Instead of theatre seats, rows of scaffolding tower over the demoed auditorium.
Cornerstone University’s Matthew’s Auditorium, located at the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, is being transformed into a primary venue for musical and theatrical performances. The project, currently under construction, is planned for completion on Feb. 4, just in time for spring concerts and the CU theatre’s performance of “Little Women.”
“The space will be designed to be acoustically tuned for premier musical performances,” said Marc Fowler, executive vice president and chief operations officer at Cornerstone University.
With the upgrades, Cornerstone musical groups will be able to perform on campus.
“Up to this point, we haven’t used the seminary for musical performances,” Fowler said. “For the last several years, or as long as anyone can remember, all of our large group concerts have been hosted offsite, either at a church or a large school auditorium.”
Past performances have been held downtown Grand Rapids at the Basilica at St. Adalbert, St. Cecelia, Central Reformed Church, Park Church and Northview High School across the street.
“This will be the first time we’ve had a truly dedicated performance place,” said Michael Stockdale, chair of the Music Division.
The artistically designed auditorium will feature aerial clouds hanging from the ceiling and shells on stage directing the music outward toward the audience. The sides of the auditorium will have constructed baffles to make the music reverberate in ways that fill the room with a balanced sound. There will be panels in the back of the room that can be opened or closed to expand or deaden the sound, depending on the performance.
This versatility of acoustic design will provide an enhanced listening experience for the audience of CU’s theatre shows as well.
The renovation also creates new learning objectives for CU students studying audio production, featuring an industry standard sound system. It will open opportunities for students to practice the technicalities of musical performances in the form of both internships and paid worker positions.
To learn more about Cornerstone University’s Music Division, follow this link: http://www.cornerstone.edu/music