"Ground Control to Major Tom..." If you had followed a trail of cords leading from the music room to the theater lobby yesterday, you would have found junior Sierra, headphones on, surrounded by microphones. You also would have found a filing cabinet-sized box with a fan inside. "We're running our class's recording of David Bowie's Space Oddity through the Leslie speaker," Sierra explains, pointing at the box.
Sierra and fellow juniors Ellis and Kamal—all members of Wes and Charlie's fifth-period Studio Band class—explain that the Leslie speaker is intended to simulate a pipe organ-type sound. In fact, Leslie speakers were initially used in churches when it became too difficult and expensive to maintain and clean a traditional pipe organ. They explain how the sound goes through the moving fan, programmed to work at different speeds, and comes back out all warbly and pipe organ-y.
Why do this? "Because it sounds freakin' awesome," says Kamal with a smile. As they wrap cords and pack up mics together, his classmates agree and say they're grateful to have this unique experience. "Honestly, if you're interested in music, Field is an amazing school to go to." Sierra says.
Back in the music room, the class listens to the recorded result, which is indeed more surreal and ethereal than their original recording. The verdict is in: it sounds cool.