By Heather Zadra
Special to the Herald Times
RANGELY | Colorado Creative Industries, the state’s art funder, has awarded Rangely resident Samantha Wade a career advancement grant. The award will pay some of the costs of a two-week residency at the Music District in Fort Collins, Colo., where Wade will study voice and recording engineering. Wade is currently the resident engineer and guide at The TANK Center for Sonic Arts in Rangely.
“We’re very proud of Samantha,” notes TANK Executive Director James Paul. “This award recognizes her talent as a singer and her skills as a recording engineer.
The $1,164.50 award will allow Wade to attend the two-week residency, which will include training with the Nashville Music Masters Academy, a special program at The Music District, bringing some of the country’s most esteemed engineers and recording experts to Fort Collins in September.
Wade has been singing in the TANK since age 11. Her grandmother, Barbara Wade, lived across the road from the abandoned water tank, discovered by sound artists and musicians to have a resonance longer and richer than the Taj Mahal’s. For years, these artists came to Rangely to record here, and Wade’s grandmother, who held the key to the TANK, let them in. Wade became one of the first volunteers as the place became The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, a nonprofit with a fully equipped, state-of-the-art recording studio, concert programming and community events.
“The TANK became my sole focus and my passion as I developed many life skills, as well as a unique understanding of The TANK itself as an instrument,” says Wade.
As a singer, Wade developed a broader range and became familiar with the special techniques for singing in a space with a 40-second reverb. Gradually she became an official guide to the place and came to be called “The Voice of The TANK,” singing and encouraging visitors to sing. She has now sung on many TANK projects with many of the artists who’ve visited. She has been credited on several CDs, and her singing was featured in a Los Angeles Times article on The TANK.
Wade also began to train as a recording engineer at a young age, learning from The TANK’s team of professionals and often assisting them on recording projects. Last year, she became The TANK’s resident engineer for standard sessions. She engineered 19 sessions for visiting musicians in 2017.
The Music District in Fort Collins is a multi-faceted facility devoted to the music industry, describing itself as “a music-centric gathering place to cultivate talents, support professional development and encourage connections.” While there, Wade will also lead a panel discussion on The TANK, describing own experience of the place and leading a presentation of its artistic issues and technical challenges.
“We often do presentations and workshops in Sonic Learning, teaching the methods of deep listening that The TANK encourages,” Wade said. “I’d like to bring the discussion of The TANK to an exploration of this key idea, which is really where The TANK comes from in the first place.”