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  1. Pasco

Hudson library wants to foster homegrown talent with its new music studio

HUDSON — The studio space is small, split between a narrow control room and a recording cove lined with sound-absorbing carpets and drapes.

But officials at Hudson Regional Library hope it can mean something much larger.

"We expect, over time, people are going to sprout from the studio itself — local music talent," said Pasco County Libraries administrator Kevin Griffith. "Hopefully, we'll be able to create kind of a network."

He was sitting recently inside the recording room of what's being called "Studio H," which held its ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 7. It came as the result of almost $62,400 in investment, and it's free for the public.

Griffith was with Katrina Rash, branch manager, and Mary Gibson, the library's studio specialist. The trio spoke with a handful of interested citizens about the features and policies of their space, and how they could use it.

The studio boasts a bevy of high-end instruments and equipment: guitars on racks; keyboards and synthesizers; even an electric standing bass. There's a bulky, $7,000 reel-to-reel tape machine, the kind standard in decades past. Running recordings through gear like that can give them a vintage-sounding warmth that digital programs sometimes lack.

When booking slots start opening sometime this month, people can spend two hours in the studio per session, twice a month. They need only to have attended an orientation like the one that day and have a library card. No food or drinks are allowed.

Hudson Regional has been increasingly involved in the local music scene, said Rash. That's why the library decided to pursue the project.

This is one of the ways to move toward becoming Florida's premier county, Griffith said. He said 60 percent of the undertaking was funded by the county's Green Fiber Community Recycling Program, which recycles paper products. The remainder came from budgeted funds and donations by Friends of the Pasco County Library System, a nonprofit.

The project began a couple years ago, Rash said.

The library can make accommodations beyond the small studio room, too. If someone needed to record a choir, for example, library workers could move equipment into the open space of the library after hours, Griffith said. That would provide better acoustics for the setup, he said.

Attendees at the orientation were floored by the new offerings.

"It's a dream come true," said Hugo Morales, 72, of Port Richey. He's a songwriter and guitar player, originally from Ecuador, and interested in the studio because he wants to record a demo. Commercial studios had given him exorbitant rates, he said.

"I have always thought about being in a place like this," he said, explaining that seeing the studio "gives me a push to continue."

He started talking to Cindy Schryer, 50, from Holiday. He hopes he can snag session musicians to play the compositions he writes, he told her.

"I'm sure once it gets going, there'll be plenty of musicians," she replied.

Schryer plays guitar and sings in an acoustic-music duo.

"It's a good way for a lot of musicians to come together and network," she said.

That's the hope of Griffith, too.

He came to this point as he spoke about area music: "We wanted to give it a place to nest."

And they just might have.

Contact Justin Trombly at Follow @JustinTrombly.