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faculty

Recording Arts & Show Production

Recording Arts & Show Production

John LaRosa has worked as an audio engineer since 1999. His career spans from studio work where he has worked with many artists in multiple genres, as well as doing live sound at Hard Rock Live Orlando and other venues around the Central Florida area. He also works as a boom operator, sound designer, and voiceover editor for short films, testimonials, and documentaries. John has over 10 years of experience in education as an instructor and program director. He currently is the program director for the Recording Arts and Show Production program. The part about working in education that is most appealing to John is how he can have a positive impact on a student’s life by helping them understand what path is best for their career.  He sees every student as a different opportunity to motivate and inspire them to turn their passion into a career.

JOHN LAROSA

Recording Arts & Show Production
Jared Burgos works as a freelance engineer tracking and mixing for many artists in the Central Florida area. His passion for music stems from growing up in New York with his parents always listening to early 90s Hip-Hop and R&B. Jared began tracking and mixing his own music by age 12, and after high school, he attended and graduated from Full Sail University with a bachelor’s degree in Recording Arts. After college, he moved to Los Angeles where he interned at Glenwood Place Recording Studio and later landed a full-time position as a tracking engineer at 17 Hertz Studio. After moving back to Florida, he started working for The Walt Disney Company, as an Entertainment Technician, where he would get the opportunity to lead the audio crews for Disney Marathon’s, ESPN Cheerleading, and several live shows inside the parks. Jared is excited to pass on his experiences in the audio industry with the F.I.R.S.T. Students.

jared burgos

Recording Arts & Show Production

Jason has been developing his passion for music over the past 25+ years. Starting out as a DJ playing local venues, he developed his skill and network to eventually become a DJ for concert, television and corporate events for Bad Boy Entertainment. Jason then went on to attain his AS in Recording Arts and a BS in Entertainment Business. Upon graduation, the live sound area came calling and Jason found himself touring with BET Jazz for multiple years, doing live sound engineering for the likes of John Legend, Anita Baker, The Fugees, Damian Marley, En Vogue, Mary J. Blige and many more along the journey... Over the past 10+ years, Jason has been a sound engineer at Universal Studios Orlando, mixing live events and working on recording studio projects for various Universal artists. All this has brought Jason to being an instructor at F.I.R.S.T. Institute within the R.A.S.P. Program, sharing his knowledge and experience and inspiring future engineers.

Jason Aming

Recording Arts & Show Production

Justin Bethel's passion for music has existed as long as he can remember. Upon graduating high school he had to choose the profession in which to pursue. Audio Engineering was a perfect fit. After graduating from F.I.R.S.T. Institute, Justin became a stagehand at PSAV, now known as Encore Global. He's impacted shows such as the Daytona 500, WWE Monday Night Raw, Cirque Du Solei, Disney and more. Afterwards he became a live sound engineer for churches in the Orlando area. Meanwhile, he secured a position as audio engineer at the Amway Center for the Orlando Magic. Working at the arena, he's been honored to contribute to the likes of J Cole, Jay-Z, Boyz 2 Men, Lil Baby, Shawn Mendes and many more.

Justin Bethel

Recording Arts & Show Production

Michael Cochran began his journey through the world of music as a toddler in Indiana, banging on a two-octave organ. His career started off with his bachelor’s degree in music composition from the University of Florida, which led his studies to Europe where he continued his music education at the Conservatory de Musica in Rome. Michael has studied and worked alongside amazing composers and orchestrators, which solidly broadened his knowledge of composing musical scores for film and television as well as live show productions. After scoring and conducting for various orchestras, he naturally launched his career as a Producer and Musical Director for live stage shows and music artists. In the studio where he now spends most of his time, Michael works closely with his artists’ individuality while producing their tracks, performance, vocal style and sound – being ahead of the curve on the pulse of today’s music. Michael has worked with Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Hong Kong Disney, Disney Cruise Lines, Euro Disney, Disney on Ice, and many more. In 2016, Michael garnered a nod on the official Grammy ballot in the Record of the Year category for the song, “Without You” with his artist, Chaz Robinson. Michael is currently on the Producer’s Panel for The Florida Music Festival, and is judging and teaching master classes in music production around the world.

MICHAEL COCHRAN

Recording Arts & Show Production

Carlos began his journey through music at 13 years old when his dad gave him a guitar. After spending some time trying to figure out how to play a G chord, he started learning songs and fell in love with music. As he got older he started listening to music more critically and becoming fascinated with the entire music making process, to the point where he got his hands on a DAW (FL Studio!), started learning about engineering, and began producing local bands around his hometown of Allentown, PA. After graduating high school, he moved to Winter Park, FL and attended Full Sail's Recording Arts Program where he received a Bachelor's Degree, and started interning at recording studios in both the New York and Orlando area, mostly working with local artists from each city, having served as a recording, mixing, and mastering engineer on various projects. When he's not working on any music related projects, you can find Carlos noodling away on the guitar, constantly learning new dishes to cook, or just playing video games.

carlos colon

Recording Arts & Show Production

Eric Copeland has been a full-time working composer, arranger, and producer for the last 22 years. He started writing songs when he was 13, recording his songs on reel-to-reels, cassettes, and eventually computers. He began recording other people in his teens, toured as a keyboardist with bands, and eventually opened his own composing, arranging, and production business in 1990. Through the 90s, he produced local artists in Lexington, Kentucky while working in corporate tech before starting full-time music work in 2000.
In 2004, he moved his growing production company and label, Creative Soul Records, to Nashville, Tennessee and worked specifically for independent artists from around the world. Working at some of the top studios in the world in Nashville, he was fortunate to produce with the top sessions players, engineers, producers, and vocalists Music City has to offer.
In the past five years, he finished a Master’s in Music Composition at UCF in Orlando, and has now has shifted to composing and producing specifically for music licensing to TV, Film, Ads, Gaming, and more. He also started a YouTube channel in 2021 called “Make Music Income” that teaches composers and producers how to make music income from music licensing, music production, and more.

Eric Copeland

Recording Arts & Show Production

Drew’s first experience in the studio was as an artist, when he was singing and playing guitar in his band. The process of recording an EP was such a significant  and ear-opening experience that resonated with Drew and made him want to produce songs and albums in the studio beyond his own musical material. He pursued a degree in Sound and Music Technology at Valencia College and began an internship at Plush Studios immediately after graduating. Since then he has freelanced at a variety of studios and venues around Orlando as a recording and live sound engineer. Among his passion for audio, Drew’s also holds a passion for teaching and passing on the knowledge he has gathered over the years. Before coming to F.I.R.S.T., he has spent time teaching mathematics for elementary school through college level students, instructing athletes new to the sport of lacrosse as a Junior Varsity head coach, teaching music lessons for guitar and drum-set, and coaching esports for competitive and casual players.

DREW DODGE

Recording Arts & Show Production

Grayson’s audio engineering career began when he enrolled at F.I.R.S.T. Institute in July of 2013. During his time at F.I.R.S.T., he helped launch the F.I.R.S.T. Access program, became a Stagehand at Venue 578, and interned at several recording studios in the Orlando area. Following graduation, Grayson spent his first few years working primarily in live sound, for acts of all genres, including Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, Keith Urban, Travis Scott, and Earth, Wind & Fire. After a few years of focusing on live sound, Grayson decided to return to what he loves most – working in the studio. He now focuses primarily on working as a recording and mixing engineer, and has worked with MTV, VH1, Island Records and Roc Nation, amongst others. As a former student of F.I.R.S.T. Institute, Grayson prides himself in his ability to relate to students and assist them in reaching their goals in audio engineering.

GRAYSON FISHER

Recording Arts & Show Production

Inspired by the insane early beats and melodies of Timbaland, 9th wonder, Kanye West, Hit-Boi and Metro Booming. Loren Furbert is an an Engineer and Producer from Los Angeles, with a background in music production, engineering and film sound. After graduating from the Los Angeles Film School with an AA in Recoding Arts and Audio Engineering, he then interned with legendary studios such as Temple Base studios and Paramount recording Studios in Hollywood. Loren works closely with artitst from all over the world to provide excellent "Dream to Reality" expierencies.

Loren furbert

Recording Arts & Show Production

Rhaelee’s audio experience spans from multiple aspects of the music industry. She received two audio engineering degrees at IPR College of Creative Arts in Minneapolis. Since then she’s worked with the likes of Prince, KT Tunstall, Andrew McMahon, Quinn, and many more. She worked as a lead engineer for Creation Studios alongside well known hit makers like Paul Peterson, John Fields, and Steve Wiese. As her career took shape, she started her own business called the Jill of All Trades. This allows her to set up her own hydraulic staging and run sound for festivals of any kind. She’s done many discussion panels on women in audio too, including an NPR bit called Audio Queens. She not only makes audio happen in the studio or on stage, but also as a singer songwriter with her own original music.

RHAELEE GRONHOLZ

Recording Arts & Show Production

Chad Hake is a versatile Audio Engineer working professionally throughout the entertainment industry from the early age of 19 years old, with a previous history of song-writing and playing various instruments from as far back as the 5th grade. Chad graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Recording Arts and has efficiently navigated and made a reputation for himself through many avenues of the entertainment field. Chad has worked throughout various studios in Orlando as an engineer/producer/artist, freelanced in multiple streaming/broadcast venues, worked as an Audio Visual Engineer for the Orlando Magic and has also done work as a traveling Lead A1 Audio Engineer for various Audio Visual corporate/concert companies around the United States. Chad currently continues these jobs as a freelancer, while maintaining a position at AV Aces as a Project Manager for large format Audio Visual integration systems at multiple venues including arenas, night clubs, churches, hotels, homes and anything in-between. His specialty in the world of music and recording revolves highly around Hip-Hop, Rap, and Trap music. His passion, motivation, and knowledge is what drives him forward to continually be better than he was the day before, and has hopes to inspire and bring light to the upcoming generations within the field to make for a better tomorrow one student at a time.

chad hake

Recording Arts & Show Production

Chris Jay has been a professional audio engineer for over two decades. He got his start in the entertainment industry in 1995 working with Sublime on the first Warped Tour as their merchandise representative and stagehand. After the tour, Lee ”Scratch” Perry invited him to work as an assistant in the studio on the album “Lee Perry vs Sly & Robbie.” That time in the studio was what drove him to dedicate his career to audio engineering. Since then, he has worked on many albums ranging in genre from blues, punk, hardcore, and reggae. In various capacities, he has worked with a wide array of popular artists such as Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, LL Cool J, Trick Daddy, Cash Money, and The Beach Boys. He also works for Electronic Arts as an Audio Artist handling commentary and sound design for Madden and NBA Live.

CHRIS JAY

Recording Arts & Show Production

Zachary Ketay's passion for music started as a child when his parents enrolled him in organ lessons and the choir at church in Pennsylvania. After spending the better part of his K12 schooling in bands, orchestras, percussion ensembles, chamber groups and metal bands he fell in love with watching the process of recording these different groups. He initially spent 3 years pursuing a degree in Music Education, but something was missing so he left the program behind and enrolled here at F.I.R.S.T. Institute in the Recording Arts and Show Production program. After graduation, he accepted employment as a freelance stagehand and fabricator in the Orlando area working for companies such as Snapchat and Google before becoming the Supervisor of Event Technology at Renaissance Sea World. There he managed over 300,000 square feet of event space, working corporate events, trade shows, concerts and conventions. Zachary is very excited to be back at his Alma Mater, helping the next wave of engineers get started in the music industry.

zachary ketay

Recording Arts & Show Production

John started his career in the audio industry in 2004 after graduating from A.R.T.I. He then worked at Hard Rock Live fulfilling multiple roles as stagehand, stage setup and breakdown for live productions. He also worked with independent musicians, delivering post production and audio services to artists, dancers and other talents which helped him to expand his knowledge in the industry. Later, he was given the opportunity to do voice over production, audio recording for video post production. This opportunity lasted 10 years, producing a significant amount of audio content for web games, audio books and bilingual voice overs. Prior to joining F.I.R.S.T. Institute, he worked in production of accessibility content and video descriptions for television which were focused on people with visual disabilities.

JOhn Martinez

Recording Arts & Show Production

Rene has fully devoted himself to audio for the last decade. With experience in both live sound and studio applications, he has a proven record in all aspects of audio. Getting his start in dialog recording, he has worked with and delivered for brands like Disney, NBC Universal, Scholastic books, and Audible. At the same time, he has worked as a freelancer in the live events industry covering audio support for major corporate conferences and concerts for clients like Microsoft, House of Blues, and The City of Orlando. As an artist, he has developed music and production for radio spots and local bands throughout central florida. Bringing his passion for all things audio to the classroom, he strives to develop a modern and professional approach to recording and audio delivery.

rene morales

Recording Arts & Show Production

With a degree in electronics and a passion for live music, David Poirier began his career in audio mixing bands in small venues and nightclubs. In 2009, after a few national and international tours, David ran away with the circus joining Cirque Du Soleil’s production “La Nouba.” This is where his passion for large scale theatrical productions grew, and after the show closed in 2017, David was offered the audio supervisor position at Blue Man Group in Orlando. After a few years with Blue Man Group, David returned to Cirque Du Soleil to work as lead audio engineer on their new collaboration with Disney entitled, “Drawn to Life.” When he’s not working with Cirque or Blue Man Group, David teaches Recording Arts and Show Production at F.I.R.S.T. Institute and operates a sound design and integration company out of Central Florida. Some of his more notable clients include Kennedy Space Center and Boeing.

DAVID POIRIER

Recording Arts & Show Production

Britt comes to F.I.R.S.T. with 20 years experience in live sound and has over 100 theatrical design credits. He is currently the Sound Designer In Residency at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater. 

In addition to theater design,Britt’s experience includes many film credits that can be found on IMDB. His work has been featured on Good Morning America and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. 

“Sharing my experience with our students is always the highlight of my day.”

britt sandusky

Recording Arts & Show Production

Since graduating from ARTI in 2008, Josh has made a name for himself in the Orlando theatre community. The fast paced and ever changing world of musical theatre has kept his interest and allowed for him to expand his skill set beyond audio to include lighting and projection mapping as well as set construction and general stagecraft. Amidst it all he never lost the passion for audio and loves to challenge himself with larger and larger shows. 

JOSH SEYNA

Recording Arts & Show Production

Brandon has been working as a recording/mixing engineer in the music industry for over 13 years. He started his career in Nashville, TN where he worked as a freelance tracking engineer on projects with clients such as Mandy Barnett, Alison Krauss, Chase Rice, Mark Lowry, The Walt Disney Co., and Veggie Tales. After moving to Orlando, FL in 2013, Brandon opened his own recording studio, Parafonic Recording Studio. There, he recorded and mixed projects for bands and artists such as Cool Hand Luke, Seeker & Servant, Wind Words, Native Culture, and The Quiet Science. Brandon has worked on several Dove Award nominated projects throughout his career as well as one Dove Award winning album in 2013. He is a voting member of the Producer & Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy. His passion is helping creative people bridge the gap between the artistic and technical aspects of the music production process, and hopes to inspire the next generation of audio creators to embrace the same.

Brandon Shattuck

Recording Arts & Show Production

Cassandra Sturdivant picked up the Alto Saxophone at age 11 and pretty quickly began performing classical music and jazz pieces. Cassandra attended and graduated from the Berklee College of Music, where she diversified her knowledge in the Art of Audio and Sound Synthesis.  She found her sound through incorporating audio-visual multimedia installations and electronic acoustic compositions with creative code.  Software programming for music making systems struck her interest along with sound design for film with Foley.  She then went on to collaborate with film maker Kaelo Lyizoba, creating the sound design for the award winning “Outstanding Experimental Film, Boy Meets Girl at the Abjuja International Film Festival” in 2021.  Through her persistence to create, Cassandra continues to dedicate her time to helping others fall in love with their musical passion.  Being able to mentor students to go out into the world and believe they are truly capable of achieving whatever they dream brings her joy as she watches them discover their purpose.

Cassandra Sturdivant

Recording Arts & Show Production

At the age of 8, Freddy started learning how to play the saxophone and later on, the piano. By age 12, he knew he wanted to work behind the scenes making it all happen. Freddy’s career started in New York in the mid 90s in live sound and live TV.  For the last 20 years, he has done live audio for Good Morning America, The Daily Buzz, Court TV, TNA Wrestling, The Golf Channel, etc. Currently, he is still freelancing as a live sound engineer and teaching Recording Arts and Show Production at F.I.R.S.T. Institute. 

FREDDY TAVARES

Recording Arts & Show Production

Genoveva Valle has a background in classical piano and saxophone. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Technology. Here, her main instrument was piano while also participating in various choirs and ensembles at the university. She worked at a few local recording studios in Alabama. Later, she moved to Orlando, Florida and received an Associate’s Degree in Recording Arts from Full Sail University. After graduating, she worked as a Technical Support Engineer for Avid for about four and a half years, providing support for Avid users in Europe and the U.S. With this experience and her love of helping and educating people, her interest for teaching began, and aside from teaching private piano lessons and helping run a Music Technology summer camp at Audiostate 55 Recording Studio, she knew there was more that she had to offer. At F.I.R.S.T. institute, her goal is to enrich students’ lives and help educate and guide them in reaching their goals while finding a purpose with the talents that they possess. The audio industry is so vast and complex that she knows that there is a place where each of her students can thrive.

genoveva valle

Recording Arts & Show Production

David began his audio career three decades ago mixing bands in clubs. His passion and enthusiasm for both audio and narrative storytelling, quickly found him mixing musical theatre and sound designing visual media. These two passions have culminated in over 20 years with Cirque du Soleil and countless post-production projects. Post-production experiences include work with the United States Navy and mixing and sound designing feature films and visual media projects. His work can be heard on PBS, NBC and in many museums across America including the Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center. David has received awards for his theatrical sound design work as well as three TEA, Themed Entertainment of America, awards for his work on museum exhibit sound design.

David wallace