Friday, August 10, 2012

Knight Theater will await Diva a little longer

The Knight Theater will wait a few more months before it finally gets its finishing touch, but maybe a glimpse of what's in store will help tide us over.

When the theater opened in 2009, it was missing a big and important piece of equipment: an acoustical shell that could surround the stage during concerts, helping aim the sound toward the audience. The specifications for the building had called for one, but it fell victim to cost-cutting. That was a particular loss for the Charlotte Symphony, which forged ahead with concerts there even though it ended up sounding tinny.

Blumenthal Performing Arts, which runs the theater, decided a few months ago to shell out for a shell. It made a deal with the Wenger Corp., a Minnesota company that has specialized in them for decades. (If you've ever sung in your school choir or played in the band, a Wenger shell was probably around you.) 

The plan was to install the shell this summer. But Wenger needs more time, Blumenthal president Tom Gabbard said this week. The Knight is getting Wenger's Diva model, but with special touches: an all-wood finish and architectural elements to tie in with the railings on the theater's balconies. The customization is what's taking time. The new target is November. 

That will unfortunately be too late for the Charlotte Symphony's first KnightSounds program of the season, "The Power of Song."  The orchestra will really have something to sing about when the Diva finally debuts.