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NESCom students cruise through career opportunity

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BANGOR - Spring break is months away, but that didn't stop a small group of New England School of Communications seniors from boarding a cruise ship last month and rubbing elbows with some of country music's biggest stars.

"It was the Blake Shelton cruise, and it was a big event," said Eric Ferguson, interim director of audio engineering and live sound at the Bangor school. "Some of the kids [that went] had never been on an airplane before, and others had never left Maine before."

A total of seven live sound students from NESCom hopped aboard the all-expenses-paid Norwegian cruise ship in Miami, where they worked as stage hands helping musicians like Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins and Neal McCoy set up and tear down for close to 100 shows throughout the Caribbean tour.

"They were the first people to a problem. They had what recording studio folks call 'session radar.' They were constantly scanning for problems to fix and work to do. This is something they can't learn in the classroom," said Ferguson.

It was an opportunity that was graciously set up by 1990 NESCom graduate Tim Cabral, who landed a job with Carnival Cruise Lines before starting his own company, Cruise Production.

"With this new chapter in my career, it seemed like a great opportunity to pay it forward to NESCom students just starting out," said Cabral.

For NESCom senior Karl Krahn, it was a chance of a lifetime.

"None of us can believe it still. It was a great opportunity and quite a shock that we got to do something like this," said Krahn. "We got to push cases and set up microphones and we got to work with audio professionals in the field today. It was great to talk to these guys and find out how they're making it."

The trip was essentially a working mini-vacation that Ferguson said the students were well trained for.

"We [at NESCom] work harder physically than other schools, and we teach that to our students. [So] they were definitely prepared," explained Ferguson. "They just hadn't seen sound systems that big and hadn't been around artists on a much larger scale than what Maine has given them."

Krahn hopes to use this new experience and his education to eventually land a job in the cruise industry when he graduates.

"My career goal is to work with a cruise line, and I know the school has a good reputation with Carnival," said Krahn.

And Cabral hopes to give even more students like Krahn the opportunity to put their skills to work on future cruises.

"Cruise Production has cruises booked into 2015 and I would love to have NESCom students involved in future projects," explained Cabral.

For more on the New England School of Communications, log on to www.nescom.edu.

Last modified on Thursday, 08 November 2012 09:28

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