Behind The Scenes at ISB
Posted 13/03/2018 13:49

If you have attended any International School Basel events such as Plays, Musicals, Concerts, Discos, Guest Speaker Events, BAMUN, Idols, Quiz Nights, International Festival, etc., you will have seen hundreds of students performing, but one face you probably did not notice unless you looked behind the curtain is IS Senior School Student, Sammy. An instrumental and active part of the ISB Tech Crew, who started on the sound board and worked his way up to Technical Manager, Sammy coordinates 30 students who often work day and night to make sure that our school events run seamlessly. We recently had the chance to sit down with Sammy to talk about what it’s like working behind the scenes, how he got started and what the future holds for him.

How it all began

Sammy became interested in Tech Crew purely by accident. At a previous school, Sammy came upon a teacher who was organizing the Christmas Concert and was overwhelmed with a delivery of sound equipment so he jumped in to help. With no previous experience, Sammy started plugging in microphones, speakers and music boards and never looked back. When he came to ISB in MYP3, he heard about the Tech Crew Club and joined right away. He started as a sound operator and quickly moved into organizing and managing events. With our resident AV Technician, Stuart Brown, as the mentor of the ISB Tech Crew, students are part of a collaborative process where students lead and direct and are able to come up with and try new and innovative ideas. Sammy has enjoyed the freedom to grow into an experienced Tech Manager, trying out new, specialist equipment and learning about managing staff in a variety of professional settings.

New challenges

At a recent Spoken Word event, the Tech Crew had their first opportunity to work at an external event. The first planning for the event started 8 months before in August 2017. Sammy worked with the Tech Crew, alongside the venue organizer, the performers and school management, to ensure every aspect of the event was organized including the lighting, sound, caretakers, materials, loading, transport, security and more. The tricky part was working within a historical site that was protected and ensuring that the building was not damaged in any way. Because the event was a poetry reading, Sammy worked with the sound, lighting and design to create an intimate setting with background music while keeping the integrity of the poets’ voices. Sammy said the most challenging aspect of any event is never the equipment, but is the human aspect. Managing people, ensuring they are doing everything according to plan, adapting to last minute changes and circumstances are always the most challenging aspects of events. With Sammy’s experience organizing and managing over 70 events to date, he feels confident in foreseeing potential problems, like the potential hazard of an entryway, an unforeseen issue that Sammy creatively resolved the night of Spoken Word. However, as with anything in life, you can never foresee everything and that is also what makes the job exciting.

Finding the balance

When Sammy began at MYP3, he had a limited knowledge of English. Working with the Tech Crew was a way to jump right in to learning English quickly as there is not time to ask to explain instructions twice during a live event. He and the tech crew at ISB meet once a week after school, but put in many more hours before and during events. Although he enjoys the time he spends on Tech Crew, he also understands that school must come first. He works hard to balance school work and his work on the Tech Crew by planning his time carefully and working with his teachers to coordinate upcoming work.  

What’s next?

With another year to go in Senior School, Sammy is still focused on school and Tech Crew. He has many different ideas swirling around in his head about future plans from university to taking a gap year to interning. The possibilities are endless for this talented young man who has already taken the tech scene by storm at ISB. We look forward to seeing what the future holds!