Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hemmens Auditorium -- Acoustically Superb?

I was reading about the Civic Center on E.C. Alft's site, and ran across this interesting observation about the Hemmens:
An acoustic marvel, it is one of the finest auditoriums in the country. Soloists can be heard without being drowned out by the instruments, and the sound is clear, no matter which of the 1,225 seats is occupied.
This wasn't my impression. Last time I was at the Hemmens (3rd row, orchestra section), the solo violin sounded weakly and the percussionist played way too loud for the rest of the orchestra. Because the percussionist drew hearty applause when I'd expected the audience to clamor to bang his head between cymbals in retribution, I figured it was must have been my seat that was the problem, not the musicians. I also remember one or more councilmen complaining about the acoustics of the Hemmens. But I don't think Mr. Alft made this up. It must have indeed at one point been acoustically excellent, and if so, there's no reason it can't be returned to that condition. You know where this is going...


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