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Jun 10, 2012

Comments

Philip Lehman

From your posting I assume you are retired now - as am I. I have been asked to build acoustic shells for our church choir and this seems to be the most effective, lightest, storable and inexpensive method available.

Can you send more information or build instructions??

Andrew Adams

Hi Ken,

I'd really like to see your plans for this. We're a 25-30 voice choir and $6K for a shell is out of the question. We often sing at outdoor venues and a variant of this could solve lots of problems!

Laura

Ken-
I am SO interested in getting all the details to build this type of shell. I teach music at a small elementary school. The building is very old, and the only "stage" is on one end of a sunken gym. Basically, there are big wooden doors that can be opened and a railing at the front of the doorway so audience could sit in chairs down on the gym floor and the kids could perform up behind the rail. Only problem is that they would be standing in a main hallway. We need a way to make a "back" to our stage to block sound and sight lines down that hall. Please help! :)

Ken Rushton

Sorry!
I am unable to do any major postings until Jan 6, when I retire to specialize in:
1. learning to play my jammer.
2. post fun things about Music.
I promise that I will post all that I know about the choral shell in January. I will finally have time to do so.

A tip for the meantime: I created 8" high riser step covers from coroplast. These were very successful.
The boost reflected sound and the stopping of sound sneaking around the back of the risers and making the sound muddy made it easier to hear each other and the audience seemed to like it.
Just take careful care that the feet can't catch on a protruding piece of plastic.
Ken.

Janet Vrudny

I too would like to hear the information regarding your homemade choral shell. We too have a multi-purpose gymnasium that we use for concerts and we desperately need a shell. Thanks Ken for any information and help!

Ken Rushton

Hello all.
I'm unable to post a long reply to your pleas, as it's show season. I tried making a video, several months ago, showing how I bend and fly the upper shell, but I learned that (1) videos are very time consuming. and (2) that I didn't have (or make) the time needed to do it - I kept doing a bit, getting interrupted, restarting - you doubtless know the drill. Instead, here are some notes:

First, put up the black railing cover over the back of the risers. This is cheap and easy to do. I presume you currently have black curtains stuck on with velcro? If so, this is easy:


- put the 8' x 4' sheets coroplast against the railing, and trim it to the height of the railing (save the trimmings).
- Cut the sheets down from 8' long to exactly 4'
- Protect yourselves against plastic-caused "paper cuts" by wrapping black electrical tape over the top edge.
- then stick 1/2 inch squares of velcro on the back side of the plastic sheets, about one per every 8-12 inches. Don't use too much, or the coroplast will be stuck on so tightly that you will bend it when you pull it off.
- If you don't already have velcro on the back railing, buy enough velcro to cover the top bar,
clean it carefully with solvent or a good detergent, and stick the velcro on securely.
- To speed up setup, put an big "arrow" on the back-side of the sheets pointing to the top edge.
This is a big help.

Extra tip: to make the sheets easier to handle and store, suggest drilling a thumb-size (1 inch or so) hole in the top centre of the sheets, to give them a grip, and put a 1/2 inch square of velcro on all 4 corners, so that the stacked sheet layers would stick together and can be put in the truck easily.

That's it for how to set up the riser-back part of the choral shell

More to come, time permitting. Ken.

Emily

I'd love to get the details on how to make these!

Francis Marien

Hello Ken,
I have been researching exactly what you did for your music shells. Our Chorale does fund raisers for not for profit organizations in the area. Purchasing shells is cost prohibitive because we rely on only donations from business to supply music and stipends to the few musicians we have to hire for our two to three concerts per year. If you could send more detailed information on your construction technique it would be very valuable, in particular the method of securing the wire to the material without tearing or breaking it. Also we do not have the luxury of flying them and have to stand them up on the stage flooring. Any ideas for this would also be helpful. Thank you for any information you could supply,
Fran Marien

Bret

I sure hope this is still active! I would absolutely LOVE to get the details on building this shell and/or a portable one like others mentioned. I teach at a K-8 school that doesn't have the thousands necessary for a shell, but this could do some GREAT things for us!

John Love

I'd be very interested in the details on constructing the sound shell and if you also have ideas for a portable version. Thank you very much

Rina Ritivoiu

Hi Ken,

I'd love to get more information on how to make one that is portable if you know. My choir of 50 singers and 15 chamber orchestra tour at least dozen times a year. Thank you!

Forrest Coleman

I'd be interested in the details on constructing these pretty cool
devices. Thanks!

Ken Rushton

I just built a double-size one and have simplified the design, taking pictures and movies as I went. I hope to squeeze the time to document and post the details this week-end.
I know I've missed on my promises to do so in the past, but hopefully the time-stealing demons will hold off for a few days.
Ken.

Alfred Lund

Our 75-member chorus would like to use the local performing arts center, but the on-stage acoustics are much as described here. This solution is one worth exploring. I'd love more detailed plans. Thanks.

Fred Saurmann

I'm curious as to how this project was completed, I'm technical director of a church with a choir number anywhere from about 30-50 some members. We seem to have the same dilemmas that you've experienced. I would love to get some more information on how you completed this project. Thanks for your insight!

Rick Ward

Ken,
We are a symphonic chorus with 50 - 90 voices and accompaniement ranging from piano, bass and drums to a 40 piece orchestra. We also perform in several venues, including high ceilinged cathedrals. I have been charged by the board of directors with getting information about choral shells.
Your system looks fascinating. Any detailed information you can send me would be greatly appreciated.

Ingrid Ojala

I'd love more details for our choir of around 40!
thanks!

jeff Lyon

How inventive!

I'd love to have the details on this shell. It looks like it would be perfect for our church's multi-purpose room when we have our Christmas and Easter programs.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Joanna Davis

Hello, Ken

Could you please send me the details? I am a Sweet Adeline from Northern California and am in charge of our regional competition in April. We had been using a choral shell belonging to the Calif. Music Educators (CMEA) for our 13+ choruses of about 500 singer - but the shell is no longer available and I can't find another shell in all of California ... and the cost of purchasing a shell is quite prohibitive.

I would be grateful to see your solution.

Thanks.

jeff Lyon

What a great idea! I'd love to have more details. Could you send them to me? THANKS!

Zeke Johnstone

Hi Ken,

That is some amazing work you guys did on your shell!

I am helping with an event where there will be 500 teenagers singing. The venue is in a fair ground pavilion and the sound is terrible. Can you send me the details for building this choral shell. Thank you so much.

Mike Maughan

Hello Ken, thanks for posting this and generously offering to share the details! We have a choir of 60 as well and are always looking for ways to enhance our and the audience's experience. By all means, please let us have more details we can decide whether to mount a project to build one. We are the High Spirits Choral Society in Vancouver BC, musical director Ieva Wool. My name is Mike Maughan, Board President of HSCS. Thanks again!

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