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How an Industry Connection Led to Touring with a Famous Rock Band

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Senior Interdisciplinary major Kimberley Dunkerley has had an atypical journey during her time at Columbia College Chicago. And if she had to do it all over again, she wouldn’t change a thing. A native of Paw Paw Michigan, and a graduate of Paw Paw High School, she found Columbia thanks to a very important visit. “I didn’t have the typical college search because I went with a friend to her Columbia Orientation tour of the school, and I immediately fell in love with the school and the location of the school, and I knew I wanted to go here; it was just a matter of what exactly I wanted my major to be.”

For Kimberley, having an interdisciplinary major has given her insight into two fields of study that are giving her real-world skills. According to her, “I do get the best of both worlds because I am able to get the education on both theater sound and live sound for other venues and different techniques. In the Theatre Department I have been able to do sound design shows, and I have been able to mix shows on the Midas m32 and the Yamaha ql5, so it has given me a lot of experience using consoles, but I have found comfort in mixing shows and not designing them. In the audio department I have fallen in love with Live sound entertainment and touring, specifically monitor mixing and playback engineer.”

That love for sound gave Kimberley an opportunity that many could only dream about, touring with a world-famous band. Though life on the road has sometimes been depicted in a negative manner, she found the experience eye-opening. “I was able to go on tour with Mudvayne, a heavy metal band, this past summer, and it was the craziest, fun, and exhilarating experience of my life. I was truly able to see what the career and the field was really like. My neighbor was the Production Assistant for Rob Zombie and Mudvayne on their previous tour. I had told her about my interest in the industry and she reached out to the band and their monitor engineer and asked if it would be okay if I tagged along and watched and got to see and experience what it was like to be on a tour. I helped with setting up their dressing rooms and getting their makeup ready. It was the best experience to have had as a college student.”

Time on the tour gave Kimberley the chance to see first-hand the amount of time and effort it takes to run a successful show, let alone a tour that traveled across many cities. “The highlights of being on the road were being able to see the tear down process and seeing how quickly they got everything back up and running. It is so incredible seeing all the steps that go into them putting the show up and testing everything in such a short amount of time.”

Though the tour with Mudvayne was a major highlight, Kimberley also gains a great deal of pleasure from working as a student worker. In this role she is able to assist students, faculty, and staff, while working in areas that benefit her growth as a professional. She utilized a resource that is highly recommended by the college when it comes to employment on and off campus. “I found my on campus job through Handshake. I went to Columbia’s site on Handshake and looked through all the jobs they had to offer at the school and went through all the descriptions for each job making sure I had all the requirements to apply. I had my resume ready for everyone and a cover letter typed up for every job I was applying for, as well as a fully detailed schedule of my classes for the semester so they had a visualization of the hours I’d be able to work.”

As Kimberley begins to wrap up her academic career, she has set her sights on a prize that is more easily obtainable due to her endeavors in the industry. “My future goals are to get some jobs anywhere I can mix shows and do small events to work my way up and get on tours to do live sound for the rest of my career. Making connections is always a good thing to do and to cherish because they can get you to really cool jobs and really cool opportunities like touring with a very popular heavy metal band.”

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