Pioneering powerhouse, Marcella "Ms. Lago" Araica, has swiftly burgeoned into a towering beacon of talent as one of the music industry's hottest, most prolific sound engineers. Credited for mixing over one hundred chart-topping tunes, Marcella has had the opportunity of working with world-renowned musical icons such as Beyonce, Britney Spears, Madonna, and more. Born and raised in Miami, Marcella graduated with perfect attendance and honors from the Full Sail Production and Recording Program in Orlando, Florida. She was presented with the Advanced Recording Engineer Award, an honor only bestowed upon a single deserving student each semester.
Agnieszka Roginska is a professor of music technology and the vice chair of the Music and Performing Arts Professions Department at New York University. She conducts research in the simulation and applications of immersive and 3D audio including the capture, analysis and synthesis of auditory environments, auditory displays and applications in augmented acoustic sensing. She is the author of numerous publications about the acoustics and psychoacoustics of immersive audio and auditory displays, and is the co-editor of the book titled “Immersive Sound: The Art and Science of Binaural and Multi-Channel Audio”. Agnieszka is the Past-President of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), an AES Fellow, and is the faculty sponsor of the Society for Women in TeCHnology (SWiTCH) at NYU.
Founder of Sonic Pie Productions, Durham NC: Tess Magnum is a seventh-generation North Carolinian. Though she grew up in a musical family (her grandmother, Kate Mangum, taught Randy Travis how to play guitar and great-uncle Homer Briarhopper was fortunate to call Doc Watson a fan), she always felt her role in the family business was behind the scenes. She holds a B.A. in Public Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick, Ireland. She served as Concerts Director & Facility Rental Coordinator of The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, a non-profit performing arts center, from 2002-2012 and developed the critically-acclaimed American Roots Series, which helped launched the careers of the Avett Brothers and Carolina Chocolate Drops, as well as spotlight American music legends such as Dr. John and Mavis Staples. Tess is a 2012 Indy Arts award winner. In the winter of 2013 she founded Sonic Pie Productions, a concert and event production company. Since then, her talent buying, production and or stage management clients have included IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association), ArtsGreensboro, Duke Performances, Carolina Railhawks, MerleFest, Hippie Fest, Beericana Craft Beer & Music Festival, Durham Central Park, Town of Aberdeen, City of High Point, Art of Cool Festival, Festival for the Eno River and Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden.
Judy Stakee is leading the new age of music. An author, speaker, and advisor, Judy encourages artists and songwriters to define their perspective and share a powerful creative message. With over 30 years of experience as an executive in the music industry and 20 years as Sr. Vice President of Creative at Warner Chappell, Judy advises creative minds around the world. She is a true champion of the songwriter and has a great eye for talent. She is responsible for developing and signing many of today's most acclaimed artists, including Grammy-award winner Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, Gavin DeGraw and Joy Williams. Judy started her own artists development company in 2009 based on her motto “It All Starts With A Song”; creating an innovative methodology that includes developing the body, mind and soul of artists and songwriters, to strengthen their voice, melody and lyrics. It is outlined in her book “The Songwriters Survival Guide “ which has been adapted into the music curriculums of renowned music institutions in the US and beyond.
Leslie Gaston-Bird (AMPS, M.P.S.E.) is author of the book "Women in Audio", part of the AES Presents series and published by Focal Press (Routledge). She is a voting member of the Recording Academy (The Grammys®). Currently, she is a freelance re-recording mixer and sound editor and owner of Mix Messiah Productions specializing in 5.1 mixing. Prior to that, she was a tenured Associate Professor of Recording Arts at the University of Colorado Denver (2005-2018) where she also served as Chair of the Department of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies. She led groups of Recording Arts students in study abroad courses in England, Germany, and Italy which included participation in AES Conventions. Leslie has done research on audio for planetariums, multichannel audio on Blu-Ray, and a comparison of multichannel codecs that was published in the AES Journal (Gaston, L. and Sanders, R. (2008), "Evaluation of HE-AAC, AC-3, and E-AC-3 Codecs", Journal of the Audio Engineering Society of America, 56(3)).
Michel currently works as a freelance sound mixer and sound designer in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, she worked as an audio mixer at Trailblazer Studios, where she specialized in post production mixing and field recording for television. Prior to joining Trailblazer Studios in 2009, Michel served as the resident sound designer for Playmakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill. While at Playmakers, she worked as an instructor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaching “Introduction to Sound Design” classes. Michel has also held positions in sound design and audio supervision at East Carolina University’s Loessin Theatre, Triad Stage in Greensboro and Vermont’s Weston Playhouse Theatre. Michel is a member of the Cinema Audio Society.
Owner of SoundLizzard Productions, Winston-Salem NC: Liz May is an audio engineer, musician, and entrepreneur in the music scene of the North Carolina Triad through SoundLizzard Productions, a company she founded in 2003. She is also the Manager at the historic RJ Reynolds Auditorium, a 1900-seat 1924 classic performance hall in the heart of Winston-Salem. Through SoundLizzard Productions, Liz helped local artists beyond their recording projects through the business and marketing side of the industry to help propel them into becoming sustaining career artists. After growing the business to include an A&R department, record label, and publishing company for a short time, Liz then turned to production management at a few of the cities facilities to assist in their daily operations and growth potential. Liz is committed to creating networks and relationships between the education sector and the music and theatre industries in the Triad and is currently working on developing her own non-profit that creates an innovative bridge between these entities. Her current audio work includes live sound mixing for the Winston-Salem Symphony Pops and Unbound series, audio gear reviews for Pro Sound News, and providing system and audio support for many churches, schools, and venues in the Triad.
Mastering Engineer at Airshow Mastering, Boulder CO: Anna Frick is a mastering engineer and the restoration center manager at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, Colorado. Her work encompasses studio albums, live recordings, reissues, and compilations across an array of formats, old and new, and a wide variety of genres and styles, from bluegrass and folk-influenced acts to rock and New Age projects. Legends like Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson, exciting contemporaries such as Billy Strings and Wood & Wire, and important blues and jazz archival recordings have all benefited from her uncanny ear and deft touch. She balances her strong instincts and intuition with her technical experience and each client’s goals to finesse every project she tackles. “[A band has] been working on their album for quite a while by the time I hear it, and it’s their vision – their baby – that they are putting out into the world. I don’t want to impede that vision. Ultimately, I want my clients (and their fans) to be ecstatic with the record. For Airshow’s restoration center she oversees all archival digitization projects. She mastered Third Man Records’ GRAMMY-winning box set, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, as well as having mastered thousands of hours’ worth of historical recordings from university archives and collections across the country. Each project is unique, with a singular story and special considerations: “[It] involves everything from understanding the recording medium, the equipment, and the transfer process to having the tools and the knowledge to tackle all sorts of bizarre problems, understanding digital audio files and how to maintain file integrity over time.” Anna holds a degree in Music Industry Studies from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is a graduate of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Leadership Bluegrass program, a Vice Chair of the AES Colorado chapter, a Recording Academy - San Francisco Chapter board member, and the chapter head for Colorado’s branch of SoundGirls.org.
Leslie Mona-Mathus is a two-time Emmy award winning Audio Mixer, Sound Designer, and Producer. Over the course of her career, she has garnered two Grammy nominations, five Emmy nominations, multiple Clio and Promax awards, multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Independent Music Award, a Gold Record and a BAFTA. In addition to her full-time job at ABC News Creative and Marketing, Leslie frequently contributes as a guest speaker and mentor at AES conventions, universities, and secondary schools. She embraces these opportunities to educate and mentor future generations of audio professionals. She will be a panelist on Saturday’s presentation on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Aurelia Belfield is a creative multi-hyphenate with over a decade of experience in music supervision, creative producing and casting. In addition to her professional experience, her background in theatre and screenwriting leads her to be uniquely suited to assist colleagues and clients in tackling any aspect of the storytelling process. As a member of the Guild Of Music Supervisors, Aurelia has amassed dozens of credits in docs, film, television, digital and podcasts. She has cast a plethora of projects in all mediums, and has had her written work produced and published. As a creative producer her work is primarily in the theatre and scripted podcast spaces. Don't let the location fool you; Aurelia has been lucky to successfully work with clients all over the United States and abroad with a personal touch and attention to detail that cannot be obscured by working remotely. Uplifting and making space for creatives of color and other underrepresented demographics has been a constant intention in her career and she is glad to see it being pushed to the forefront.