person singing at a microphone in silhouette against a fuscia curtain

Live From Studio 275

Live From Studio 275

On the lower level of Sawyer Library, tucked away from the stacks and study tables, lives Studio 275, the college’s in-house production studio. Modest in size but grand in its capabilities, the space is a veritable wonderland for musicians, songwriters, dancers, podcasters and others in the college community.

Run by Patrick Gray, Williams’ events, classroom and studio support specialist, the studio features state-of-the-art audio and video equipment for recording and editing: a professional digital audio workstation, microphones, amplifiers, electronic drums, video cameras, lights and a green screen. The space is popular with students and faculty from language, dance and music courses, supporting class projects including student-written skits, podcasts, a cappella performances and recordings of student-faculty music ensembles. It’s also the college’s go-to facility for live and pre-taped faculty interviews with news media outlets, such as NPR, the BBC and others.

As part of his role at the studio, Gray teaches students how to use the recording and editing software, showing them the ins and outs of the digital recording process. “Many times, this instruction builds curiosity and opens an opportunity for students to become technicians,” says Gray, who typically has a handful of undergraduates working with him each semester.

For students like singer/songwriter Bellamy Richardson ’23, an English major from NYC, Studio 275 offers an ideal environment to explore creative pursuits more deeply. During her first year at Williams, she took the Winter Study course Contemporary American Songwriting, taught by Bernice Lewis, artist associate in vocal/songwriting. Since then, Richardson has continued taking private lessons with Lewis, building on some of her earlier songs and writing new ones in the studio.

“I’ve recorded eight out of my 10 songs [there] at this point, and it’s been nothing but a great experience so far,” says Richardson, who plans to self-release an album later this year. She’s also begun playing at student-organized jam sessions at The Log on Sundays.

Through her experience at Studio 275, Richardson has embraced learning how the recording process works—and how it enhances her own songwriting. “I usually come in with a song that is complete but needs work in terms of editing, or I have questions about specific lyrics,” she says.

While Lewis helps students with writing and performing songs, Gray contributes to the music production and instrumentation.

“There are ideas in my head about, you know, I want background vocals on this, it would be cool to add bass or a drum track here,” Richardson says. “All that stuff is possible in the studio. Patrick’s able to translate what I’m hearing in my mind with the technology. That’s been really cool.”

Visit the Studio 275 website to learn more.


Photographs by Bradley Wakoff/Berkshirian Images

Greg Shook is managing editor and a senior writer in the Office of Communications.