Mobile Recording and Rehearsal Studio

Calistoga Container Lab


The primary objective of this project is to build a recording and practice studio at Calistoga Junior/Senior High, out of a recycled sea container, that will be the home of a comprehensive after school music program. The space will be dedicated in honor of the life of Alex Ruiz and his role as an artist and musician in the Calistoga Community. The goal is to provide a positive substance free environment for local teens, and empower them creatively to communicate their ideas.


The Collective Sound (TCS) was established in 1998 as a non-profit organization providing youth, ages 12 to 18, with an authentic music experience in writing, recording and performing music. TCS nurtures tomorrow's innovators and leaders by providing music resources, programs, and environments. TCS has created programs for youth from varying socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with CSU Chico, St. Mary's College, The Boys & Girls Club of Venice and Laguna Beach, and Ex'pression College for Digital Arts.

Why Calistoga?

Alex Ruiz was a promising young musician from Calistoga who was tragically hit and killed by an underage drunk driver in February of 2009. He was a Calistoga High School graduate and attendee of The Collective Sound Summer Music Academy and was a prominent figure in the northern California music scene. At the time of his death, he was just months from his graduation at Ex'pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, where he was studying to be a sound engineer. Every year he returned to TCS to perform for attending students and was a role model for youth from around the world. TCS would like to pilot its first Creative Lab in Calistoga as a tribute to Alex Ruiz and his work as a youth musician.

Project Coordinators and Supporters:

  • Zac Smith, TCS Founder and Executive Director
  • Katie Koscielak, TCS Outreach and Calistoga Community Member
  • Anne Williams, Safe Schools Coordinator
  • Kevin Eisenberg, Calistoga Jr/Sr High School Principal
  • Nina Pedersen, Calistoga Band Teacher
  • Trudy Bouligny, Co-ordinator of Afterschool Grants N.C.O.E.
  • Lydia Ruiz, Alex Ruiz's mother and Calistoga Community member
  • Clint Ferrier, Calistoga Teen Center Director

Program Description

TCS Creative Labs are semester long installations of the curriculum developed at the TCS Summer Music Academy, where students write, record, shoot videos, learn music technology, take field trips and perform live shows. TCS will provide the Creative Lab classroom in Calistoga with: drums, keyboard, bass/guitar Line 6 floor PODs, headphones, vocal mics, PA sound system, recording equipment (Mbox and Protools LE), video/still cameras, and a computer with music and creative software packages. The Calistoga classroom will be the first installation of this revolutionary and innovative concept in music education.

Physical Structure

The Creative Lab will be constructed from aretrofitted, recycled and energy efficient sea containers. The space will be constructed utilizing passive solar technology. Features will include a grass roof, green shade barrier, VOC free sound-proofing, energy efficient lighting/heating/air and ADA accessible ramp. The Lab will utilize a 20'x 8' steel, shipping container, creating 160 sq. feet of studio space.

Additional Resources and Funding

The Collective Sound will provide additional resources of administration, staffing, program curriculum, long-term fundraising and upkeep. Proposed budget for this project is approximately $30,000, which will cover the purchase of the container,installation of foam, adddition of cooling and heating systems, complete retrofit including addition of windows and grass roof, staffing, and all sound equipment.