Keeping up with the technology, working in different settings, there’s always something to learn. - Thomas Humphries.
Thomas Humphries, originally from Elkhorn, received the Young Entrepreneur’s Award, presented by Elkhorn and District Chamber of Commerce at their recent annual awards banquet.
Humphries, in his third year at Brandon University, is also a go-getter businessman, operating Fusion Audio Visual.
“What I like to do best is production for theatre and bands… sound and lighting production,” he says. He provides the equipment and the technician to serve the occasion.
He also sells and sets up professional audio-visual equipment, helping theatres, churches, and schools.
“I like that part, it’s an interesting problem each time. You get to talk to people and see what their needs are, what can work best.”
Humphries, son of Big Band musician and stand-up comic Mark Humphries got his first taste for production as a child in the UK.
“I started at an early age when Dad had a swing band in England and I would sit beside the sound tech –my spot when they were performing.
“And then, when I was in Kola School, I did a bit for the concert. I didn’t really like being on-stage.”
The principal of Kola School, Ron Cole, also played with the Tumbleweed Players theatre group and they found themselves in need of a sound/lighting tech for an upcoming dinner theatre. Cole noted Humphries, a Gr. 8 student at the time, did a good job for the school concert and he asked the youth to work the Brandon show.
“And so, Dad came along and we went to Knox United Church in Brandon and did a dinner theatre there. I got in with that group and kind of grew from there.”
Mentored and self-taught
Humphries learned from those he sat alongside, older students for school productions, and from technicians in theatres and for his father’s band.
“If anyone tells you they know everything about sound,” he laughs, “you’re never done. There’s so much about acoustics and all that stuff, that’s what makes it fun.”
He also credits his father’s musical influence and his own years of musical training to give him an ear for producing great sound. He briefly studied trumpet and violin, but became proficient on the piano, to a Gr. 7 level.
“I know a lot of people can do the tech side of things, but as far as listening to it musically, that definitely helps.”
Humphries has put in three years of a double honours in mathematics and computer science.
“I’ve always had a thing for computers, as long as I can remember. And that’s what I’m doing at school, computer science. That fits quite well with my work.”
Fusion Audio Visual engineered sound for Virden’s Grade 12 Graduation.
A hockey arena is like an echo chamber – challenging. But turning the event sideways instead of lengthwise on the arena floor, along with some other changes, was successful.
Summer is a busy time. Later on father and son will work the Moosomin “Living Skies Come Alive” fireworks competition, for a second year in a row. A highlight for a sound and lights guy.
“We get to work together for that, so that’s always fun,” he laughs, “I get to make him my ‘grunt’.”
There’s never a dull moment.
For the summer, Thomas Humphries is working at BU. “I’ve got a research grant so I’m working one-on-one with a professor, researching fractional calculus over the summer.”
He also sits on the Aud Theatre board.
“I enjoy helping to look after such an amazing building. It has opened lots of doors for me, getting to meet different people that travel through.”
If there’s a break in the action, he also DJs a bit on the side and occasionally works with Look Music too.