Part of the brand new $19M Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, the intimate 400-seat Beshore Performance Hall is highly adaptable, just like its new mixing desk
No, Joplin, Missouri wasn’t named for ragtime genius Scott Joplin, though even the city’s website acknowledges that common misconception. But JoMo, as some call it, still has plenty of musical heft to it, and it now has even more, with last November’s opening of the new $19-million, 37,000-square-foot Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex. Within lies the Beshore Performance Hall, an intimate but dynamic 400-seat indoor state-of-the-art proscenium theatre whose tiered seating can be converted into a flat floor configuration as needed. Most strikingly, the Hall includes a shared stage for both indoor and outdoor performances and has been designed to be as multifunctional as possible to accommodate and promote all types of activities, including concerts.
This May, the Hall was further updated with the arrival of a DiGiCo Quantum225 console for the venue’s front-of-house audio, installed by locally-based Total Electronics Contracting (TEC). Included in the package—which also features an L-Acoustics A Series concert sound system—are a pair of DiGiCo A168 16-input/8-output I/O expanders, used as stage boxes for the venue, which is also home to Connect2Culture, Joplin’s community arts agency and performing arts presenter, and George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, the region’s premier visual arts destination. Connect2Culture manages and operates the Beshore Performance Hall inside the Complex.
“There was originally another desk specified in the design of the venue by DLR Group, the architectural design lead on the entire Cornell Complex project, but once they looked at the specs of the Quantum225 console, they said, ‘Yes, please—we’ll take that one!’ in like three seconds,” recalls Hal Robertson, Connect2Culture’s Technical Director, as well as the Complex’s Facilities Director. Robertson says he was “pressed into service” for Connect2Culture’s first show with the Quantum225, the Grammy Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, after only a brief tutorial onsite by DiGiCo’s Dan Page. But, he says, the console felt instantly familiar, a reflection of its uniquely intuitive design and layout.
“The Beshore Performance Hall is highly flexible, from the seating to the stage, and the performances will be, too, so the console and the engineer have to be able adapt easily,” he says. “Right from the start, we saw that was the case. That first show was supposed to be outdoors, but rain moved it inside. We accommodated that change instantly. It’s such a user-friendly console that just happens to also sound great and gives us a clear upgrade path. And we’re an all-Dante house, so the A168 stage boxes are seamless for our signal path.”
Phillip Shurtleff, AV Project Manager for TEC, says the Quantum225 fit the feature list that his team and the client’s assembled during the planning stage. “The flexibility of the routing options—the ability to natively run Dante signal flows everywhere—was very important to everyone,” he explains. “That’s because the way the hall was envisioned, it would be a concert hall one night and a corporate AV-presentation space the next day. What was especially attractive to them was that all of that routing could be done internally in the console, without having to repatch cabling or pull up a Dante controller.”
In addition, they wanted to be able to configure the fader layout for a number scenarios. For instance, have it one way for an experienced user on a complex music performance, or set it up with just a few key faders for a volunteer to be able to run a simpler show. “That’s the kind of conversation you have to have with clients now,” says Shurtleff, “because every venue is a multi-purpose venue, so it’s great that there’s a multi-purpose console like the Q225 available. It fit every possible scenario they had envisioned perfectly.”
For more details on the Cornell Complex, Connect2Culture, and George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, visit cornellcomplex.org, connect2culture.org, and spivaarts.org. Total Electronics Contracting can be found online at totalelectronics.com.