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u Fifty years of the Centennial Concert Hall Continued from page 1


A group shot of the Winnipeg Symphnoy Orchestra on stage.


large orchestra shell design was created that could be lowered into place for symphony performances and lifted into storage position above the stage when it was needed. The shell is like a three-sided room with three walls and a roof with an open front side that faces the audience. The operation and functionality of


the orchestral shell is very important to the ability of the orchestra members to hear themselves play and to hear their colleagues well enough to be able to coordinate entrances, artistically shape phrases, and balance the combination of sounds to create the most satisfying and musically satisfying experience for audience members. The absence of an orchestral shell for symphony orches- tra performances creates sonic dead spots on stage. It makes it very diffi- cult to work with Winnipeg’s wonderful choirs, and the conductor has difficulty hearing and shaping the


Trudy Schroeder Random Notes


nuances of the musicians’ work. The stress and strain of working to a high musical standard is multiplied many times in this environment, and the danger of overplaying in this en- vironment greatly increases the risk of injuries to the musicians. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has been performing in the Centen- nial Concert Hall without a functional acoustic shell since the spring of 2016. Engineers brought in to assess the safe- ty of the mechanical system that raises and lowers the massively heavy shell structure determined that use of the shell had to be curtailed because it was in danger of failing and crashing to the stage and wreaking havoc on the stage and anyone working on the stage. An electronic acoustical enhancement sys- tem that is intended to electronically


simulate the presence of a shell was installed as an interim measure until the shell could be repaired.


This electronic shell is helpful, but it is an emergency measure not a long term solution. It is like putting an emergency tire in place when you have a flat tire. The emergency spare tire will get you to a garage, but it is not intended to be used for the long term. After fifty years of service with less than adequate budgets for capital


repairs and maintenance, the


Manitoba Centennial Centre in its entirety is deeply in need of refurbishment. Many aspects of the build- ings need to be repaired and modernized, but for us at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the absolute priority is the repair of the orchestral shell. We have a wonderful orchestra in Winnipeg, and


its highly trained and skilled musicians should be performing in a concert facility that meets basic pro- fessional standards. We have asked people who care about the orchestra to speak to their elected repre- sentatives to support making this important repair. You can help this effort by speaking with your elected representative. Trudy Schroeder is the Executive Director of the Win- nipeg Symphony Orchestra.


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