Gilbert recording school alumni poised for big wins at the Grammys

An audio recording school in Gilbert is celebrating three alumni who were nominated to receive Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8.

If the students from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences (CRAS) – Eric Weaver, Sam Holland and Darrell Thorp, win their Grammy categories, they will be called to the stage to accept their awards.

Weaver and Holland were nominated for record of the year for their individual work with Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Taylor Swift ‘s “Shake It Off,” respectively, while Thorp was nominated for album of the year and best-engineered album for his work on the Beck album, “Morning Phase.”

Out of the total 83 categories at the Grammys, 47 different CRAS alumni have contributed to pieces that were nominated in 42 different Grammy categories.

“It’s one thing to go out and have some success,” Becky Fimbres, a school representative, said, “but to work on something that’s nominated? That’s a big deal!”

Fimbres even joked about how engineers get paid the big bucks after being nominated. She said it was exciting for the CRAS staff to see their past students’ careers take off.

“Once you’re nominated, you’re an engineer that works on a lot of great stuff,” she said. “We’re very proud to see where they’ve taken their education.”

The school hosts 11-month sessions that start every three weeks. The 11 months consists of 36 weeks of hands-on, in-school training followed by 12 weeks of interning with professional companies.

Fimbres said after being accepted into CRAS’ selective program, students must research where they want to go to work after their 36 weeks of education.

From there, school coordinators help students secure internships in their desired locations.

“We don’t suggest they stay in Arizona because this is not a huge audio recording mecca,” she said. “We want them to go somewhere where they can give themselves a chance to do something great with their education.”

Fimbres said the alumni list of Grammy winners and nominees grows each year, which is most likely due to the school’s dedication to their students.

Students are given the opportunity for free tutoring, lectures from guest speakers and weekend boot camps, where special lessons are given to expand upon what was taught during the week.

The school also hires staff to stay 24/7 so that students, especially those working and attending school, can come and practice any hour of the day with trained personnel on hand.

Gentry Studer, one of the 47 CRAS students accredited in pieces with Grammy nominations said CRAS was the reason he got to where he is today.

“(CRAS) was the best thing in the world,” he said. “I actually quit my job to go to school there full time … I lived at that school.”

Since graduating in August of 2013, Studer has worked his way up from intern to lead engineer at Howie Weinberg Mastering in Los Angeles, CA, where he helps out with audio controls and ensures clients’ satisfaction.

Studer contributed to the Ryan Adam’s album, “Gimme Something Good,” which is up for best rock album, best rock performance, and best rock song.

“I’m absolutely stoked about it!” Studer said. “I definitely did not think within a year and a half I would be three-time Grammy-nominated. It’s huge, in my opinion.”

Win or lose, Studer said he plans to keep doing what he’s doing.

“Hopefully one day I’ll be chief engineering my own sessions,” he said. “I just want to thank CRAS… they deserve it.”

You can tune in to see if Studer and his fellow graduates win Grammys on Feb. 8, at 5 p.m. PST on CBS.