To Lamar Hickley, Daytona State’s News-Journal Center feels like home. The high-tech facility houses the two-year Associate of Science in Music Production Technology program that fuels his passion.
“I love this place,” he said, sitting in the center’s state-of-the-art music production studio A, where the spring 2012 graduate of the AS degree program is a student worker while continuing his studies for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degree. “If I had the choice, I’d bring a pillow and a blanket and just live here.”
It’s a common sentiment among music production students, who often make reference to the family environment Program Chair Jake Niceley creates at the News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach. Hickley, 25, believes the camaraderie helps the students more effectively apply what they learn in class.
“The faculty are always encouraging, always motivating, regardless of who you are,” he said. “They are always available. They will make time for you and, even though they’re the ones with the experience and the credentials, they make you feel like you are a part of it all. They make you feel accepted.”
An accomplished, self-taught pianist, Hickley grew up around music at his father’s New Birth Worship Center in Daytona Beach, where he manages the sound equipment and performs weekly. He also has written a repertoire of songs, which he plays with his brother and describes as “Christian hip-hop rock.”
He said the bachelor’s degree will round out his knowledge and skills, setting him on a course to fulfill his ultimate dream of opening a studio or school of performing arts, hopefully right here at home in Daytona Beach. “The business degree will support the music production skills I’ve learned,” he said. “I feel I will need to have the business background as well to ensure my success, and I want to stay in Daytona Beach. A lot of people go away to find careers in the music business but I want to be the one who is able to say, something came from nothing.”
In the meantime, Hickley will continue to support his father’s ministry, making sure that sweet gospel sound that graces the New Birth Worship Center stays crisp, clear and inspiring.
“I know I’m on my way to the career I’ve dreamed about,” he said. “But I’m patient. My main focus has never been to do this for the money; although, I know that eventually will come. For me, it’s always been about the creativity.”