Foundation grant upgrades Riverview Auditorium sound

student next to speaker on stage

Those attending Riverview’s production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” next week will be among the first to experience the sound system improvements in the school auditorium.

Posted April 5, 2021

Audiences enjoying the upcoming Riverview Middle School spring musical should notice an improved sound experience.

Recent improvements have included rewiring the electronics rack, replacing obsolete microphones, and adding plug-and-play ports to make the auditorium more user friendly. A $5,500 grant from the Plymouth Education Foundation plus $2,000 from the musical activity account helped fund the upgrades.

Work began in the summer of 2019, when a new tech booth was added at the back of the auditorium. It was built by Riverview choir director Rachel Simac, district technician Scott Bunyea, and Riverview custodians, using repurposed science lab tables from Plymouth High School.

“Now, with the upgrades to the auditorium, this booth is more student friendly, creating a better environment for students to learn how tech works during our musicals and concerts,” Mrs. Simac said.

Arrow AV Group rewired the existing rack, which holds all of the electronics that make the soundsystem work. This rewiring helps the technology talk to each other better, which in turn makes it a simpler system for the user. Two modes were created for the sound equipment: a simple one, for assemblies or concerts; and a more complex one, which will be used during musicals.

The upgrades also added an easier access point for teachers to play videos and sound in the auditorium. “This system was hard to figure out prior to the update, and many teachers were calling (head custodian) Stu Hellmer or myself for help on how to get the sound to work,” Mrs. Simac said. “Now, they just plug into one of the new ports, and their computers play sound through the big system.”

The project also addressed the dull but noticeable buzzing sound in the auditorium. When workers took down the top speaker, they discovered part of it was no longer functioning. “This has now been repaired, and sound has been restored to the balcony and the buzzing no longer exists,” Mrs. Simac said.

The upgrade also included three new cordless microphones and one lapel microphone. Due to new FCC regulations, the existing microphones were no longer on the correct frequency and had to be updated.

Arrow AV Group sent in sound experts who tuned the sound, which hadn’t been done in years. “The work they did created a better balance of treble and bass, highs and lows, and will make it an easier listening experience for all,” Mrs. Simac said.

Learn more:
Read an article about Riverview Middle School’s upcoming production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.”
• Explore The Arts section of our award-winning District Report Card to learn more about how our students excel at traditional and unique arts opportunities at all levels, both in and outside the classroom.