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FMPSD and District Recording Studio: A Partnership for Local Youth

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Trinity Proulx is at one with her piano. Her eyes closed, a slight smile punctuates her lips. She’s working on an original song; she knows she has it. A grade 11 student at Fort McMurray Composite High School, Trinity is in the District Recording Studio, located in the school. This is where the school’s Music class happens.

“The piano matches my voice. I find it easy to write songs with it. Singing makes me free. Having the District Recording Studio right in our school is really cool. We make the other high schools jealous. Come check it out. You’ll love it,” shares Trinity, a future songwriter.

We agree. You would certainly be impressed. Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) constructed the $600,000 studio in collaboration with Kings Kids Canadian Charity, a local social proft. Initial funding came from the Canadian Red Cross as well.

The professional audio recording and video post-production facility opened its doors to rave reviews in October 2018. Home to cutting-edge technology, the studio features high-end microphones and equipment with sound-engineered acoustics. You can record an album here. And, a professional staff of musicians ensures you have the “ears,” to help you with your recording efforts.

Currently, 14 students are taking a daily General Music 10 class here, but given the studio’s popularity, the curriculum will only grow. Guitar, keyboard, music production, and music theory and history are few of the many options available.

Rick Kirschner, Executive Producer of the studio and founder of Kings Kids Canadian Charity, shares on the partnership with FMPSD.

“The District Recording Studio was in discussion for the last six years. With modernization underway, we wanted to bring in new programming for students. We spoke to Superintendent Nicholls, and local musicians, and the work started,” Kirschner recalls.

“The three-fold purpose of the studio is to firstly provide Music/Recording Arts programming for Composite High students. We then have an after-school drop-in program called ‘Soundforce Collective,’  from 3 to 5 p.m. Lastly, it is open to the community after 5 p.m. Artists can pay to book the facility to record. We appreciate the partnership with FMPSD. It’s been great.”

Dan Tulk, Principal, Composite High, who is also a well-known and talented local musician can’t say enough good things about having the facility on-site.

“The studio has really revitalized Composite High School. Having just gone through modernization, partnering with King’s Kids was great. Learning music and arts has changed, and so have our students, so why fight it? Why not embrace it? This facility does that. If students want to make beats, we do that here, if they want rock and roll, we’ve got it,” Tulk notes.

And, what students want is shared with Willi Whiston first. Our Composite High School Music instructor, Whiston has been with FMPSD for over a year now.

“To get studio experience is hard, and expensive. This partnership with FMPSD is incredible. Getting three years of work done with professional recording gear, and professional musicians looks really good on a resume, and music school application. It is a lot to get your foot in the door. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students,” Whiston notes.

Sky Seidel is the after-school program coordinator and one of the producers at District Recording Studio. He is also the Artist in Residence. Originally from Australia, Sky shares his song writing experience with students and mentors in instrumental music. He oversees the “Soundforce Collective,” after-hours program, and helped produce the eight-song Soundforce Collective CD featuring Composite students, and local artists.

“The biggest thing about the District Recording Studio is, if you have a spark of something, we can bring it to fruition with professional quality. Our bi-monthly ‘Soundforce Collective’ events feature youth showcasing their songs/talents. From these events, we gathered a group of students to produce a CD showing off their own songs,” explains Seidel.

“We serve the youth in our community and keep the District Recording Studio a safe creative space to hang out and explore their own passions and creativity,” he adds.

Exploring “passion and creativity,” is how we foster the arts at FMPSD. It is something we take tremendous pride in, as we champion artistic students, and an artistic community. For more information visit


Doing What’s Best for Kids and Community. For more information on any of our 16 schools, visit: For real time updates: follow us on Twitter: @FMPSD @DougNicholls2 and like us on Facebook: Fort McMurray Public School District. We are also on Instagram @FMPSD.


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.