Alum uses degree to chase dreams, travel world with U2

by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor

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It’s not every day you get to live out your dream.

But South Plains College alumnus Anne Butt is doing just that.

Butt attended SPC in the fall of 2011 and majored in general studies. A year later, she switched her major to sound technology. She was also crowned Miss Caprock in 2014, before graduating in December of that year.

“I took a year to get those basics out of the way, just in case I wanted to transfer and get my bachelor’s,” according to Butt.

Moving from New Jersey to come to Levelland wasn’t a huge transition for Butt. Her mother grew up in the surrounding area and also attended SPC.

“I knew I wanted to do sound, and SPC was one of the schools that had a sound program,” says Butt. “I still had family that lived in Shallowater, so it was a little familiar and cost effective.”

Butt said she knew she wanted to work in sound ever since she was younger. Her father was a musician, so she was always around live music. Then, in the seventh or eighth grade, her class was running sound waves, and she remembered what was said in one of her textbooks.

“In one of our textbooks, there was a little blurb about being an audio engineer, and working in concerts,” Butt recalls. “I thought that sounded like the coolest job ever, because it involves math, science, and you get to travel. That sounded perfect. I decided to do that.”

Butt is currently working as a touring audio technician for a company called Clair Global, which is one of the biggest sound reinforcement companies in the world.

“I fly the speakers that are up in the air and do the cabling, and stuff like that,” explains Butt. “I also plug all of the equipment and make sure everything is working. I help out whoever needs help, like patching the stage, or helping our crew chief.”

According to Butt, the hiring industry for sound can get complicated. The reason is because many touring technicians are contract laborers and not full-time employees, so it’s harder to get your name out there.

“There was a previous student who went to SPC about five years before I did,” recalls Butt. “I reached out to him and got the ball rolling. Maybe a month after that, they put a listing up on their website, which doesn’t happen often. I sent in my resume and I didn’t hear anything, so I sent a follow-up email as a last attempt for them to notice me. Soon after that, I got a phone call to set up an interview.”

Butt resides in Pennsylvania, but is on the road most of the time. She says Clair Global makes sure a road staff member has 200 days on the road yearly.

“In October, which is when I’ll go home for about a week, I’ll have worked 268 days on the road this year,” says Butt.

Butt is currently touring with U2, a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The tour started in April, and they’ll be finishing up in North America before travelling to South America in October.

“I’ve been all around the United States,” Butt explains. “I’ve been to Hawaii and all the way up to Canada. This summer, I did my first European tour. We travelled to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Spain, Rome, and Brussels. I did a gig in Mexico City last year too. In October, we’re traveling to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.”

Some days Butt can’t believe she’s doing what she really enjoys. She likes to look back and see how far she has come. She said she believes everything boils down to hard work.

“You’re like, man, the really crappy gigs I did, and now I’m here,” says Butt. “At the time, those gigs were challenging, but they were fun too. It still blows my mind sometimes. I’m like ‘Oh my god, I graduated three years ago, and it’s only been three years and I’m out on tour with my company’s greatest bands.’”

Even though Butt has a blast and loves what she does, every job has its challenges.

“There are definitely hard days for the nature of touring,” explains Butt. “We had one show in Europe and I almost went 48 hours running on four hours of sleep. If you really do something you enjoy, then those days feel more worth it. I had a friend tell me you’re going to have to work more than you sleep. You might as well choose something that you enjoy.”

Butt can’t wait to see what else the future holds for her. She always enjoys working with the crew because she gets to be part of a great team.

“I’m really grateful for SPC, especially Matt [Quick] and Jeremiah [Denning], and all the other teachers that are there,” says Butt. “It’s a great school. I can’t thank them enough.”

Author: Nicole Lopez

My name is Nicole but you knew that already.

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