From anime to thrash metal: Hanover High's media classes reveal career paths

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Hanover Senior High School's career path opportunities are music to two students' ears.

Seniors Gabe Re, 18, and Nathan Lanier, 17, spent the past few years participating in media production classes.

While they aren't sure what the future holds for them, the courses have helped improve Soul Chamber, the pair's thrash metal band. 

Re and Lanier haven’t recorded anything major yet, but they plan to soon. 

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Lead guitarist Re learned about basic studio setup thanks to the classes. He has recorded small sets on his own, playing the guitar, and will be exploring recording vocals soon. 

Lanier, who handles vocals and rhythm guitar, said the classes are helping improve his understanding of writing songs, which he is working on for the band. 

“It’s helped me kind of see how different aspects of everything are broken down,” he said. “So when I’m thinking about how we’re going to do the songs ... I think I have a clear picture of certain things because of doing this.”

Gabe Re (left) and Nathan Lanier practice play their guitars Tuesday in Hanover Senior High School's multimedia classroom. Meredith Willse photo

He said when he works with different programs, he can see how the track lays everything out, and it helps him see what makes up the song. 

“It gives a wider view of everything,” he said. 

Elise Reichenfeld, the media production's class's new teacher, said it is cool because it builds on students’ interests — from heavy metal music, to anime, to gaming soundtracks — and it shows students how they can build on that.  

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The program, which sees about 15 to 20 students annually, offers three different course levels that last a semester long. The first class, Reichenfeld said, focuses on the basics for at least a month before the students can go into the studios.  Lanier remembered the second level helped him learn more about tracks. 

The classes are Music Technology, 1, 2 and 3. Reichenfeld teaches basic songwriting, basic knowledge of hearing and sound, basic microphone knowledge and techniques and basic recording level and adjustments in the three levels. 

An image of Billie Holiday marks the multimedia classroom's window into the room. Meredith Willse photo

The music production program is one of the many career exploration programs the school offers. 

Hanover Public Superintendent John Scola wanted to create a comprehensive technical school to offer 17 advanced placement classes and programs that offer credentials in welding, computer science, construction and other occupational paths, according to high school Principal Marc Abels.  

“It was really important to him to also have the music tech component to it because we wanted to create jobs for the future and to make students more competitive in the 21st-century global economy,” Abels said. 

Paul Chiacchierini, a recording engineer and owner of Academy for Media Production, said the school started the multimedia program around 2015. The academy joined to consult with the course instructors on how to develop the program and create a curriculum. 

The academy continues to be involved today because this is a technology-based field that changes about every six months, Chiacchierini said. He teams up with the program instructors to help revamp it and meet technology changes.

Reichenfeld said the instructors try to tailor the courses to better meet the students' needs. She takes materials adults learn and condenses them down to something the students can understand.  

“I think there’s always going to be a demand for knowledge in this area,” Chiacchierini aid. “Multimedia’s going to be one of the largest growing segments of the employment market right now.” 

The multimedia program offers high school students a taste of the field before college. Chiacchierini said the path can open the students to any job that uses a microphone, from audio editing, video editing and recording sound effects. 

He has seen many students get discouraged in an arts-based program because they decide to spend a lot of money to get a four-year college degree. 

A college education is important, but Chiacchierini said he thinks instead of paying thousands of dollars at a college for general education classes, students can go to a community college for those while at the same time attending a trade or tech school to learn a trade. Then the students can be employed while they figure out where they want to go next, giving them a leg up.  

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After taking the classes, if the students decide they want to pursue this industry some more, they might land at Academy for Media Production. 

“We see a lot of students come out of here, looking to go ahead and further themselves and get into the entertainment industry through the programs (AMP) offers,” Chiacchierini said. 

He added with how the multimedia job market is growing, a student doesn’t necessarily have to go through a four-year program to get certified. 

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.

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