The Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills recently received a technology upgrade, including new sound and video systems, stage monitors and improved devices for audience members with visual or hearing loss.
Baltimore-based HP Electronics installed the new speakers, designed to enhance the sound, not simply amplify it, while placing less strain on patrons’ ears.
“Our stage is close enough to the audience that they can hear what’s going on offstage. A lot of venues, when you go to see a concert, you’re not hearing the stage, you’re just hearing the amplification,” theater manager and technical director Peter Michaelson said in a news release. “These are very easy on the ear, which is important.”
In addition to this year’s upgrades, the center installed a new digital projection system, which allows for front projection for film screenings and rear projection for video for such events as the 2017 J Live concert, the Children’s Theater Production Company’s recent performance of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” the Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame induction ceremony and others.
The state-of-the-art assisted- listening system combines conventional “loop” technology and headphone technology. Michaelson said the system should allow the Gordon Center to keep pace with advances in assistive listening and viewing technology.
“We have the capacity to do both visually-impaired and listening-impaired [technology],” he added.
Shelley Blank has had a chance to use the new system and approves of the upgrade.
“The clarity of voices was good and there was very little distortion,” Blank said, adding that she was grateful the system didn’t use “uncomfortable earphones.” Gordon Center patrons can stop by the box office and pick up an assistive-listening device to use the new system.
In the works for about a year, the new system makes its debut with the center’s 2017-2018 season. The improvements were made possible through a $100,000 2016 bond bill sponsored by 11th District legislators Sen. Bobby Zirkin and Dels. Dan Morhaim, Shelly Hettleman and Dana Stein.