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Hastings Performing Arts Center In Michigan Turns to Staging Concepts for Acoustic Shell and Orchestra Pit Filler

FOH Staff • News • March 16, 2021

HASTINGS, MI – The 830-seat Hastings Performing Arts Center (HPAC) turned to Staging Concepts for upgrades including a new new acoustical shell and orchestra pit filler.

More details from Staging Concepts (www.stagingconcepts.com):

Bravado Acoustical Shell

To enhance acoustics and the overall audience experience, the Staging Concepts team recommended a Bravado full-stage acoustical shell. Designed to blend and reflect sound energy toward audiences, the fully-customizable, state-of-the-art system consists of mobile towers and ceiling panels that align to form a resounding and attractive performance space.

Among the key advantages of the Bravado shell is its portability and ability to set up as a cohesive unit or in segmented pieces, allowing it to be customized based on the acoustic and spacing needs of individual events. This versatility comes in especially handy at the HPAC, where performances range from small group concerts to regional music festivals. The full shell is often set up when hosting a choir concert and a modified version is configured when the stage needs to be extended to accommodate larger holiday concerts that feature both vocal and instrumental ensembles.

“It’s easy to change the layout with this system and you can set it up any way,” explained Spencer White, band director for the HPAC.

In addition to improving sound quality, the Bravado shell also features a streamlined design aesthetic. To compliment the appearance of the existing layout at the HPAC, White and his team selected a soft white color for the shell panels. This provides a neutral backdrop that enables event producers and lighting designers to “paint” the space with accent lighting and visual effects that mirror the music’s tone and evoke emotion among the audience.

“Changing the lighting and color for a specific event, such as our holiday collage concert, is a great benefit,” added White. “We are really happy with the acoustics and appearance of the shell.”

Constructed of lightweight aluminum alloy, the portable, modular system includes an easy-to-use wheeled mover, making transporting and storing towers a simple and efficient process.

Orchestra Pit Filler

Moving downstage, a customized orchestra pit filler was installed at the HPAC to enable the fine tuning of larger ensembles, ensuring a musical balance between orchestral and choral groups. Panels may be added or removed on the fly to create an auditory experience customized to fit the needs of each individual performance.

“The pit filler meets and exceeds our needs for musicals and special productions,” noted White. “When we have a large ensemble in the pit, we will only remove about half of the panels. This allows the musicians to play out and blend very well without covering up the voices on the stage. And when we have a smaller ensemble in the pit, we will remove more or all the panels. This ability to tune the pit’s balance with whatever is happening on stage for each event is a total game changer. It’s been incredible!”

While the doors of the HPAC have been temporarily closed due to the pandemic, the stage has been used to safely film performances for home viewing. When in-person events and concerts can be held once again, the stage will be set for celebrating the sound of music.

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