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Crane prepares for live concert video

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POTSDAM — Soon music lovers will be able to enjoy concerts at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music without leaving the comfort of their homes.

The school recently finished installing the equipment it needs to stream live video of concerts online.

Michael R. Sitton, dean of the Music Department at Crane, said the streaming serves several purposes. It will let distant family and friends watch students perform, allow alumni to keep up with concerts at their alma mater and show potential students what they are in for if they choose Crane.

“We haven’t even begun to discover all of the potential,” Mr. Sitton said.

Gail H. Stradling, who graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 1964, and Richard F. Stradling Jr., a graduate of St. Lawrence University, Canton, donated the money needed to purchase the equipment.

The Stradlings live in Cincinnati, Ohio. During a visit to Potsdam in December, school officials told the couple of their desire to stream concerts live and online.

“It was fun to see the donors get more and more excited about the impact that their donation is going to have,” said Jason N. Ladouceur, director of planned giving at the college.

The school would not disclose the size of the donation, although Mr. Ladouceur confirmed it is over six figures.

In addition to the up-front costs needed to set everything up, the donation will be used to create an endowment to keep the equipment up to date, replacing it as often as every five years.

“We know that anything technological that you buy, there will be new generations of equipment,” Mr. Sitton said.

Four cameras each have been installed in Hosmer Concert Hall and Snell Theater. Each set of cameras can be manned by one person, stationed at a backstage control panel. The video and audio will be streamed online instantly, as well as recorded.

Crane has long broadcast audio-only concerts online, but this is the first time the school has been capable of streaming video.

In addition to the recording and streaming equipment, the school bought monitors that have been installed in the lobbies of the theaters, which also will broadcast performances.

Almost all major student and faculty concerts will be available live and for free at the Crane School of Music website. Visiting performers will be able to choose whether they will allow their concerts to be streamed.

The equipment was purchased from Audio Video Corp., Syracuse.

Students will be taught to man the cameras and streaming equipment, learning hands-on production skills, said Joshua P. Emanuel, visiting instructor and music technology coordinator.

It also is hoped that the streaming technology can be used to create off-campus educational opportunities.

“There is a lot of educational potential — being able to broadcast a master class, for example,” Mr. Emanuel said.

The school has yet to announce which of this semester’s concerts will be the first available to watch online. Once the system is up and running, the video feeds will be accessible at www.potsdam.edu/academics/crane.

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