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Yorktown Dad Brings Sound to the Stage

Vinny Butler brings music, words and sounds to everyone’s ears at Yorktown Stage.

Everything you hear during the productions at Yorktown Stage was somehow made, arranged or designed by Butler, who is the sound designer for the shows.

“I design the show, set up the audio board and the microphones and usually make a mic plot—or work with the producers to make one,” he said, while taking a break from a rehearsal.

Prior to the shows, Butler attends rehearsals in order to set the audio levels for microphones and make sure all the sounds will play at their needed time—he balances the music and the actors microphones to make the shows sound as great as possible.

“In high school I saw my first show and after that I wanted to get in to it, and this gave me that opportunity,” this father of three said. But, he wasn’t always in theater.

Butler’s daughter, Breanne, became involved in theater, and Butler soon volunteered—years later, he hasn’t stopped helping out in plays one way or another.

Prior, Butler worked at the United Nations in New York City in central recording, a job he became interested in because his dad held the same position.

Some of the highlights at the UN included having the opportunity to record when the Pope’s came to speak, as well as when Colin Powell came, said Butler. One day he wont forget though is when his son, Kyle, came to work with him.

“My son Kyle had off from school and came to work, and we were right next to the TV studio and President Clinton walked right up to Kyle and shook his hand,” he said.

When he wasn’t recording the general assembly, Butler had the opportunity to travel the world to places such as Rio de Janeiro, Denmark, Namibia, Geneva and Milan. Many times there wasn’t a lot of time to explore the countries around him, but when there was the opportunity, he jumped at it.

“We just had the best time,” he said. “We were the liaisons between the UN and the local contractors there, and they would take us out and show us the culture there.”

Butler said he met a lot of great people when he first started helping out in the theater, and would often work on shows with directors he knew, when one told him Yorktown Stage needed help cleaning.

“So I showed up to help clean the theater and they asked me- do you do anything else?” he said. From then on, he’s been the sound designer.

When not at the stage, Butler ‘s day-job is as a business representative for Local 1212, the radio and television broadcast engineers union.

Back at the stage however, history may just repeat itself.  Butler is now training his son how to use the sound equipment he uses for the stage.

“I’ve met a lot of great and good people through this,” Butler said. He added that the work he’s accomplished wouldn’t have been possible without all of the support he’s received from his wife of 34 years, Wendy, and his three children—Breanne, Brad and Kyle.

Although Butler said he didn’t necessarily see himself years ago being a sound designer on the side, he still enjoys it just the same.

“I’ve always had a great love for the theater, and this is something I enjoyed getting involved in.”

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