Above, a student tests out the equipment in the new state-of-the-art Adidas Sound Lab at Hamilton Senior High School.
By Justin Frank
Social Media Assistant
Local District West
Hamilton Senior High School, known for its prestigious Academy of Music, and Adidas, known for its line of sportswear, are making beautiful music together.
The corporate giant funded the recent transformation of Hamilton’s former auto shop into a state-of-the-art music and recording studio. Rap star Pusha T joined in a ceremony last month marking the completion of the Adidas Sound Lab, which is one of only three nationwide created by the company.
Hamilton Principal Brenda Pensamiento said Hamilton considers itself fortunate – not only for the donation, but because Adidas found out about the school and its award-winning arts programs when a company official happened across the campus’ website.
“It’s summer and I am in the grocery store and I get a phone call from our Music Academy director, Marlene Zuccaro,” Pensamiento recalled. “She said that Adidas had found us on the Internet and would like to talk about a potential donation.”
Zuccaro, who has been at Hamilton for eight years, said other companies had previously expressed interest in funding projects at the school, but none of the proposals had ever panned out.
“We have this happen all the time,” Zuccaro said. “I was just expected to be taken to the moon and back again.”
After a few months of back and-forth phone calls and emails, Adidas officials arrived at Hamilton and presented Pensamiento and Zuccaro with a beautiful wooden box with a high-end microphone tucked inside. .
“It was a really, nice expensive microphone,” Zuccaro said. “We said ‘Thanks,’ thinking that was it.”
The school administrators were then told to look under the microphone. Underneath, a white card congratulated them on Hamilton’s selection as a Sound Lab venue.
“We all just started crying,” Pensamiento said. “We couldn’t believe it. We were so happy.”
Adidas originally proposed upgrading Hamilton’s modestly equipped sound studio, but Pensamiento wanted to take things a step further. She led company officials to the school’s former automotive shop, a large classroom filled with an old hydraulic lift and outdated equipment.
“I thought to myself, ‘Am I asking for too much?’” Pensamiento said. “But, I wanted to show them a different room that I thought would really work and had more space.”
Adidas officials agreed to renovate the space and furnish it with modern equipment. Once a few finishing touches are completed, the Sound Lab will be ready for use for students who aspire to careers in the entertainment industry.
“My students will be able to gain valuable experience here,” Pensamiento said. “They could be hired by a recording studio from running this one at Hamilton.”
Pensamiento wants the studio to be available for every student on campus, not just those in the Music Academy.
“There are so many uses for this place,” the principal said. “Music, podcasts … We have plans.”
During the process, Pensamiento worked with Adidas representative Taryn Waldman, a producer for record studio Kamp Grizzly and L.A. Unified Regional Facilities Director Angelo Robinson to make sure the Sound Lab become a reality.
“What I want for my students is no different then what I want for my own children,” said Pensamiento, whose has a child who graduated from Hamilton another set to attend. “Every day is my opportunity to make this place better for the next child.”