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The show must go on – Saratoga outfit finds niche in music production

Outlook

The show must go on – Saratoga outfit finds niche in music production

Roger Sharp used hustle and diligence to make High Peaks Event Production what it is today
The show must go on – Saratoga outfit finds niche in music production
Roger Sharp takes out a red Nord Electros to display at their new office space in Wilton on Route 50, February 7, 2019.
Photographer: Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — It all started in high school for Roger Sharp.

“It was for the love of music,” Sharp said. “I worked with a band doing sound. I was the hidden member of the band.”

In those days, he rented his equipment and with a conversion van and a trailer got it to various gigs. But he quickly learned that owning his own equipment was a better option. He relied on word of mouth, never advertised and became a popular choice especially because he was always available through his cellphone for an email or text.

“I decided to make a game plan," Sharp said. "From age 30 to 40, I’d never say no. I’d take only that amount of money I needed to live on – I barely paid myself but I knew I needed a deep inventory with the newest. So I put the rest into the business."

“When people needed something," Sharp said, "they’d just say ‘Call Roger.’ I’d answer the phone and make it happen.”

Although there were other companies around doing something similar, he said, he found a niche.

“Everything was performance-based,” he said. “I loved the live energy.”

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
Roger and Christine Sharp take out one of their video walls, which was used at Rivers Casino Super Bowl party, inside their new office space in Wilton on Route 50 on Thursday, February 7, 2019.
ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Roger and Christine Sharp take out one of their video walls, which was used at Rivers Casino Super Bowl party, inside their new office space in Wilton on Route 50 on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

By 2005, his reputation for providing outstanding service at any time of day and even last minute had so grown that he incorporated his business, then named High Peaks Sound, and began renting out equipment.

That included musical instruments such as drum kits, cymbals, keyboards, as well as soundboards, amps, speakers, and DJ equipment to live bands whether they were performing for a college function or a local venue. Although much of his business then was during fall and spring events, national touring companies were discovering him. In 2009, he added light and staging equipment.

Ten years later, he can’t believe how the business has grown as well as along the way getting married to a bass player, Christine, whom he met at an Irish music festival in Vermont and with whom he has twins.

“I never thought I’d own what I own,” he said. “How did this happen?”

Two months ago, the couple built a 9,600-square-foot warehouse to house all the rental equipment that includes not just one brand of cymbal or keyboard but several brands because every live band has its preference. They also purchased a trailer in 2015 that opens up into a stage with a roof and now have three of those. Walls of drum kits, thousands of dollars in cymbals, keyboards that can run up to $4,000 each, crates with soundboards and the newest thing – video boards that lock together to form a monster television set fill the warehouse.

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“We had to build this because I had no more room in my garage,” he said with a laugh. “It’s overwhelming.”

His client list includes among others The Egg, Upstate Concert Hall, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Proctors, the Palace, the Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College, Saratoga Hotel Casino, local schools that do plays (they rent his lights and projectors), Saratoga Springs’ First Night for the last eight years and his newest, Rivers Casino in Schenectady.

“I supplement most venues in the area,” Sharp said. “The business has developed into a year-long business and recently we changed the name to High Peaks Event Production.”

He also has a 40-to-50 game plan.

“I have to step back and let the staff of five core employees handle the equipment,” he said. “We need to barcode our equipment because we’re looking to provide for bands doing long-term tours. Sales for lighting and installations are also something we want to do more of and have a room set up for post-production work. I still do research on the latest equipment. People want the newest technology, so we always have to upgrade. Last year we spent $500,000 just on rental equipment.”

And if that’s not enough, Strong also provides some space for local bands to rehearse which gives his techies a chance to experiment with the newest gear.

“We’re a one-stop shop,” he said.

High Peaks Event Production is located at 4272 Rt. 50. For more information about its products and services, please call 518-222-0151.

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