MESSIAH 2016-92Completion of the first phase of improvements to Bethany College’s premier performance space, Presser Hall Auditorium, occurred just in time for this year’s Messiah Festival of the Arts concerts and events during Holy Week.

A new sound system, completed on March 17, was made possible through a grant from the Rouback Family Foundation. “The experience of all hearing and understanding the speaker’s words wherever one is seated is now possible,” Dan Masterson, co-chair of the Bethany Music Department, said. “This simply was not the case for the former system.”

The new system features wireless and recording capabilities and added speakers throughout the hall. “For example, at the Vocal Jazz Clinic, recently hosted in Presser Auditorium, the clinician wore a wireless head-microphone and was able to move freely about the stage,” Masterson said. “We were able to feed recordings from his computer through the system for a multi-media presentation that we could not have accommodated before now.”

Training of students, staff, and faculty to use the new system is planned so others are capable of utilizing the auditorium for a variety of events including student activities, guest lecturers, campus and community events, according to Masterson.

The improvements, although specifically for the sound system, have made possible the infrastructure for further improvements to the performance space. “The opportunity allowed those involved to set up additional phases for improving and updating the auditorium, including new lighting system, and video projection capabilities,” Masterson said.