if they enjoy this, they can get a job anywhere in audio visual,” Heitmann said. “There are lots of opportunities. You may start out making minimum wage, but before you know it, you’re running a business.” 

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