Acoustical Banners Increase Recital Hall’s Flexibility
“Our Transform banners have added new dimensions to the Recital Hall known for its wonderful acoustic properties, but not as flexible for the various uses that we desired,” explains Dwight Vaught, Director of the Doudna Fine Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston, Illinois.
Featuring 175 seats, the Recital Hall features opaque glass lining the stage and ceiling, providing both visual and acoustic interest. This intimate space hosts faculty and student recitals, rehearsals, solo and chamber performances, along with small music theatre productions and many other events. It is also rented out to community organizations.
Myriad of Possibilities.
EIU installed 10 Transform acoustical banners in the fall of 2015 – eight onstage and two in the rear of the hall. With these banners, Vaught says the acoustic dampening options now available make the space adjustable to a myriad of musical, performance, and presentation possibilities.
“Whether music or speech coming from the stage, using the banners has enhanced the listening experience by reducing the clutter of reverberant sound around the room,” he explains. Vaught adds that in some cases, the banners also reduce the shrill top edge of certain instruments in such a live space.
Performers who prefer a ‘live’ acoustic environment in the Recital Hall can choose not to use any of the banners. “We’re looking forward to using them more and discovering the possibilities!” Vaught remarks.
EIU faculty members are also appreciating the banners. Dr. Jonathan Bowman, Instructor of Piano, loves them and claims they are simple to operate and “amazingly effective at adjusting the hall’s acoustics in useful ways, without distortions.” He adds, “I feel spoiled having a choice about the acoustics I play in.”
Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Instructor of Flute, used the banners for a faculty recital and says audience members commented on the improved clarity they provided. She believes the banners also improved onstage communication.
Wenger developed Transform™ Motorized Acoustical Banners to provide the benefits of variable acoustics at an affordable price. These banners offer adjustable spacing options – both for distance away from wall and between fabric layers – and are also available in a range of heights and widths. This feature provides “fine-tuning” for the level of absorption required. A tubular motor deploys the banners quietly and quickly, up to 45’ per minute; banners can be controlled with a simple wall switch with 5 – 7 presets, or can integrate with SceneControl™ by J.R. Clancy or other intelligent control systems. Standard fabric options include velour, wool serge and quilted poly blanket. Each banner ships assembled and tested for proper operation.
Vaught recalls that Wenger personnel were attentive and responsive throughout the entire process, from initial steps through final installation details. This unique application – with banners mounted on glass panels and custom fabric colors – required extra consultation. “The work was accomplished professionally, on time, and on budget – what more can you ask for!” concluded Vaught.