Greenwich High School’s first class graduated back in 1898 but its current 54-acre
campus dates to 1970. With approximately 2,650 students, more than 1,400 of who
are enrolled in music and theatre courses, it had far outgrown its old auditorium,
which also suffered from poor acoustics, poor sightlines, and other shortcomings.
As part of a massive expansion project begun in July 2013, the school constructed a
beautiful new Performing Arts Centre featuring a 1,325-seat, 35,000-foot auditorium
with a proper stage, orchestra pit, and other facilities-including a new Renkus-Heinz
VARIAi sound system. “It’s a fine proscenium theatre with two balcony levels-not
what we typically see at a high school,” observes Curtis Kasefang of Raleigh, North
Carolina, system designer and integrator Theatre Consultants Collaborative (TCC).
Acoustical elements include a reverse fan-shaped room that helps envelop the
audience in the sound, an orchestra shell, a forestage reflector, sound doors, roof
detailing that reduces rain impact noise, and adjustable acoustic curtains.
Working with acoustician David Greenberg of Creative Acoustics (Westport,
Connecticut) and project engineer Rich Gold of New Haven-based HB
Communications, Kasefang put together a design based on Renkus-Heinz VARIAi
loudspeakers. “We chose VARIAi because a primary consideration was a high-
quality, tight line array that would keep the sound off the walls and on the
audience,” Kasefang explains.
VARIAi cabinets have been designed to fly either as modules in a vertical array or
as part of a tight-packed horizontal array. The system designer or sound engineer
can build horizontal coverage in 22.5º or even narrower slices, as required, with
seamless integration between cabinets for a true modular point source solution.
With a range of vertical and horizontal dispersion angles and Renkus-Heinz’s
proprietary Transitional WaveGuides, VARIAi’s highly configurable enclosures and
concealed hardware make it easy to custom design a system.
To cover all but the balcony at Greenwich High School, Kasefang specified left,
centre, and right main arrays. The left and right arrays have three subwoofers and
six VARIAi full-range systems: The top four deliver 7° x 90° coverage, the next one
down is 15° x 90°, and the bottom cabinet provides 22° x 90° dispersion. The
centre array consists of five VARIAi cabinets, with three 7° x 90° systems on top
and two 15° x 90° systems below. “That covered the room very well, without
wasting energy on the walls” Kasefang recalls. “The VARIAi also helped direct the
sound off of balcony faces, avoiding reflections back to the stage.”
The system also includes a Biamp Tesira SERVER DSP and a Yamaha CL3 mixer.
“We tried to give the school the best bang for the buck while still delivering high
quality, and we like Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers for that,” muses Kasefang. “The
Renkus-Heinz rig is lovely, and the Greenwich High School people are very
satisfied. It’s very rare to find a high school with a beautifully designed concert hall
and a sound system to match but Greenwich High School accomplished it.”