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Brenen Meek at a audio control panel.Brennen Meek, an assistant in the fine arts department at Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), graduated with a certificate as a recording engineer from the prestigious Blackbird Academy in Nashville, Tenn. on September 25.

When I was looking at a place to train, I wanted to be trained by the best with the best equipment, and Blackbird offered all of that, said Meek, 22, of Paintsville. Blackbird Academy and Blackbird Studios is operated by John McBride, husband of country music star and 14-time Grammy nominee Martina McBride.

Meek spent six months studying at Blackbird. One of the most important things he learned was where the bar needs to be set professionally to be an effective recording engineer.

Its about the quality we need to be and the quality we strive to be, he added. Meek is the first person in the region to train at the Blackbird Academy.

Meek hasnt wasted time since returning from Nashville. Hes been hard at work helping produce the Big Sandy Singers and Band album which will debut at the 10th annual Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition in March at the Mountain Arts Center. In addition to that, hes working to record all the winners and runner-ups from area high schools for the competitions compilation album.

Its exciting, and I have a whole new perspective on engineering in the studio, said Meek. The Big Sandy Singers and Band have a state-of-the-art studio at the Mountain Arts Center.
Clayton Case, director of fine arts at BSCTC, said Meeks new credential truly elevates the program at the college.

To have someone of Brennens character and someone with this type of credential is something you cant find everywhere, he said. Were glad hes home, and we cant wait to see what the future holds.

What does the future hold?

Stay tuned, Meek said, smiling. This is a skill that you can carve your own niche and create your own future, he said.

For more information on the fine arts department at BSCTC and the Big Sandy Singers and Band, contact Case at (606) 886-7388 or email