Ceiling Shells Enhance Acoustics for Dimond Performances

In late November, Dimond High School was fortunate enough to receive a grant which would provide funding to improve its auditorium with acoustical ceiling shells.

The original legislative grant request was made by the Anchorage School District’s stage manager, Tammie Smith-Scott.

After this request was made, a final decision was determined in favor of the improvements.

Following the one to two-week construction period, the shells were installed onto the stage’s ceiling and can now be seen from the audience during performances.

The installation of the ceiling shells cost the district roughly $50,000 and took workers multiple days to complete, Smith-Scott said.

There are now two new ceiling shells in the Dimond auditorium, each being quite large: 36 feet long by 8 feet wide.

During performances, these tan-colored shells will drop between the electrical components of the stage’s ceiling and close together.

This action will cause a full enclosure for the actors/musicians on stage and will enhance their ability to project sound into the audience.

When interviewed on the topic, Smith-Scott stated, “These improvements should dramatically affect the way the audience hears performances. With these new ceiling shells, we have created a more ‘professional’ environment for not only the people listening, but for those performing as well. Now that there is a full acoustical enclosure, the sound will project straight out into the audience, instead of being lost in the upper hollows of the stage.”

Smith-Scott believes that the improvements will be a huge step forward in Dimond’s performance standards.

Karen Tornfelt, Dimond High School orchestra director, agrees with Smith-Scott’s statements, saying, “Our school has always had a wonderful auditorium. The issue however, was that the hall had dreadful acoustics; it didn’t — it couldn’t  project. The massive opening towards the upper part of the stage would absorb most, if not all of the sound we produced. The new shells will cut the size of the opening by more than half. Now our sound will project out, rather than up.”

Tornfelt feels extremely optimistic about the new installation and is looking forward to the upcoming concerts.

The Dimond High School music and drama departments have multiple performances (and countless rehearsals) during the year.

Most, if not all, of these performances and rehearsals occur on the auditorium stage. These changes will affect all of the students positively.

With better acoustics, performers will be able to project more easily and the audience will hear the performances more clearly, accurately and with much more ease.

Performances are always affected by the quality of the surrounding hall. Dimond High School is incredibly fortunate to have been given this grant.

The shells will last for decades and should provide a professional atmosphere for the audience and the performers, Smith-Scott said.

Before these installations were made, the acoustics were subpar to what they should have been.

Now that these improvements have been made, Dimond can expect an excellent and superior auditorium hall.