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Down Under bound

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Fort Smith (Mar 21/05) - Bill Wade is getting ready to say good-bye to Fort Smith after a decade of producing Northern music.

Wade, the owner of Shadowland Records, is leaving in August for Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia. There, he plans to earn a bachelor's degree in audio engineering at SAE Institute, a college with campuses worldwide.

Bill Wade, a music producer with a recording studio in Fort Smith, is leaving to study audio engineering in Australia. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

"I think it's kind of honouring a lifelong interest and passion that I have," he explains, adding there have been many changes in audio engineering in the last few years.

Wade is excited about the opportunity to take the two-year program. "I think I'm going to learn a lot."

Wade has lived in Fort Smith since 1991 and launched Shadowland Records in the mid-'90s. At the same time, he formed Dome Productions, an award-winning multi-media production and consulting company. When he first arrived in town, he was a teacher/counsellor at Joseph Burr Tyrrell elementary school. He is now head of the Teacher Education Program at Aurora College.

Wade has produced more than 20 CDs for northern artists, including two of his own.

Artists he has worked with include Liquid Eyez/Godson, Equinox, Larry Gray, Kim Kuzak and Red Light District.

"I think I've helped a lot of developing artists bring their music to professional industry standards," he says, adding he always tried to encourage talented people.

Wade will be selling his recording studio equipment, but may remain a silent partner on the Shadowland label.

Wade says it was difficult to decide to leave Fort Smith.

Born in B.C., his family moved many times when he was young.

"Fort Smith is the longest I've been anywhere," he says.

Wade, 41, was 28 when he arrived in Fort Smith.

"It was the luck of the draw I landed in such a musical town," he says.

Accompanying him to Australia will be his wife, massage therapist Linda Calder, and their three-year-old son Dayan.

Wade is not sure if he will ever come back to the NWT. "You never know what opportunities will arise."

For example, he says, if a media arts program is ever established in the North, he would be interested in returning to teach it.