City College music studio opens to the public

Community Recording Studio Night invites guests to participate in a showcase of how a professional recording studio works


Student musician and producer Zane Mahaytik (left) and professor Mike Espar setup a microphone to record a voice track for a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” in City’s music studio on March 22. Students trickled in and out of the room, until finally Mahaytik was left to face the microphone alone, with the rest watching from behind a windowpane. Photo by Philip Salata/City Times Media

Philip Salata, News Editor


When professor Mike Espar pushed open the music studio door and propped it ajar, even the knocking around of equipment sounded melodic.

It was an expectant melody that trickled out onto Curran Plaza, embracing newcomers.

Roughly once a month, the San Diego City College commercial music program hosts Community Recording Studio Night, an event during which guests are ushered through the process of professionally recording a cover of a pre-selected tune.

City’s commercial music program prepares students for the highly technical profession of studio sound engineering, but it is also made unique by Espar who puts particular attention on the collaborative and community-oriented aspect of music making.

Former, current, and potentially future students wove their way through the studio throughout the evening of March 22 as the session moved between a loose flutter of notes and beats that suddenly funneled into the score of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.”

Student, guitarist and recording artist Zane Mahaytik plucked his headless guitar and later bravely stood at the microphone in an empty room and sang, moving to and from a tender falsetto to match Stevie Nicks rising and falling notes.

Not an easy feat.

Meanwhile, student and aspiring music engineer Jordan Reyes sat poised at the soundboard, absorbing professor Bob Kostlan’s instruction.

As the group gathered to listen to the playback, a new guest burst into the studio, excited, eyes-wide at the equipment, bearing a leash with nothing on the other end. Then came the sound of a squeaky ball and the sight of a mutt.

The two new guests were breathing hard and both seemed impressed.

That underlined it – the doors were open to the community.

Jordan Reyes looks up to instructor at the soundboard
While operating the soundboard, student and aspiring sound engineer Jordan Reyes looks up toward professor Bob Kostlan during a playback of some recorded material near the end of Community Recording Studio Night on March 22. Reyes is finally pursuing a career in music production after coming to understand how following his passion made him happy. Photo by Philip Salata/City Times Media