Case Study: Enhanced Acoustic Shell Improves Sound Quality at Performing Arts Center

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21 January 2022 – Contact the FacilitiesNet editorial staff »


The Hastings Performing Arts Center (HPAC), located in Hastings, Michigan, is a popular destination for performing arts and creativity. The 830-seat facility hosts a wide range of student performances, music festivals, and other events throughout the year. To optimize the functionality and acoustics of the space, HPAC turned to the experts at Staging Concepts, who custom designed a new acoustic shell and orchestra pit infill for the beloved auditorium. .

Bravado acoustic shell

To improve the acoustics and overall audience experience, the Staging Concepts team recommended a Bravado full-stage acoustic shell. Designed to mix and reflect sound energy back to the audience, the fully customizable state-of-the-art system consists of moving towers and ceiling panels that line up to form a resounding and engaging performance space.

Among the key advantages of the Bravado shell are its portability and ability to be configured as a cohesive unit or in segmented pieces, allowing it to be customized to the acoustic and spacing needs of individual events. 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.

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

To complement the look of the existing layout at the HPAC, White and his team selected a soft white color for the hull panels. This provides a neutral backdrop that allows event producers and lighting designers to “paint” the space with accent lighting and visual effects that reflect the tone of the music and evoke emotion among the public.

orchestra pit filler

Stepping down from the stage, a custom orchestra pit filler was installed at the HPAC to allow fine tuning of larger ensembles, ensuring musical balance between orchestral and choral groups. Panels can be added or removed on the fly to create a custom hearing experience to meet the needs of each individual performance.

“The pit filler meets and exceeds our needs for musicals and special productions,” says White. “When we have a large ensemble in the pit, we only remove about half of the panels. This allows the musicians to play and mix very well without covering up the vocals on stage. And when we have a smaller ensemble in the pit, we will be removing some or all of the panels. This ability to adjust the balance of the pit with whatever is happening on stage for each event is a total game-changer. It was amazing!

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William E. Bennett