On Thursday October 12th Sound Productions invited all of their customers to join them for their 50th Year Celebration and first-ever Pro Show. The afternoon was full of live music, workshops, food carts, and a Pro Show expo featuring more than 20 of the top AVL brands, ready to share their incredible gear with all of the guests and answer any of there questions. The day was full of great conversation with customers, industry professionals, and SoundPro staff.
A Main stage was presented by Allen & Heath, K&M, RCF and Shure which hosted a Welcome by CEO Joshua Curlett, Music by the SOUNDPRO All Star Band and The Vintage Yell, a panel discussion featuring Buford Jones and Sean Quackenbush. A Gold Record marking 50 years in the business was presented to Charles Kitch. RCF showed off and used their new GTX Line Array as the sound system on the main stage.
A JBL Truck & Stage was presented by HARMAN which hosted an open demo of the incredible Harmon Mobile Experience Truck which showcased products from JBL, AKG and Soundcraft. The stage had a mix of singer/songwriters and an open mic.
SoundPRO also had a day of educational classes presented by select manufacturers that took place throughout the day in their SoundPro Experience Center which were free to attend. Companies like Chauvet, RCF, Shure, Allen & Heath and JBL presented thirty minute classes.
In 1973, Charles Kitch, a guitar player and entrepreneur, was working at the Arnold & Morgan Music store when he received an unexpected call that would change the course of the next four decades. Elvis Presley’s tour manager Charlie Stone called the music store looking to rent backline gear for Elvis’s show in Dallas the next day. The store owner told Stone that he could buy the gear just like everyone else.
Not one to let an opportunity pass by, Charles started pulling together the required gear including his personal Fender guitar and amp. With the assistance of a friend who had business cards and a 4-track recording studio called Sound Productions, they were able to supply the gear needed for Elvis. That one gig turned into a 30-day tour with Elvis. That tour’s promoter, Concerts West, called again a few weeks later requesting backline rental for Chicago and Three Dog Night tours. As the full-fledged business of Sound Productions took shape, Charles left his job at the music store to focus on this new venture.
Within a year, Sound Productions was providing backline and tech support for some of the biggest names in Rock ‘n Roll, including the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, David Bowie, The Kinks, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, James Taylor, and many others. SoundPro became the backline provider for most tours that were serviced by Showco, a full-service production company out of Dallas, Texas.
In the following decades, SoundPro expanded its services to custom-designed installs, as well as fabricating custom electronic and speaker systems for touring bands. These new areas of business led the company to form partnerships with JBL, Crown, Soundcraft, UREI, and other industry vendors.
When bands and production companies wanted to buy the products they rented, Showco contracted SoundPro to sell off their older systems. Selling these systems made it natural to transition into pro audio sales and repair, and SoundPro started selling new and used gear all around the country. The growing company even became the exclusive dealer for Showco’s new speaker line, the SS Series. After running ads in Performance Magazine, Billboard, and REP magazines, Charles was selling new and used gear all around the country. In 1982, SoundPro started a new phase of growth, partnering with the Trammell Crow Company to provide custom-designed installs for hotel clubs around the United States.
In 1985, to avoid competing with SoundPro’s contractor customers, SoundPro shifted its business focus to sales and distribution. The expertise in production, design, and installation enabled the sales team to provide a higher level of service than competitors could offer.
On July 13, 2012, Sound Productions expanded into a larger office space, moving to a new location in Irving, Texas. Less than a decade later, the company had grown even further, enabling them to open a second office in Madison, Wisconsin in 2020. This second office positioned SoundPro to better serve a growing customer base in the Midwest and enable the company to grow beyond its TOLA roots into a nationwide distributor.
HONORING THE PAST…BUILDING THE FUTURE
Today, Sound Productions is one of the industry’s leading retailers and distributors of Pro Audio, Video, and Lighting equipment. Their customers come from diverse segments such as corporate businesses, musical groups and solo artists, contractors/integrators, DJs, hospitality and special event venues, houses of worship, live productions, educational facilities, and more. SoundPro’s current success is founded on decades of growth, strong adherence to our core values, and intentionally honoring the past while investing in the future of our industry and community. With people as our top priority, SoundPro cultivates a culture of accountability, a passion for the industry, and an obsession with providing the best service to every customer.
“We are thrilled to celebrate 50 years of serving customers in an industry that we have so much passion for,” says Curlett. “With our rich company history, we will continue to honor the past while we build a better future for our team members, our vendors, and our customers. As SoundPro continues to grow, I’m truly grateful for those who have taken part in making SoundPro what it is today, and I look forward to what we can do together in the years to come.”