A group of community members are getting a standing ovation for their donations to fund a new sound system in the Community Concert Hall. Donors contributed $100,000 to help purchase a system from L-Acoustics, considered one of the best audio companies in the world.
“These donors recognized a need,” says Mark Jastorff, vice president for Advancement. “One donor created a challenge to our arts community to build off their seed contribution, and their call was answered.”
Performances this week debuted the new system, bringing the audiences a precision and range of sound that was missing in the old system.
"When you come to the Hall now, you’ll hear people’s voices better, and you’ll hear a separation of notes better. There’s much more clarity in the different instruments, from bass, treble, guitars, versus horns, versus drums."
Charles Leslie, director of the Community Concert Hall
Leslie said the biggest discovery in the new system is how little sound varies in the different seating sections. With the old system, an audience in the balcony didn’t have the same sound experience as those seated in the orchestra section.
“Now when you’re in the balcony, it sounds like what you would be hearing in other parts of the Hall. It’s very much more directionally focused with a broader range of sound and more clarity,” says Leslie.
The last upgrade to the system was made more than 13 years ago, and though it was state-of-the-art then, technology improvements in the last decade raised the sound bar beyond its capabilities. The new installation includes speakers, amplifiers, cables, processors, and new power for a fully digital auditorium.
Leslie said improving the sound quality of the Hall was a priority, but so was bringing in a system to meet current and future artists’ demands.
“For us to stay on the radar of artists, we needed to have this done,” says Leslie. “They love Fort Lewis College, they love the Concert Hall, they love Durango, and now they will love the sound system because it’s a vast improvement.”
The Community Concert Hall hosts artists from all over the world and offers a performance every few days. Leslie says any music event would be the best way to hear the system, especially an act with a wide range of instruments. He recommended Delfeayo Marsalis & The Uptown Jazz Orchestra on February 27, followed by the FLC Music Department’s Jazz Fest on February 28.
Music in the Mountains comes to the Concert Hall
Also new to the Community Concert Hall is Music in the Mountains, a world-class festival in its 33rd season of orchestra and chamber performances of classical and world music. After 32 years of being hosted at the nearby Purgatory Resort, the Hall will serve as the primary venue for orchestra performances during the festival from July 6-28, 2019.
“We are grateful to Purgatory for the many wonderful years of support and partnership, but we believe that both of our organizations have grown to the point that the experience will be improved at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College,” says Angie Beach, executive director of Music in the Mountains. “We are confident that we can create the magic of the festival on the beautiful Fort Lewis College campus.”
The new residence for Music in the Mountains will allow musicians and attendees more access to downtown Durango and is expected to bring in more classical music fans from southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico.
“I have always thought Fort Lewis College’s Community Concert Hall was one of Durango’s greatest treasures,” says Music in the Mountain’s artistic director, Gregory Hustis. “The opportunity to play most of our orchestral concerts in this beautiful and acoustically excellent venue will be a major plus for our musicians and our audiences.”