Sound Mixing Enhances Theater Experience for All
The talented cast and impressive set design took center stage during the Lake Forest High School Theater’s October run of the murder mystery play, Clue. But off stage, the tech crew shined with a light and sound performance that played a critical role in the success of the production. 

The audience’s upgraded sound experience was also due, in part, to a LHFS Foundation grant that transformed the sound systems in both the Raymond Moore Auditorium (RMA) and the LFHS Theater (aka The Little Theater) in 2020. The foundation’s $70,000 investment outfitted both theaters with new Soundcraft digital mixing consoles, where all of the sound mixing (the electronic blending of sound sources, such as voices, instruments, sound effects, music, etc.) takes place during live events; sound boxes (the housing used to connect microphones and other sound equipment to the sound console); speakers and amplifiers; and other related equipment needed to complete the project.

Clue was the first major production that fully utilized the new system in the RMA.
Moving from Analog to Digital Technology
The old sound systems were no longer serviceable and were behind the technology curve. “They weren’t amplifying sound and became unreliable, resulting in issues such as sound cutting out and dropping, static noise and muddy sound,” said LFHS Technical Theater Director Mary Toledano. The new system moved the theaters from analog to digital technology. The systems are designed to be as simple to use as an analog mixer but deliver high-quality digital sound mixing with uncompromised audio quality.

The digital sound systems also provide a “much cleaner run throughout each theater space,” said Toledano. “With the analog system, there were large amounts of cable running from the mixer in the sound booth down to the stage. Now that it is digital, there is just one cable from the mixer to the stage box for all sound inputs and outputs.”
New Equipment Enhances Learning Opportunities
The new systems are also having a huge impact on the students who are involved with LFHS’ theater tech program. “We have around 40 students, from every grade level, participating in tech crew this year,” said Toledano. “It was less than 10 when I started here three years ago.” Toledano attributes this impressive growth to an increased interest in learning about the different aspects of theater and its equipment and the diverse product offerings of the department (plays, musicals, one-acts, talent show, etc.), which provide more opportunities for students to get involved.

“For the students interested in learning about live sound mixing and our equipment, the new system is easy to learn and fun,” said Toledano. “It’s a great teaching and learning tool. It has been incredible to see what the students can learn when they are left to practice with the sound console on their own.”

LFHS Tech Crew student, Elizabeth Miczuga, said she first used the new console during last year’s Talent Show production. “It only took me an hour to figure out the new soundboard. It was easy to use, and I only needed simple adjustments,” said Miczuga. "It's definitely improved tech crew life."
Better Multimedia Experience for All Audiences
The sound system grant complements a 2019 grant, made in partnership with PALS (the booster organization for LFHS theater), that equipped the RMA with a 4K projector for large-venue presentations, along with eight new microphone packs for professional-grade sound reinforcement, which were first used during last year's Talent Show and again during Pitch Night. The large format screen used with the projector was part of a 2011 grant intended to enhance the RMA by improving presentation quality in the space so it could accommodate more school and community multimedia events and is still serving LFHS well.
Talent Show
Pitch Night Backstage
Judges at Pitch Night
If you’re looking to experience these audio/visual upgrades first-hand, there is a Band Concert on November 4th and a Veteran's Day Assembly on November 11th plus the LFHS Theater Department has some upcoming opportunities. A Midsummer Night's Dream, the freshman/sophomore show, is being held November 18-20; Lost Girl, which is the Winter production, will take place February 3-5; the Talent Show is February 24-26; and the musical Newsies will end LFHS’ 2021-2022 theater season April 28-30.
Thank you for everyone who donated during registration this year. If you are not on our donor list yet, we hope you will consider investing in educational excellence with us.
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