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Introduction from the Chair
by Jason Reinier
Chairman, NSS Board

This September, I assumed the role of Chair of the Nature Sounds Society (NSS). As a member of the Board of Directors for six years, I have learned much about the operations of the Society and its programs. For four consecutive years I have coordinated the Annual Field Recording Workshops at the San Francisco State Field Station near Sierraville, and for five years I have also helped produce concerts of nature-inspired music, "Music with Bird, Frogs and Other Creatures," in collaboration with Wendy Reid and the Natural Sciences Department at The Oakland Museum of California. And for six years, I have worked as an assistant to Paul Matzner, NSS founder and previous chair, in the California Library of Natural Sounds (CLNS) at The Oakland Museum. The CLNS functions as the home base and resource center for the NSS. All of this experience with the NSS and the broad community of nature sound recordists and creative users has prepared me for taking on the responsibilities of Chair of the NSS.

Before I met Paul Matzner one Tuesday in 1989 at the Exporatorium in San Francisco, I had some experience with nature sound recording but was by no means an expert. Paul's enthusiasm and willingness to foster the development of many different kinds of people, however, welcomed me into the organization. As a collection of very unique and interesting people, the NSS has always been an organization that doesn't have specific criteria for acceptance. Members of the NSS have varied backgrounds from scientists studying bird behavior and vocalizations, to hobbyists doing sound recording for the fun of it, to serious music composers, film makers, and radio producers who use sounds creatively. It is this breadth of interests that makes the NSS membership a very deep resource for all involved, and we hope to facilitate the networking of all participants.

I have a strong background in music composition and sound recording. I received a degree in music composition from The Colorado College where I had the opportunity to study electronic music extensively. My life changed after I took up recording sounds and manipulating the sounds on reel-to-reel tape recorders to create "Music Concrete," a style of music that uses pure recorded sounds as musical material and weaves sounds together to create musical pieces. I'll never forget how my ears became tuned to sounds once I used a tape recorder, microphone and headphones to listen to the world. After my first experience I heard everything more sensitively; one night I sat by the window and listened to a thunderstorm, with all of its layers of drips, drops, rumbles and cracks, and I knew I had to pursue listening and recording further and find a way to use sounds creatively in my music. Little did I know at that time that I would one day be chair of an organization called the Nature Sounds Society.

As Chair of the NSS I hope to maintain what is already the greatest part of the organization: its openness to all who are interested in nature sounds and their scientific and creative use. As we look to the future, however, we need to analyze our goals and priorities so that the activities, services and programs of the NSS reflect the needs of our membership. This is a task which requires time and most importantly, feedback from our membership. We will be hosting several potlucks this year with the hope that we will be able to gather our members together informally to chat about what's in store for the future. We are planning talks and lectures so that we can learn from each other and from experts in differing fields. We will be producing concerts so that we can share creative efforts incorporating nature sounds. And we will be launching the Nature Sounds Society Recording Club, a group focused on sharing recording experiences in the field.

We hope that by facilitating many programs and activities we can meet the needs of our membership. We also hope that by communicating effectively, we will be able to develop programs and activities in the future that surpass our current plans and allow our membership to explore their own type of experiences. We invite you to give us, the NSS Board of Directors, ideas about how we can effectively meet your needs as nature sound enthusiasts. I personally look forward to helping the Nature Sound Society further its goals, in the field, in our community, and in our ears, minds and hearts.

Articles from Winter 1995

  The Human Nature Of Birds by Theodore Xenophon Barber, Ph.D., Review

A New Source of Sounds... Sounds of Sumatra

Introduction From The Chair

Soundculture '96

Audio Editing Programs

Watchable Wildlife Conference

In Memorium: Fred Trumbull

Join the Recording Club!

Spare Equipment Collecting Dust?

National Parks As "Bowling Alleys"?

Is the Ocean Getting Noisier?

Nature Sounds Newsletter

NSS Home Page

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