Choir enjoying improved acoustics

music-panelsMarietta College’s Hermann Fine Arts Center has always been a place where beautiful singing could be heard.

Recently, those same notes have sounded even better and it’s all thanks to the renovation of the choir practice room on the second floor.

According to Fred Smith, Director of the Physical Plant, the previous acoustic environment in Hermann 217 (the choir room) was not capable of supporting the current choral ensemble.

The room used to allow for too much reverb, which led to an uneven frequency distribution. Basically, this means the room was too loud and, because of this, echoes, poor acoustics, and generally muddled sound quality made productive rehearsal difficult.

To combat these issues the College spent $18,000 to have Wenger Corp. install one of its Interactive Acoustical Panel Systems in the room.

Without a system like Wenger’s, musical environments are subject to flutter echo and reverberation issues. Carpet, drapes, and upholstery do absorb some sound, but only those of higher frequency, leaving those lower on the scale to echo, rebound, and become overpowering. In a situation like this, the loudness of these ‘leftover’ sounds becomes excessive and overpowering; this is exactly what was happening in the choir room.

With the Wenger system, however, these problems have been eliminated. A combination of wall- and ceiling-mounted convex diffuser panels and wall-mounted absorber panels help to create an acoustically balanced environment in which practice and rehearsal can take place.

The panels eliminate echoes and reverberation while controlling the level of noise in the room, which is beneficial to both performers and instructors.

“As a result of the addition of Wenger Acoustical tiles in the choral rehearsal room, we can now provide our student-musicians with a rehearsal facility appropriate to the high caliber of their choral performance work,” said Dr. Daniel Monek, Professor of Music and Division Coordinator of Arts and Humanities. “The adjustments have allowed for both a healthier sound environment and an increased pace of rehearsals through which attention to greater nuance is now possible. The music department and all of our student-musicians are grateful to the College for undertaking this valuable project.”