Wenger Corporation

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  • October 24, 2018

Wenger and J.R. Clancy win Award with Lieto™ LED Fixture

First integrated lighting fixture for acoustical shells wins at LDI

LeitoOWATONNA, MINN. (Oct. 24, 2018) – Wenger Corporation’s Lieto, the first LED light fixture specifically designed for use in full-stage acoustical shells, won the Best Debuting Product in the Staging & Rigging category at the 30th annual LDI Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The award was one of six product honors distributed at LDI, North America’s largest tradeshow and conference for design and technology for live events.

Wenger Corporation introduced the patent-pending Lieto lighting product to the industry at LDI. With a 12,000-lumen output, Lieto allows for fewer light fixtures in an acoustical shell ceiling while providing consistent, bright light for the performers on stage. Unlike most traditional light fixtures used in acoustical shell ceilings, the Lieto LED fixture is silent, with no buzzing or detectable RFI. It has minimal heat output and no UV, which provides a comfortable environment for performers.

“Key features are the three-axis beam positioning and built-in knob which provide tool-free pan, tilt and rotation for quick and easy adjusting,” says Mark Ingalls, Performing Arts Acoustical Shell Product Manager at Wenger. “Lieto was designed to augment the Diva® and Maestro® full-stage acoustical shells, giving performers the best light for every show, exactly where they want it.”

The Lieto fixture complements Wenger and J.R. Clancy’s broad array of performance products in the acoustical, staging, rigging, lighting integration, and motion control categories. All Wenger Corporation performance products come with unparalleled service and support.

For more information, please visit www.wengercorp.com.

Contact:
Whitney Winkels, Marketing Communications Manager
whitney.winkels@wengercorp.com
+1.507.455.4100, ext. 8235

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  • October 18, 2018

Wenger Corporation: Performing Arts Solutions All In One Call

Addition of lighting integration complements existing suite of products

OWATONNA, MINN. (Oct. 18, 2018) – Wenger Corporation proudly introduces new innovations at LDI, providing a single stop for acoustical, lighting, staging, rigging and motion control solutions.

“Our capabilities support the broadest array of product solutions in the industry with limitless options, integrated solutions and unparalleled service and support,” says Chris Simpson, CEO of Wenger Corporation.

The latest innovation at Wenger and J.R. Clancy incorporates lighting integration partners and new solutions for lighting in performance spaces. Our premier lighting partners enable Wenger and J.R. Clancy to provide customers with unique lighting solutions in all performance spaces and categories.

“We’ve carefully selected these lighting and control equipment manufacturers to provide comprehensive lighting, control and networking solutions that work together seamlessly for easy installation, operation and control,” says Mike Murphy, General Manager of Performing Arts at Wenger Corporation.

To learn more and experience these solutions, visit Wenger and J.R. Clancy at booth #939 at LDI.

LietoLight Fixture
Introducing the Wenger Lieto, the first LED light fixture specifically designed for use in full-stage acoustical shells. With a 12,000-lumen output, Lieto allows for fewer light fixtures in the acoustical shell ceiling while providing consistent, bright light for the performers on stage. The Lieto fixture is silent, with no buzzing or detectable RFI. Lieto is comfortable with minimal heat output and no UV.

“Key features are the three-axis beam positioning and built-in knob which provide tool-free pan, tilt and rotation for quick and easy adjusting,” says Mark Ingalls, Performing Arts Segment Manager at Wenger. “Performers will have the best light for every performance, exactly where they want it.”

Lieto is now available for order with Wenger’s Diva® and Maestro® full-stage acoustical shells.

Helios Hoist
The new J.R. Clancy Helios Hoist is focused on facilities needing a compact, economical solution. Helios’ safety features include slack line and load sensing, and the compact drum allows for hoist-mounting on a single beam. The innovative drum and brake design offer a compact solution where space is a premium. Helios’ access panel and operations lights provide the latest diagnostic capabilities with ease of use serviceability.

SceneControl® 12 motion control system
The new SceneControl 12 motion control system is the latest addition to the SceneControl line. Its 12-inch touch screen feature, ergonomic design and portability allow operators to move around the stage and still view the equipment they’re moving overhead. SceneControl 12 can control up to 36 axes and includes a joystick for adjustable speed control.

SceneControl 12 is the latest model in the line. SceneControl 10, 12, 15, 24, and 24+ now come with enhanced features, including:

  • An Advanced Emergency Stop System
  • Load Sensing System
  • Management Capabilities
  • Multiple-User Logins

Diva® Full-Stage Acoustical Shell
Exceptional acoustics, beautiful aesthetics, and engineering expertise all combine to make Diva Acoustical Shells a centerpiece for any performing arts stage. Diva’s stunning acoustic capabilities create optimum on-stage sound and excellent sound projection to the audience.

StageTek® Staging
The refined, smart design of StageTek makes this staging system lighter, stronger, easier to handle, and faster to set up than traditional staging. StageTek’s interchangeable components combined with a wide variety of sizes, shapes and surface options provide unlimited configuration possibilities for venues of all sizes.

Wenger | J.R. Clancy’s Performance Solutions at LDI
Stop by Wenger | J.R. Clancy booth #939 on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20 from 11am – 6pm or Sunday, Oct. 21 from 10am – 3pm to see how Wenger and J.R. Clancy are providing whole-project solutions for performance space needs. Learn more at wengercorp.com.

Contact:
Whitney Winkels, Marketing Communications Manager
whitney.winkels@wengercorp.com
+1.507.455.4100, ext. 8235

About Wenger Corporation
Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include: theatrical rigging systems; acoustical shells and treatment; acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms; fixed and portable audience seating; and portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes: music posture chairs; music stands; conductor’s equipment; and a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

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  • October 9, 2018

Wenger Corporation Completes Massive Custom Acoustical Shell Installation at Canada’s NAC

Ottawa’s National Arts Centre work includes extensive J.R. Clancy rigging

OWATONNA (Oct. 9, 2018) – Wenger Corporation announces the installation of its largest, most complex acoustical shell at Southam Hall in Ottawa’s National Arts Centre (NAC), Canada’s home to top theater, dance, orchestra and other performing arts organizations across the country.

Wenger NAC Orchestra ShellThe new shell and J.R. Clancy rigging system are part of a massive $225.4 million renovation to multiple areas of the NAC and has been in the works for several years.

Orchestra Shell
The shining star of the project is the beautiful orchestra shell in the NAC’s largest venue, the 2,000-seat Southam Hall. The shell will dramatically improve the acoustics, enable the music to better carry to the audience, improve the clarity of the sound, and help the orchestra and visiting artists hear each other on stage more clearly. The shell will also further refresh Southam Hall’s appearance. The venue underwent extensive renovations in the summer of 2016 that included new flooring, seating and improved accessibility.

The connection that the orchestra will feel with the audience and vice versa will be taken to a new level,” explains Robin Glosemeyer Petrone, Principal at Threshold Acoustics. “We’re moving the orchestra into the room literally and acoustically. These enhancements will make this an extraordinary experience that neither the orchestra nor the audience has had before.”

Wenger NAC Orchestra ShellThe shell involved more than 18 months of collaboration between Diamond Schmitt Architects, Fisher Dachs Associates, Threshold Acoustics, Wenger and J.R. Clancy.

There are four main components:

  • 11 onstage towers that can all be moved anywhere on stage and set up for the orchestra
  • Three onstage reflectors that are 10 feet long and 57 feet wide
  • One 23 x 62-foot forestage ceiling reflector stored overhead
  • Eight forestage towers ranging from 34 to 52 feet tall

Threshold moved the orchestra further into the room and asked Wenger to create a giant reflector that would extend over the space. The reflector makes the sound more immediate for the audience.

“We spent several days in our Minnesota manufacturing facility with the design team to make sure we agreed on the design concept, and made mock ups for them to review,” explains Mark Ingalls, Performing Arts Segment Manager at Wenger. “They were amazed that we could design and manufacture these complicated mock ups in such a short period of time. We continued to tweak and improve the custom design until we knew everything was right. The final product was a one-of-a-kind shell that exceeded all expectations.”

“The factory visit by the entire design team and owner was a wonderful experience to be able to test many of the assumptions that were made about new approaches to the pivot walls, to the way the finishes were created for the towers,” says Peter Rosenbaum, Associate Principal at Fischer Dachs Associates and designer who has worked on the overall renovation since the beginning. “The hands-on session with the engineers ensured the success of the shell and the tight timeline we faced.”

Making it Move
Wenger Corporation provided Design Assist with Fisher Dachs Associates to ensure the extensive rigging needs to move the shell into performance and storage position were met. The team from J.R. Clancy designed, manufactured and installed the rigging for the massive reflectors, speakers, and scenic elements such as the house curtain. One aspect of the rigging system includes two line shaft hoists suspending the forestage reflector, which have a capacity of 20,000 pounds each. They fly the reflector from a vertical storage position into the play position with minimal effort and manpower required.

“These are large, unique, entirely automated components that we’re able to customize, test and install for venues like the National Arts Centre that have a variety of performance needs,” explains Mike Murphy, General Manager of Performing Arts at Wenger Corporation. “Our focus is always on safety, and the rigging systems for the NAC are designed to safely accommodate the requirements of the orchestra shell and easily transition the shell into storage position when not in use.”

Install, listen and learn
Acousticians are now testing the shell with a live audience in order to tune it for the best possible sound.

“We’ll listen to them while they rehearse and let them find their way into the space,” says Scott Pfeiffer, Principal at Threshold. “Now that the reflective surfaces are in place, they’ll probably change some of their techniques depending on what they hear from the shell and how they hear each other.”

NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley is excited for audiences to hear the difference in the improvements.

“My firm belief is that these changes will mirror the stunning achievements made in other parts of the building thus far, creating a radically improved environment while complementing the founding vision, bringing our audiences world class performances in a world class setting,” Shelley says.

“Wenger Corporation is honored to be part of such an extensive renovation, especially in Canada’s capital,” says Jeff Jollay, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Wenger Corporation. “This project continues to reinforce our company’s innovative designs and capabilities for custom projects.”

For more information about Wenger and J.R. Clancy, please visit www.wengercorp.com and for more information about the National Arts Centre, please visit https://nac-cna.ca/en.

About Wenger Corporation
Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include: theatrical rigging systems; acoustical shells and treatment; acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms; fixed and portable audience seating; and portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes: music posture chairs; music stands; conductor’s equipment; and a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com

  • October 3, 2018

Wenger Corp. Completes Huge Locker Room Install at U of M

New custom team lockers at the University of Minnesota are unequaled in the Big 10

MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 3, 2018) – Wenger Corporation announces the installation of new GearBoss customized lockers for both men’s and women’s sports throughout the Minnesota athletics department, including new Athletes Village locker rooms housing football, and men’s and women’s basketball.

“There’s a wow factor in these locker rooms and it’s deliberate,” says Associate Athletic Director Scott Ellison. “They’re a great way to recruit students to consider playing at the University of Minnesota and let them know how much their presence means to the school.”

“This was a huge and complex project for us,” says Mike Mills, Athletic Sales Manager. “We’re excited to showcase the latest technology and style throughout the campus. Our products save time, space and effort. They’re durable, flexible and customizable, offering more solutions than any other brand on the market.”

Above all, the lockers have to serve the student-athletes’ needs, which is why GearBoss customizes each locker room per sport. Efficient locker design maximizes space usage for extra-large shoulder pads, bats, cleats, sticks, skates or whatever equipment the sport requires. An interior lockable cubby provides security, as well as USB ports for personal electronics.

On the sanitation side, ventilation ducts are integrated into each locker, and are tied into the locker room’s main HVAC system to accelerate the equipment-drying process and clear out odors. Antimicrobial surfaces help prevent bacteria and viruses from penetrating into the wood, reducing the spread of germs.

The wow factor comes in the design. For example, the 4,200 square-foot football locker room is set on a radiused layout with both concave and convex curves affecting all 123 lockers. Nameplates are backlit and LED light strips within the lockers provide better visibility. Solid surface pocket doors tuck back out of the way and feature a hole-punched cityscape that extends to the back of the room. Machine raised University of Minnesota Block Ms line the metal footlockers and a massive maroon Block M spans the entire ceiling, surrounded by a bright gold ring of light, illuminating the room.

In keeping with the high tech theme, the lights can be dimmed, raised or accented a number of ways. Sophisticated sound systems let coaches make announcements or enable the student-athletes to play their favorite motivational music.

Locker rooms designed by the GearBoss team include football, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, volleyball, baseball, and women’s soccer. There are also dry stall locker rooms where student-athletes leave their street clothes, and coaches’ locker rooms, all of which are custom built by Wenger Corporation.

“What impressed us most was the quality of workmanship and the customer service Wenger provided,” Ellison says. Working with a Minnesota company was a priority for the University. “They listened to what we wanted and made adjustments to make sure we were happy with them.”

To learn more about Wenger and GearBoss products with customizable options, please visit http://www.gearboss.com.

Contact:
Stacy Hanson, Director of Marketing Communications
Stacy.Hanson@wengercorp.com
+1.507.774.8318

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, JR Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, and portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment and a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • August 20, 2018

New Team Emerges in J.R. Clancy’s Motion Controls Department

30-year industry veteran leading technically advanced team

Dale HourllandOWATONNA, MN (August 20, 2018) – Wenger Corporation recently named Dale Hourlland Controls Engineering Manager for J.R. Clancy. Hourlland now leads the eight-person Controls team, which has over 100 years of combined theatre, technical and controls experience. Together, this team has completed dozens of projects from New York to Hong Kong.

Hourlland has been with J.R. Clancy since 2011, helping to build the Controls team and assist with the development and advancement of motion control systems. He was instrumental in the recent launch of the SceneControl®12, the newest addition to J.R. Clancy’s motion control offerings. As the Controls Engineering Manager, he will continue his work to develop the J.R. Clancy motion control systems and will remain an active resource for customers, specifiers, consultants and end users for SceneControl® systems and technology integration.

Prior to J.R. Clancy, Hourlland was Technical Director for the Weis Center for the Performing Arts and the Director of Performance Services at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Those roles introduced him to J.R. Clancy. During his time at Bucknell, Hourlland became a contract Controls Engineer for J.R. Clancy and was afforded the opportunity to train at J.R. Clancy headquarters in Syracuse, New York.

“After seven years at J.R. Clancy as a Controls Engineer, I am enjoying this new role to establish my team and am looking forward to what’s next in motion controls systems for our industry,” Hourlland says. “This team established numerous industry standards throughout the years and paved a path for future development. My expectations moving forward are to continue the legacy of the department and provide cutting-edge technology and exceptional service.”

Hourlland holds a BFA in Theatrical Design and Production from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Theatre Arts from The Pennsylvania State University. He has over thirty years of design and technical experience with lighting, audio, rigging, and staging that spans many segments of the entertainment industry including industrials, performing arts, legitimate theatre, rock and roll, and even the occasional circus.

Contact:
Whitney Winkels, Marketing Communications Manager
whitney.winkels@wengercorp.com
+1 (507) 455-4100 Ext. 8235

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment, a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • July 19, 2018

Wenger’s Dan Culhane named USITT President

New USITT President replaces long-time colleague

Dan CulhaneOWATONNA, MN (July 19, 2018) – Wenger Corporation and J.R. Clancy’s Dan Culhane has been appointed to the role of President of USITT, effective immediately. USITT promotes dialogue, research, and learning among practitioners, educators, and students of theatre design and technology. Culhane replaces outgoing president Mark Shanda, a long-time colleague and friend.

“We are thrilled to have Dan’s decades of expertise and commitment in performing arts to help guide us through the next three years,” says USITT’s Past President, Mark Shanda.

Culhane has 31 years’ experience in the theater and production realm and has worked as Senior Mechanical Engineer for J.R. Clancy since 2016. Prior to that, he spent 16 years at SECOA as the Engineering Manager and Technical Business Development Manager. In both roles, he has converted architectural drawings and consultant’s specifications into manufacturing drawings and facilitated the design of specific solutions for a variety of venues.

He spent 15 years as a technical director working for theaters across the country including the Guthrie Theater and the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, as well as StageWest in Springfield, Mass., and the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.

He serves on the ESTA Technical Standards Program, where he is co-chair of the Stage Machinery Working Group and is also a member of the Rigging Working Group. He is a member of the UL Standards Technical Panel for Fire Doors (STP 10) and serves as an alternate committee member to the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Doors and Windows (NFPA 80).

Culhane has spent the past year shadowing outgoing president Mark Shanda, who is a 35-year colleague and friend. They were graduate students together at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and became involved in USITT together, forming a professional bond in addition to their friendship.

“As I start my presidency, I am thankful for USITT’s strong base of support,” Culhane says. “The success of our annual Conference and Stage Expo affords us the opportunity to expand into areas that were not possible just five years ago. I hope to build upon Mark’s solid foundation of fundraising, which will provide additional stability to our finances and allow for continued year-round education, training opportunities, and expanded research grants.”

Culhane plans to continue to improve USITT’s conference programming for all skill levels. He’s an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion and encourages members to strive to attract and train a new and broader generation of theater professionals. He hopes to work more with high schools to develop talent and expand the scope of USITT’s outreach. Finally, Culhane hopes to expand the organization’s knowledge, research and outreach regarding event safety.

For more information about USITT, please visit http://www.usitt.org.

Contact:
Whitney Winkels, Marketing Communications Manager
whitney.winkels@wengercorp.com
+1 (507) 455-4100 Ext. 8235

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment, a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • March 15, 2018

Wenger and J.R. Clancy Shape the Stage at USITT

Leader in performing arts debuts new innovations

OWATONNA, MN (Mar. 15, 2018) – Wenger Corporation and J.R. Clancy proudly introduce new innovations at USITT, and continue to lead the performing arts market with unsurpassed products and services. The new J.R. Clancy Helios Hoist is focused on facilities needing a compact, economical solution, and SceneControl 12 is the newest addition to J.R. Clancy’s motion control offerings providing unsurpassed portability for stage managers. Wenger also features its Virtuoso Acoustical Shell and the enhanced Maestro Full-Stage Acoustical Shell, which further enhance the company’s robust line of acoustic originals.

“One call provides our customers limitless options, unsurpassed customization and integrated solutions,” says Chris Simpson, CEO of Wenger Corporation. “As a leader in performing arts, our capabilities support the broadest array of product solutions in the industry.”

Wenger and J.R. Clancy offer multiple product categories including passive and active acoustics, rigging, staging and platforms, motion control systems and audience seating. To learn more about the industry’s most comprehensive array of solutions, visit Wenger and J.R. Clancy at booths #1825 and #1925 at USITT.

Helios Hoist

Introducing the latest innovation in the J.R. Clancy line of hoists, the Helios. Helios is ideal for venues looking for a compact, economical solution. It’s easy to install and provides structural support for buildings that can’t support lateral loads. Safety features include slack line detection and load sensing capabilities. The patent pending, compact drum design allows for mounting the hoist on a single beam.

“As a standard hoist, Helios complements our existing PowerLift® and Titan® automated hoists perfectly, providing several solutions to cater to any theatre’s needs,” says Patrick Finn, Performing Arts Product Manager.

SceneControl® 12 motion control system

The new SceneControl 12 motion control system offers a state-of-the art ergonomic design and portability to allow operators to move around the stage and still view the equipment they’re moving overhead. SceneControl 12 can control up to 36 axes and includes a joystick for adjustable speed control.

“The key to this technology is the ability to customize the interface,” explains Finn. “It enables multiple users to each have their own settings, allowing more or less access depending on the user’s level of experience.”

SceneControl 12 is the latest model in the line. SceneControl 10, 12, 15, 24, and 24+ now come with enhanced features, including:

  • An Advanced Emergency Stop System. E-stop does not require a human interaction to stop the hoists. E-stop comes with two data communication lines: if one fails, the hoist stops moving.
  • Load Sensing System. Includes a load learning system to identify the expected loads throughout the full travel of the set. If it exceeds the set capacity or hits something in its path, it will enter a fault state.
  • Management Capabilities. The user can program limits to the number of hoists being used based on available power. A dynamic interface reveals buttons that change colors based on status or location, or appear/disappear to help guide users through the system.
  • Multiple-User Logins. Each user can open a specific interface. Certain functions are disabled, hidden or changed based on the experience of the user and pre-programmed information.

Virtuoso Acoustical Shell

Virtuoso creates a virtual experience with an active system of microphones, speakers and digital signal processors to transform the acoustics on stage. It envelops the musicians, enabling them to hear themselves and other members of the ensemble more clearly, which ultimately leads to better performances.

Virtuoso provides the perfect solution for facilities where there is limited storage space, a ceiling that can’t support a hanging structure or a lack of resources to set up and remove a shell on stage.

Wenger has partnered with HARMAN and Lexicon to incorporate the most advanced digital technology into the virtual shell. Virtuoso can either stand alone to improve the sound on stage, or be paired with Transcend® Active Acoustic System to create a full-venue solution for optimal acoustics from the stage through the back of the house.

Create dynamic and clear acoustics on stage with virtual technology to bring out the best in your performers.

Maestro® Full-Stage Acoustical Shell

The Maestro Full-Stage Acoustical Shell delivers impressive full-stage acoustics, while creating live entertainment environments for performances at an affordable price. Maestro has been redesigned with construction and design improvements, providing a standardized, cost-effective solution for performance spaces requiring aesthetic and acoustical enhancements.

It features mobile towers and rows of ceiling panels that form a full stage acoustic enclosure when placed together on stage. It can be easily configured to accommodate groups of varying sizes. Maestro’s counterweighted wall towers ensure stability and safety. And the design saves space, since the individual towers nest together when not in use.

The Maestro line comes in a variety of configurations, offering an economical solution to complement the highly customizable Diva® Full-Stage Acoustical Shell.

Wenger | J.R. Clancy’s Sound and Stage Solutions at USITT

Stop by Wenger and JR Clancy at booths #1825 and #1925 March 15-17 to see how they are redefining performance. Learn more at wengercorp.com.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment, a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • January 23, 2018

Wenger Corporation Enhances Performing Arts Organization

Owatonna, Minn. - To continue to serve the unique needs of the Performing Arts market, Wenger | J.R. Clancy today announced the addition of Edward Kaye as a Performing Arts Specialist.

Kaye, a nationally recognized leader in the fields of lighting design and theatre planning, has provided design and consultation services for more than 200 projects. As a Performing Arts Specialist, Kaye will work directly with his assigned consultant partners to increase their knowledge of the integrated solutions available through the J.R.Clancy and Wenger brands, and to help make their projects as successful as possible.

"Edward's expertise in combining theatrical and architectural lighting treatments and working with a wide variety of clients enhances Wenger and J.R. Clancy's commitment to the Performing Arts marketplace," states Chris Madigan, vice president of sales, Wenger Corporation.

Kaye's work has received awards from the American Institute of Architects, the Themed Entertainment Association, Casino Executive Magazine, and Philips Lighting. He was selected the Themed Lighting Designer of the Year by Lighting Dimensions Magazine for his work on the SpaceQuest Casino Project at the Las Vegas Hilton. He also served three terms on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Theatre Consultants.

Kaye earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Yale School of Drama in New Haven, Connecticut, after completing his undergraduate studies at California State University. Prior to the formation of JK Design Group he was a Project Consultant at George Thomas Howard Associates of Hollywood, California.

"Adding Edward to the team allows us to continue to execute our Performing Arts strategy, and a key tenant of that strategy is to serve the consultant community better than anyone else in the industry," adds Mike Murphy, General Manager Performing Arts, Wenger Corporation.

The addition of Kaye continues to build on the momentum in the Performing Arts segment that is distinguishing Wenger | J.R. Clancy as a leader in this industry.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment, a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • November 9, 2017

Wenger and J.R. Clancy present technology triple play at LDI

Leader in performing arts capabilities announces new innovations

OWATONNA, MN (Nov. 9, 2017) – Wenger Corporation and J.R. Clancy continue to lead the performing arts segment with unsurpassed products and services. The new Virtuoso Active Acoustical Shell and the enhanced Maestro® Full-Stage Shell, along with the recently launched Transcend Active Acoustic System, further complement the company’s capabilities in performing arts with new acoustic innovations.

“We’re always developing new, unique solutions,” says Chris Simpson, CEO of Wenger Corporation. “Our creativity of engineering enables us to expand our broad offering of products and services while including more options for customization to serve virtually any facility’s needs.”

Wenger and J.R. Clancy offer multiple product categories including traditional and virtual acoustics, staging, pit fillers, audience seating, motion control systems and rigging. To learn more about the industry’s most comprehensive array of solutions, visit booth #1637 at LDI to learn about Wenger and J.R. Clancy’s capabilities.

Virtuoso Acoustical Shell

Virtuoso provides the perfect solution for facilities where there is limited storage space, a ceiling that can’t support a hanging structure or a lack of resources to set up and remove a shell on stage.

Virtuoso creates a virtual experience with an active system of microphones, speakers and digital signal processors to transform the acoustics on stage. It envelops the musicians, enabling them to hear themselves and other members of the ensemble more clearly, which ultimately leads to better performances.

Wenger has partnered with HARMAN and Lexicon to incorporate the most advanced digital technology into the virtual shell. Virtuoso can either stand alone to improve the sound on stage, or be paired with Transcend Active Acoustic System to create a full-venue solution for optimal acoustics from the stage through the back of the house.

Create dynamic and clear acoustics on stage with virtual technology to bring out the best in your performers.

Maestro Acoustical Shell

The Maestro Acoustical Shell delivers impressive full-stage acoustics, while creating live entertainment environments for performances at an affordable price. Maestro is packed with features, conveniences and performance aesthetics.

Maestro has been redesigned with construction and design improvements, providing a cost-effective solution for any performance space requiring an acoustical enhancement. It features mobile towers and rows of ceiling panels that form a full stage acoustic enclosure when placed together on stage. A separate wheeled mover easily lifts and moves the towers.

It can be easily configured to accommodate groups of varying sizes. Maestro’s counterweighted wall towers ensure stability and safety. And the design saves space, since the individual towers nest together when not in use.

The Maestro line comes in a variety of configurations, offering an economical solution to complement the highly customizable Diva® Full-Stage Acoustical Shell.

Transcend Active Acoustic System

Wenger’s Transcend Active Acoustic System gives facility managers the ability to enhance acoustic environments in virtually any space: performing arts centers, auditoriums, theatres, opera houses, and worship spaces.

Developed using HARMAN’s Lexicon active acoustic technology, the Transcend system offers a high-performance, affordable solution for acoustical flexibility. Transcend will truly transform your space into a multi-functional venue by allowing you to simulate the acoustics of many different performance spaces.

Transcend’s active acoustics algorithm results in a system that requires fewer microphones and speakers to provide a more reliable and stable system. This allows for streamlined, lower-cost installations than other systems on the market, and the best possible acoustic experience for any seat in the house.

Wenger | J.R. Clancy’s Sound and Stage Solutions at LDI

Stop by Wenger | J.R. Clancy booth #1637 on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18 from 11am – 6pm or Sunday, Nov. 19 from 10am – 3pm to see how Wenger and J.R. Clancy are redefining performance. Learn more at wengercorp.com.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment, a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • September 18, 2017

Wenger announces new Maestro® Acoustical Shell

Improved design, durability and storage options

OWATONNA, MN (Sept. 18, 2017) – Wenger Corporation, the leader in acoustic solutions for rehearsal and performance spaces, proudly presents the new and improved Maestro® full-stage acoustical shell. Maestro delivers impressive full-stage acoustics, while creating live entertainment environments for performances at an affordable price.

The Maestro line has gone through significant construction and design improvements, making it a superior yet cost-effective solution for any performance space requiring an acoustical enhancement.

“We redesigned the Maestro from top to bottom, so that high schools and other modest performance venues could acquire an exceptional yet simple, affordable solution,” says Mark Ingalls, Wenger, product manager for the Performing Arts. “We’ve been making acoustical shells for 60 years and Maestro, previously offered under the SECOA name, is now as innovative, functional and durable as our other offerings.”

Maestro Acoustical Shells are packed with features, conveniences and performance aesthetics. They feature mobile towers and rows of ceiling panels that form a full stage acoustic enclosure when placed together on stage. A separate wheeled mover easily lifts and moves the towers.

Maestro can be easily configured to accommodate groups of varying sizes and takes only three people to set up. It’s more stable than ever, with counterweighted wall towers to ensure superior stability and safety. And the design saves space, since the individual towers nest together when not in use.

The Maestro line comes in a variety of configurations, offering a low cost solution to complement the highly customizable Diva Full-Stage Acoustical Shell. Finishes available include a low pressure laminate with black painted aluminum panel edges; a hardwood veneer stained and finished to match space requirements; and a painted panel finish ready for a show.

Maestro Acoustical Shells are currently available for order with installations beginning in early 2018.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts venues and athletic programs. Our products include the Wenger, JR Clancy and GearBoss brands of equipment. Products include; theatrical rigging systems, acoustical shells and treatment, acoustical doors and sound-isolating practice rooms, fixed and portable audience seating, and portable and mobile staging systems. Our furniture line includes music posture chairs, music stands, conductor’s equipment and a full line of high-density and portable storage solutions for instruments, garments, sheet music and media equipment. We also offer a complete line of athletic lockers, equipment storage and transport products. For more information call +1.507.455.4100 or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • June 6, 2017

ORCHESTRATING SUCCESS

OWATONNA-BASED WENGER STRIVES TO HIT ALL THE RIGHT NOTES

There's a song in the air for the music products industry, and one Owatonna company in particular.

After dropping from annual sales of $7 billion in 2008 to a low of 5.8 billion in 2009, the industry, which includes everything from instruments to sound systems to rehearsal chairs, has consistently hit more than $7 billion in sales annually since 2014, according to statista.com.

The Owatonna- based Wenger Corporation gets a piece of that pie, some years a bigger slice than others. "The cycle trends are clear," said Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger. "What's not always so clear is how much funding educational institutions will have year to year to spend on their music programs." Wenger primarily serves the music education market, manufacturing a vast array of products ranging from acoustical shells to music stands to stages and choral risers. There is a cyclical demand for these products that follows concert season, graduations and the annual school calendar.

"Many schools prefer to receive new products over the summer months, so Wenger sees an increase in manufacturing and shipments June through August. For concerts in the fall, winter and spring, we see increased demand for our choral risers and acoustical shells," Simpson said. "For graduation, we experience greater demand for portable and mobile staging products. Wenger will often off er purchasing incentives for those products during peak times." Though the cycles are well-defi ned, sales fi gures fl uctuate based on budgets for the company's main customers.

"Education funding for school music programs is defi nitely a factor," Simpson said. "When those budgets are cut, it has an impact." That's why Wenger takes a collaborative approach in trying to orchestrate a successful bottom line, as well as keep to its roots: the belief that music is vital to a wellrounded education.

"Wenger partners with organizations in the industry such as Music For All to support music advocacy eff orts," says Simpson. "Music for All's advocacy programs and resources are key elements in our vision to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to active music-making in his or her scholastic environment.” Simpson also credits Wenger's forward-looking vision as keys to its seven-decade success.

"Ongoing innovation is how we've continued to grow," he says. "Wenger prides itself on being immersed in the market, listening to customers and designing and developing products to meet the needs of our customers." Because the fate of school music education programs is very much reliant on state and federal funding, which can fl uctuate, Wenger has had to make adjustments.

"Music education programming is growing and changing. We still serve traditional band, orchestra and choral programs and manufacture equipment used in the rehearsal and performance of these types of music, but as music programs expand and change, Wenger's product line has adapted as well,” Simpson said. “One example is the modifi cation of our Instrument Storage Cabinets and Stringed Instrument Racks that now accommodate a variety of Mariachi instruments. Our stereo cabinets of the past are now multimedia cabinets designed to hold rackmounted components and digital tools used by educators. In addition to our traditional music stands that hold printed scores, we now off er iPad stands."

Part of that innovation also came in growing its product line beyond the school music department into the athletic department. Wenger now off ers a full line of athletic team lockers and specialized storage and transport solutions for athletic gear.

In recent years, Wenger's biggest emphasis has been in the performing arts market. To broaden its capabilities and product off ering, Wenger purchased theatrical rigging manufacturer and installer J.R. Clancy Inc. of Syracuse, N.Y., in 2011, and added performance space specialists SECOA Inc. of Champlin in 2016. The combined strength of these companies enables them to outfi t all types of performing arts facilities with a full range of innovative products and solutions that benefi t audiences, artists and back-of-house professionals alike. To remain at the forefront of technology, Wenger has also partnered with leading companies like sound equipment manufacturer HARMAN, with whom Wenger has developed computerized acoustic systems to improve the audio quality of virtually any performance space.

Though Wenger is a global company, Simpson says it is proud to call Owatonna home. The company and the related Wenger Foundation both support music education and the performing arts in the region, such as through the Henry Wenger Marching Band Festival, which brings in thousands of visitors to the county each summer. The Wenger Foundation sponsors an annual visit of Owatonna fourth graders to Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and supports such local arts organizations as the Owatonna Arts Center and the Little Theatre of Owatonna, as well as other nonprofi t organizations across Minnesota and the United States.

As a privately held company, the Wenger Corporation does not disclose sales, but today it employs more than 500 team members across a variety of functions and off ers nearly 600 products worldwide.

Read the original article in FORGE here
  • March 24, 2017

Wenger Corporation Creates New Performing Arts Specialist Group

To our friends in the industry,

Wenger Corporation continues to build on the tradition of the Wenger and J.R. Clancy brands in performing arts by investing in our products, our services and our team members. After speaking with many of you, we have evaluated our momentum and initiatives and are pleased to announce our new Performing Arts Specialist Group. This group is dedicated to providing budgeting and technical collaboration for our consultant partners, and improving our role as an integrating manufacturer.

Our Performing Arts Specialist Group consists of three industry veterans with more than 80 years of combined experience. As General Manager of Performing Arts, I will be the lead for this new group and am pleased to have Damon Atwood and Jeff Jones join me.

Damon Atwood brings vast technical experience and expertise to the role of Performing Arts Specialist. Prior to joining Wenger as Technical Sales Manager in 2015, he worked in numerous roles throughout the industry including rigging installer, technical director, engineer, sales representative and strategic consultant.

Jeff Jones joined Wenger Corporation in 2016 as a Performing Arts Specialist following the corporation's acquisition of SECOA. Jeff will continue his long tradition of industry expertise and service in this new role and utilize his 30-year career at SECOA in project management, sales, marketing and business development. Jeff's long-standing industry relationships and his innate ability to communicate easily have earned him a valued reputation.

Our focus does not stop with our Performing Arts Specialist Group. I am also pleased to announce that Jim Crooks has joined Wenger Corporation as our Lighting Solutions Integrator. Jim brings extensive experience in entertainment lighting, energy management and code compliance. He has worked in the performing arts industry for several lighting companies and J.R. Clancy. In this role Jim will report to Mark Ingalls, Performing Arts Segment Manager.

Wenger Corporation proudly offers the broadest portfolio of products and services in the performing arts market. This new team will help ensure our clients' and partners' future success and strengthen our collaborative role with consultants. We understand the importance of continually adapting to ever-changing market dynamics and are dedicated to providing an enhanced one-on-one experience.

Please contact me or a member of our Performing Arts Specialist Group with any questions. We look forward to working with you in the future and thank you for your continued input and support.

Sincerely,

Mike Murphy
General Manager of Performing Arts

Performing Arts Specialist Group
  • January 1, 2017

Higher Stakes: Safe rigging for arenas

Originally published in Facilities Manager in the January/February edition authored by Patrick Finn

  • November 15, 2016

Wenger Corporation Announces Acquisition of SECOA, Inc.

Expands Product and Service Offering in Performing Arts Market

Owatonna, MN – Wenger Corporation of Owatonna, MN, a global provider serving the performing arts, music education, and athletic segments, announces that it has acquired the assets of SECOA, Inc. of Champlin, MN. Wenger, and its subsidiary J.R. Clancy, already provide a superior value proposition featuring the broadest array of quality solutions for the performing arts industry.

“Our strategy is focused on providing superior customer solutions and driving growth in each of our market segments,” states Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger Corporation. “The addition of SECOA builds on the momentum we are driving with the J.R. Clancy and Wenger brands to offer the most comprehensive integrated project solutions in the performing arts market. This acquisition further complements our integrating manufacturing model by bringing on board some of the key talent who have executed a similar model very successfully over the years at SECOA,” adds Simpson.

This transaction marks another milestone in Wenger and J.R. Clancy’s commitment to provide the most complete solutions of innovative custom products, project management, superior installation, and aftermarket services in performing arts.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides high-quality products and services for performing arts, music education and athletic facilities. Wenger and J.R. Clancy together create innovative solutions for performing arts venues and educational facilities across the globe with acoustic, stage engineering, seating and storage solutions. For more information, call 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • October 25, 2016

Acoustical, Rigging Enhancements at Brevard Music Center

Owatonna, Minn. – October 25, 2016 – The 80th anniversary season of the Brevard Music Center (BMC) in North Carolina this past summer marked the debut of a new Wenger acoustical shell and J.R. Clancy rigging equipment in the 1,800-seat, open-air Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium (WPA).

“We needed the acoustics of our performance space to support our standing as one of the country's premier music training programs and festivals,” says Andrea Boccanfuso, BMC’s Director of Production. “The Diva shell’s acoustical impact is unbelievable! It’s like stepping into another world – you can feel the music as never before.”

The WPA’s semi-outdoor design necessitated aircraft-cable tethers between the 10 Diva shell towers, each 24’ tall, and WPA’s overhead structure as a precaution against strong winds. Six rows of 6’ x 16’ Diva tower panel assemblies are permanently mounted on each forestage side wall, extending the shell into the audience area. Above the stage are five removable ceiling rows, each designed with short, custom hanger arms to better fit into the limited fly space. The forestage area also features four 6’ x 45’-6” dead-hung ‘eyebrow’ ceiling rows. The acoustical consultant on the project was Paul Scarbrough with Akustiks.

This historical venue presented numerous challenges, including the fact that it was not designed to support motorized rigging. Structural engineers from SKA Consulting Engineers, Inc. reinforced the roof joists, which were only six feet above the top of the proscenium.

In this short space, J.R. Clancy installed 23 line sets, including 10 with custom low-profile PowerLine Hoists. The remaining 13 line sets consist of 11 dead-hung tracks and two dead-hung battens. J.R. Clancy also supplied the drapery from Rose Brand. The theatrical consultant was Jason Prichard with Theatre Consultants Collaborative; the architect for the project was Parker Platt and the project manager was Rhett Pace, both of Platt Management Group. Mainstage Theatrical Supply provided the performance lighting system.

Boccanfuso praised the entire project team and the combined work of Wenger and J.R. Clancy throughout the project, particularly Ryan Cole and Patrick Finn of J.R. Clancy. She appreciated having only one point of contact for the shell and rigging. “I’ve seen many installations where teams end up pointing fingers at each other,” Boccanfuso recalls. “With one company, everything is just handled.”

Brevard Music Center

(Photo courtesy of Platt Architecture, PA.)

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides high-quality products and solutions for performing arts, music education and athletic facilities. Wenger and J.R. Clancy together create innovative products and services for performing arts facilities across the globe with acoustic, stage engineering, seating and storage solutions. Wenger also serves the athletic market by offering GearBoss® equipment storage and transport products.

For 70 years Wenger has been listening to our customers’ needs and designing and manufacturing smart, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Founded in 1885, J.R. Clancy designs and manufactures high-quality rigging and theatrical equipment. For more information call 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • October 17, 2016

Wenger & J.R. Clancy Launch “Creativity of Engineering” Branding at LDI

Owatonna, Minn. - Oct. 17, 2016 - Wenger Corporation and J.R. Clancy will unveil the U.S. launch of their new branding campaign – The Creativity of Engineering – at the Live Design International (LDI) trade show and conference in Las Vegas this week.

The campaign’s theme and messaging will be carried throughout new trade show booth graphics, signage and sales materials, all emphasizing six key capabilities of the combined companies: Stage Engineering, Staging, Acoustics, Control Automation, Audience Seating and Custom Capabilities.

“Wenger and J.R. Clancy have been enhancing performances across the world for decades,” says Mike Murphy, General Manager of Wenger Corporation’s Performing Arts market segment and President of J.R. Clancy. “Our new branding campaign showcases how we leverage our creative engineering skills in close collaboration with our industry partners.”

Murphy adds that Wenger and J.R. Clancy are committed to developing innovative solutions for all types of performance spaces, enabling artists and back-of-house professionals to perform at their best while providing unforgettable experiences for audiences.

At LDI, Wenger and J.R. Clancy will be exhibiting in a joint booth (#1937/#1941).

Creativity of Engineering

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides high-quality products and solutions for performing arts, music education and athletic facilities. Wenger and J.R. Clancy together create innovative products and services for performing arts facilities across the globe with acoustic, stage engineering, seating and storage solutions. Wenger also serves the athletic market by offering GearBoss® equipment storage and transport products.

For 70 years Wenger has been listening to our customers’ needs and designing and manufacturing smart, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Founded in 1885, J.R. Clancy designs and manufactures high-quality rigging and theatrical equipment. For more information call 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • June 27, 2016

Wenger and Lexicon to Highlight Active Acoustics at IAVM’s VenueConnect Show

Originally published by Front of House Online

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — The International Association of Venue Managers’ VenueConnect show is coming to Minneapolis July 23-26, 2016. There, attendees who visit the Wenger/J.R. Clancy booth (#323) will be able to hear about the transformation that active acoustics technology made to Neumann Auditorium at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa (pictured here).

More details from Wenger (www.wengercorp.com):

How can performing venues stretch their acoustic potential, to better host a variety of events? Attendees to the International Association of Venue Managers’ VenueConnect show in Minneapolis, Minnesota (July 23-26, 2016) can hear firsthand about advancements in active acoustics technology.

Representatives from Wenger and Lexicon will discuss a world-premiere installation at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, on July 25 at 11:00 a.m. This new system has transformed Wartburg’s Neumann Auditorium from a dated, problematic facility to a showplace for Wartburg’s renowned music programs.

The new active acoustics system also offers something that traditional acoustic treatments can’t do: the creative flexibility to create music programming that simply wouldn’t be possible with conventional technology.

“You can simulate any acoustic you want. It’s virtually limitless,” said Lee Nelson, Wartburg’s Director of Choral Activities. “You could create a choral/orchestral performance setting, a choral setting for cathedral performances and a setting for a piano concerto—all within the same concert if you wish. And, all settings can be stored and recalled at any time.”

The new active acoustics system has also become a selling point in the battle to attract talented student performers, events and concerts. Prior to the installation, Neumann Auditorium’s less-than-ideal acoustics were a drag on recruiting efforts, and made it impossible to host concerts by certain artists and bands.

Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., recently purchased an active acoustics system, which will be installed in 2017.

Get more info on this July 25 performing arts session here. If you’re planning on attending this show, please visit the Wenger/J.R. Clancy booth 323.

  • May 2016

Under the Sparkling Veil: Tobin Center Profiled

Wenger’s contribution to this world-class performing arts center in San Antonio, Texas, is cited in this May 2016 cover story. The custom Diva acoustical shell delivers superior acoustical performance and beautiful design aesthetics, including a feature Wenger had never created before: a digitally printed overlay pattern. (Check out the shell photo on page 51.)

Click here to read the full article from Lighting & Sound America

  • January 15, 2016

Providing Acoustical Flexibility: Getting 'active' at Wartburg College

by Ron Freiheit, FASA
Providing Acoustical Flexibility: Getting 'active' at Wartburg College

Superior musicians demand the best from themselves. Facilities with the proper acoustics can support musicians’ artistry, helping to elevate performances to the highest level. To improve the sound quality of its chapel-auditorium, Wartburg College chose a new technological solution—an active acoustics system. The school, which is located in Waverly, Iowa, premiered the system in October 2015.

Click here to read the rest of this technical case study from The Construction Specifier »

  • December 4, 2015

Wenger’s after-school project

At almost 70 years old, Wenger Corp. has made its way into almost every high school choir and band room in the country. As the go-to for music stands and chairs, CEO Chris Simpson says the company produces everything except the music instruments.

With over 500 employees, a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Owatonna, a 50,000-square-foot facility in New York and a sales office in Singapore, family-owned Wenger has recently been investing in new markets to remain sustainable and growing.

From constructing locker rooms for high school sports teams to developing an innovative performing arts sound system, the Owatonna-based firm has been expandingwithin, and beyond, American high schools.

While it doesn’t seem obvious for a performing arts company to make sports locker rooms, or as Simpson calls them, “team rooms,” the decision was influenced by Wenger’s existing relationship with high schools.

“We’re already in the schools selling other products, so we know who the customers are,” Simpson said. “And the type of capabilities we have in terms of engineering and design for music storage cabinets can translate easily into team rooms.”

Yet developing those spaces does not solve the problem of decreasing construction of American high schools.

“It’s been a challenge for state and local communities to fund new school construction,” Simpson said. “In 2009, there were 130 new high schools. In 2014, there were nine.”

This is why Wenger has been developing new performing arts technology marketed to colleges and performance spaces around the world.

While Wenger’s largest project was a complete stage-rigging of a performance arts center in Singapore, Simpson says he is most excited about the potential of the company’s newest product, called Transcend.

Transcend is a sound-system that uses a variety of carefully placed speakers to manipulate sound and make performing spaces ideal for a myriad of performers. This technology, which comes with preset and customizable settings, distributes sound evenly through the room, no matter who is on stage.

Lee Nelson, director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, was the first to purchase Transcend, saying that it transformed the college auditorium’s acoustics from “dry and difficult” to a “multipurpose space.”

“Music is a large program at Wartburg and the top co-curricular event, so from a recruitment standpoint this is the first of its kind,” Nelson said. “Not to mention, it is much cheaper than building a new space, which was considered.” Simpson said this is just one of the new products that Wenger will develop in the years to come, and he’s confident in the company’s ability to excel in these new markets, just as it’s done in high school band rooms.

From the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

  • October 22, 2015

Wartburg College Revitalizes Neumann Auditorium

Wartburg College Transcend Case Study

“The recruitment benefit could be substantial. The joke around here used to be that using the phrase ‘state of the art’ and ‘Neumann Auditorium’ in the same sentence was unheard of. It could really transform the way we market the college."
Dr. Lee Nelson, Director of Choral Activities, Wartburg College

VIEW THE CASE STUDY

  • September 28, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect for the Central High Marching Band

SAN ANGELO, TX. — The halftime performance for the homecoming game didn't come together at the last minute. The Central High School Marching Band has been rehearsing and rehearsing to get the notes and the moves just right.

"We've been having a lot of rehearsal, a lot of extra practices," said Joey Ashbrook, director of the band. "Out of all of the groups involved in homecoming activities, the band has really twice as much work to do."

Their performances take place in stadiums and concert halls; their practices take place in a windowless rehearsal hall. The difference in acoustics between their rehearsals and their performances was a big challenge--until now.

This summer, Central High School installed a "Virtual Acoustics System" from Wenger, becoming only the second school in the United States to have it. It's been a game changer.

The system allows them to, with the push of a button, change the acoustics of the entire room. Even though they're practicing in the middle of a building on Central's campus, it can sound as if they're just about anywhere. Mr. Ashbrook demoed the system for me. After activating the system, every note and chord played by the band echoed as if they were in the middle of a football stadium.

"For young people in particular, to be able to hear themselves and cross-reference, it's a major teaching tool," Ashbrook said. "It's very effective and it's already made positive results."

The sound from the band is taken in and regenerated in real time, letting them hear what they will sound like in different spaces. This let's them work on a level of precision that they couldn't before.

"[The students] started looking around, and their heads went down like 'Uh oh,'" Ashbrook recalled. "I said, 'What's wrong?' They said, 'You're going to be able to hear everything we do.' I said, 'That's right, and more importantly, you can hear everything you do.'"

— Rob Harris, FOX News First

  • September 22, 2015

D.M. Symphony breaks out of its shell

Jonathan Sturm stood alone in the middle of the Des Moines Civic Center stage, lifted his violin to his chin and ripped from its strings a Paganini solo, a chutes-and-ladders dash of flashy runs and broken chords. Then he took about 10 steps forward and played the same thing on the edge of the stage.

The difference was subtle but clear. It was a little warmer the second time around.

“I sound like a million dollars more than I did back there,” he said.

His estimate was pretty close, actually. Towering behind him were the maple panels of a new stage shell, the centerpiece of a $1.5 million project to improve the Civic Center’s acoustics. Audiences will get their first chance to see and hear this weekend when concertmaster Sturm and the rest of the Des Moines Symphony open their 77th season with a program designed to show off the new sound – mellower high notes, crisper notes in the middle and a heftier bass.

“It’s the next best thing to building a new concert hall,” the Symphony’s executive director, Richard Early, said.

The Civic Center opened in 1979 as a multi-purpose auditorium for concerts, plays, dance recitals and more, and its acoustics were already pretty good, Symphony leaders said. All 2,700 seats are within 145 feet from center stage.

To make that happen, however, the architects designed a fan-shaped auditorium that is much wider than most venues that were built specifically for music. Places that are famous for their acoustics – Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles – tend to be more narrow, with balconies stacked to the ceiling.

So the Civic Center improvements can do only so much.

“It’s not an easy task to take a hall where a lot of things are going right and tweak it so it’s 10 or 20 percent better,” Des Moines Symphony music director Joseph Giunta said.

At a meeting onstage this summer, he introduced a handful of Symphony board members and donors to the project’s chief acoustician, Joseph Myers, the president of Kirkegaard Associates, an acoustic consulting firm in Chicago. Myers is used to interpreting physics for non-experts, and he described the Civic Center project in terms that sounded a lot like psychotherapy.

“We try to understand how a room is behaving,” he said. “We want to accept a room for what it is – not to change it, but to make it a better version of itself.”

To do that, his team hauled in a pile of high-tech tools over the last couple of years to measure and map the room’s acoustics. They analyzed how long it took high and low notes to ricochet around the room. They popped balloons onstage this spring to hear how sound waves bounced to the audience and back to the stage.

Then they recommended some changes, which construction crews have installed in three parts this summer:

» Wenger Corp. of Owatonna, Minn., made the new maple-veneered shell, which is harder than the old shell made from bumpy white fiberboard. The curved profile of the new ceiling projects sound better to both the performers and the audience.

» Cloth-covered felt and hardboard panels march up the auditorium’s side walls to absorb extra feedback, especially in the high ranges that can muddy up the overall effect.

» Crumple-textured black tiles of reinforced gypsum board cover the back wall, behind the audience, to give the sound more resonance. Heavy black curtains can be drawn to cover it up for clearer results.

A second phase of renovations should take place in the next year or two, when a construction crew will give the proscenium arch a face-lift, raising the “brow” above the stage a few feet higher. The change will help spread sound waves more evenly to the front and middle of the audience, instead of pushing them to the back rows, where they tend to go now.

The Civic Center’s audio guru, Greg Tracy, pointed up to the cheaper seats during a recent technical rehearsal.

“I’ll guarantee you it sounds better back there,” he said.

Tracy was one of several staffers who gathered two weeks ago to test out the shell for the first time, before they had to pack it away for last week's run of “Dirty Dancing.” He sat halfway back in the audience and listened to a few Symphony musicians adjust to their swanky new surroundings.

“There’s so much more energy coming off the stage,” he said.

In three small groups – first strings, then brass and woodwinds – the musicians took turns on stage, playing a bit, then switching seats, then playing a bit more to listen for the differences. Myers, the acoustician, compared the session to an eye exam: “Is this better? Is this clearer? Or is it just darker?”

At a certain point, the nuances are lost on untrained ears. Improvements in clarity and blend among professional musicians can be as subtle as the nanoseconds Olympians shave off when they wear spandex – or as lovely as the Emperor’s new clothes. If anyone didn’t hear the differences with the new Civic Center shell, they didn’t say so at the rehearsal.

The musicians agreed that they could hear one another better, even if they struggled to put the improvements into exact words. It was “rounder sounding” and “tighter.” There was a “lushness.”

“I’ve never been able to hear my cello section before,” said principal cellist Julie Sturm (who is married to the concertmaster). “I can finally hear them now, and the basses behind me.”

Maestro Giunta trotted back and forth from the stage to the middle rows of the audience, where he said the sound was generally cleaner, warmer and more enveloping. After two hours he thanked the musicians and dismissed them.

“I think we’ve learned what we can,” he said. “It’s been such a relief to hear.”

The next day, a stage crew practiced re-adjusting the shell to accommodate a larger group, for the times when the orchestra performs with a chorus. The shell’s back panels fold out to become side walls, and an extra ceiling panel drops down from the rafters.

 

The entire thing can be folded up in a few hours and stored backstage during all but the biggest touring shows, like “Wicked” or “The Lion King,” when crews will have to stash it off site. That convenience is one reason the Civic Center’s parent organization, Des Moines Performing Arts, helped the Symphony pay for it.

“It may be their circus, but it’s our tent,” DMPA chief Jeff Chelesvig said.

The circus starts again this weekend, with Copland’s brassy hoe-down from “Rodeo,” highlights from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “State Fair,” and the full-length premiere of Peter Hamlin’s “Symphony on a Stick,” parts of which the orchestra played in July at the Yankee Doodle Pops. Its 10 movements and accompanying video projections include tributes to the Iowa State Fair’s Butter Cow, with a lowing clarinet melody, and the Big Boar, with lumbering solos for the contrabassoon.

The knee-slappers will be paired with slightly more dignified fare, namely Berlioz’s “Corsaire” overture and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring the Russian-American pianist Natasha Paremski.

Maestro Giunta said he planned the season's first three programs with the new shell in mind, aiming to "throw out a lot of different styles and see what happens." That includes a pair of major symphonies, Beethoven's Sixth ("Pastoral") and Prokofiev's Fifth, plus Rimsky-Korsakov's flashy "Capriccio Espagnol."

After 28 years on the podium, the conductor said the upcoming concerts in the new shell are part of his long-term plan to enrich the concert experience for the orchestra and audience alike.

"It's very likely we'll be firing on all cylinders," he said. "I'm excited about what I've heard so far."

Symphony Week

The Des Moines Symphony kicks off its 77th season with a week full of events leading up to the unveiling of the new acoustical shell at the opening concerts. The highlights:

Drink specials all week on two of music director Joseph Giunta’s favorites – the Maestro and the Italian Mule – at Centro, plus daily lunch-hour specials at Big City Burgers and Greens (Monday), Sidebar (Tuesday), BOS and Ritual Cafe (Wednesday) and Dos Rios (Thursday).

“Symphony With a Twist,” an open rehearsal with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Temple for Performing Arts.

Symphony-themed trivia games at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Wellman’s Pub on Ingergoll Avenue and 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Wellman’s in West Des Moines. No cover.

A chance to conduct an orchestra ensemble from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Capital Square. All maestros welcome; a baton will be provided.

The first of four “Classical Conversations” with music scholar Eric Saylor at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Temple. $15 per class.

A master class with pianist Natasha Paremski from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center. Free and open to the public.

A pre-rehearsal reception for college-student season subscribers at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Coda Lounge.

The opening concerts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Center. $15-$60, with discounts for students.

Find all the details at www.dmsymphony.org.

  • September 17, 2015

Wenger Spotlights Performing Arts in Realignment;
Industry Veteran John Hastie Hired to Support Growth Initiative

Owatonna, Minn. — To better serve the unique needs of the Performing Arts market, Wenger Corporation has announced organizational changes to support the growth strategy of this global segment. These changes reflect the company’s initiatives in this segment and the commitments made to build on this momentum.

Wenger Corporation’s Performing Arts market segment will be led by Mike Murphy as General Manager. He will also retain his current role as President of J.R. Clancy, a leading manufacturer of stage rigging equipment. Reporting to Murphy will be Mark Ingalls in the new position of Performing Arts Segment Manager. This newly created role will improve the customer experience with additional support, coordination and collaboration of multiproduct opportunities. Ingalls will continue to drive business as the Product Manager for Diva® Acoustical Shells. Mike and Mark have over 65 years of experience in Performing Arts and will build on the rich tradition that the Wenger and J.R. Clancy brands offer in the market worldwide.

New to Wenger Corporation is John Hastie, named Business Development Director – Europe and Middle East. Hastie has extensive global performing arts experience, including co-founding and managing Stage Technologies, established in 1994. This company was one of the world’s first dedicated theatre automation specialists providing turnkey engineering solutions and rental equipment for live performance venues. Hastie will focus on developing relationships with customers, specifiers and key influencers while serving as a respected resource for customers. Hastie will report to Mike Murphy and Tom Carman, Vice President of International Sales.

Other personnel involved in this realignment include Dave Kaiser, Manager of Applications Engineering, who will also manage Wenger’s Quick Response Process work cell. The QRP cell and related areas provide comprehensive, one-stop customer support with many projects related to the Performing Arts segment. Dustin Collins has been promoted to the new role of Lighting and Controls Integration Manager, supporting Wenger and J.R. Clancy sales teams with competitive options for lighting, dimming and controls solutions. Collins has a theatre degree with an emphasis on lighting design. Lighting products offer additional market segment opportunities for larger projects requiring additional collaboration and coordination in the market.

Throughout 2015, Wenger’s commitment to Performing Arts has already been demonstrated. Last month, the first Transcend™ Active Acoustic System was installed; it’s a technologically advanced and cost-effective solution for enhancing the acoustics of most performance spaces. In June, Wenger Corporation announced its elevated focus on providing leading-edge acoustical solutions for the Performing Arts market naming Ron Freiheit, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, as Director of Product Development and Acoustics. In February, Wenger Corporation named Damon Atwood to the new role of Technical Sales Manager, providing comprehensive resources, product expertise and specification support.

“Together the Wenger and J.R. Clancy brands have a 200-year history of superior innovation, quality and service,” said Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger Corporation. “Inspired by this proud legacy, we’re strengthening our commitment to the worldwide Performing Arts community with highly skilled personnel, unmatched capabilities and exciting new products”.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for performing arts, music and theatre education, and athletic equipment storage and transport. For almost 70 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Founded in 1885, J.R. Clancy designs and manufactures high-quality rigging and theatrical equipment. 
For more information on J.R. Clancy, please call 1-800-836-1885 or visit www.jrclancy.com. For more information on Wenger, please call 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • august 6, 2015

Wenger Introduces Transcend Active Acoustic System at Wartburg College

Simplified Design Transforms Any Space for Optimal Acoustics at an Affordable Price

Owatonna, Minn. (August 6, 2015) — Wenger Corporation, the leader in stage, sound and storage solutions for performance spaces, is currently completing the first installation of its new Transcend™ Active Acoustic System for indoor performance spaces at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. The leading-edge digital signal processing (DSP) technology was developed in partnership with HARMAN specifically for variable acoustics. Wartburg will use Transcend’s active acoustic simulations to transform its midcentury Neumann Auditorium into a state-of-the-art, multipurpose performance space for its music programs, speeches and special events. Transcend is designed for easy, minimally invasive installation, and will be operational this fall.

Transcend gives facility managers the ability to enhance acoustic environments in virtually any space: performing arts centers, auditoriums, theatres, opera houses, arenas and worship spaces. For existing facilities, Transcend makes the performance space a multipurpose venue without the need for costly and time-consuming renovations. For new multipurpose facilities under development, the Transcend system offers a high-performance, affordable solution for acoustical flexibility. Transcend’s active acoustics algorithm results in a system that requires fewer microphones and speakers to provide a more reliable and stable system. This allows for streamlined, lower-cost installations than other systems on the market. It also features a BLU-link digital audio bus for simpler audio connections.

“With advanced HARMAN technology, Transcend provides superior performance with excellent value compared to other systems on the market,” commented Ron Freiheit, Director of Design Engineering at Wenger and Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. “To make the system as cost-effective as possible, we developed a purpose-designed DSP system explicitly for active acoustics. This provides for a reliable, affordable, easy-to-operate system. Transcend is simply a sound investment.”

With the Transcend system, venues can accommodate a greater variety of programming, satisfying performers and audiences. The acoustics of any environment can be enhanced; suddenly an intimate black box theater can have the lively reverb of a grand cathedral. Performers hear themselves and each other better, which improves musicianship and sense of ensemble. With Transcend, any room can have acoustics tailored for any type of performance, from a live band to a full choir to the spoken word. The listening experience for the audience will also be energized throughout the entire venue – even in hard-to-hear sections such as under the balcony.

“You can virtually create any acoustic you want. It’s limitless,” says Wartburg Director of Choral Activities Dr. Lee Nelson. “I was blown away by the authentic sound of the acoustic. That’s what we’re always doing as performers: trying to create a natural feel. You can make it as ‘wet’ or as ‘dry’ as you want. I’m very excited about the possibilities this brings to our concert hall.”

Wenger developed the Transcend system in cooperation with industry leader HARMAN, utilizing Lexicon active acoustic processing and bundled with premium audio components. BLU-link high-speed digital audio transport allows all components to communicate easily with a state-of-the-art dedicated processor for active acoustics. Through the Audio Architect software and HiQnet™, the entire system can be managed remotely with a tablet and visual monitoring. The configuration and control capabilities of the Transcend system feature up to 16 inputs and expandable, independent 4-zone capability. While harnessing powerful technology, the Transcend system offers simple, intuitive operation tailored to suit customer preferences – from basic push button to touch-screen interface.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation (wengercorp.com) provides innovative stage, sound and storage solutions for performing arts, music/theatre education and athletics programs around the world. Our Wenger®, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss® brands are dedicated to flawless performance in all our products and solutions. For nearly 70 years, Wenger has been listening to customers to produce the durable and functional products they need. For 130 years, J.R. Clancy has been producing exceptional rigging and theatrical equipment. Since joining forces in 2011, these two time-tested brands deliver advanced products for the highest levels of acoustic excellence, comfort and versatility for any performance venue. GearBoss brings the same level of design expertise and commitment to athletics. Visit our YourPerformancePartners.com blog to learn more.

About HARMAN

Headquartered in Stamford, Conn., HARMAN (harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and enterprise automation solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets.

  • june 9, 2015

Wenger Focuses Acoustical Expertise, Targets Future Innovation

Owatonna, Minn. — To leverage its unmatched Latest News of acoustical experience with performing arts facilities worldwide and to accelerate new product innovation, Wenger Corporation announces a new organizational focus designed to provide customers with leading-edge acoustical solutions.

This initiative will be spearheaded by Ron Freiheit, currently Wenger’s Director of Product Development and Acoustics. Freiheit, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, is an internationally respected researcher and lecturer on acoustical topics. He has presented at national and international conferences; he also holds a U.S. Patent related to virtual acoustic technology. Freiheit will lead Wenger’s skilled team of product engineers and technicians as a key industry resource to assist consultants, architects and facility owners.

Recent acoustical innovations from Wenger include the Transcend™ Active Acoustic System utilizing digital signal processing technology to make performance spaces more multi-purpose. Also launched in 2015, Transform™ Motorized Acoustical Banners provide affordable variable acoustics. Driven by Freiheit and the Wenger team, these new solutions complement established products like the Diva® Acoustical Shell and VAE® technology, an industry first, that redefines any rehearsal space.

“We’ve elevated our commitment to serve the acoustic needs of the performing arts market, building on our company’s accomplishments in this segment,” said Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger. “By leveraging our expertise and experience with both Wenger and J.R. Clancy solutions, we can better provide facilities worldwide with the industry’s largest breadth of custom capabilities and specialized products.”

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for performing arts, music and theatre education, and athletic equipment storage and transport. For almost 70 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Founded in 1885, J.R. Clancy designs and manufactures high-quality rigging and theatrical equipment. For more information on J.R. Clancy, please call 1-800-836-1885 or visit www.jrclancy.com.

  • february 10, 2015

Wenger Corporation Names Damon G. Atwood to New Role of Technical Sales Manager

Owatonna, Minn. — Wenger Corporation, an innovative manufacturer of specialized products for performing arts, music education, and athletics, announces that Damon G. Atwood has joined the company in the new role of Technical Sales Manager.

In this position, Atwood will team with Wenger’s Regional Sales Managers to help provide performing arts customers and consultants with more comprehensive technical resources, product expertise and specification support. His focus will include all products and services targeting the performing arts market for Wenger and J.R. Clancy, the stage rigging company that became a part of Wenger in 2011.

“In his important new role, Damon will spearhead our efforts to fully leverage the combined capabilities Wenger and J.R. Clancy offer the performing arts market,” said Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger. “Capitalizing on his knowledge and industry experience, Damon will help us better serve the needs of the many architects, theatre consultants, acoustical consultants and other professionals we proudly partner with and support.”

Atwood’s career in the performing arts/entertainment industries spans more than 30 years, including sales management positions and hands-on stage rigging experience. For five years he managed packaged hoist sales for J.R. Clancy. Most recently Atwood has been serving the industry with his own strategic consulting company.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for performing arts, music and theatre education, and athletic equipment storage and transport. For almost 70 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Founded in 1885, J.R. Clancy designs and manufactures high-quality rigging and theatrical equipment. For more information on J.R. Clancy, please call 1-800-836-1885 or visit www.jrclancy.com.

  • january 20, 2015

Wenger Corporation Names Jeffrey L. Jollay Vice President of Marketing and Product Development

Owatonna, Minn. — Wenger Corporation, an innovative manufacturer of specialized products for arts education, performing arts and athletics, has named Jeffrey L. Jollay as Vice President of Marketing and Product Development.

Jollay brings Wenger over 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, engineering and operations across diverse industries, with a successful track record managing employee teams and complex products for major global corporations.

“We’re pleased to welcome Jeff and excited about the many strengths he brings in marketing management, product development and strategic planning, targeting both domestic and international markets,” said Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger. “He’s a proven leader and team builder who has demonstrated solid results throughout his distinguished career.”

Since 2007, Jollay was Vice President of Product Marketing with Masco Company, (NYSE:MAS) Taylor, Mich., a leading manufacturer of home improvement and building products and provider of related services. Previously Jollay held executive or management roles with HNI Corporation, Brunswick Corporation and Whirlpool Corporation.

“As we approach our 70th anniversary next year, Wenger continues building on our proud Latest News of innovation, quality and service across all our markets,” commented Simpson. “Supported by our executive team and every Wenger employee, Jeff will play a key role in ensuring we capitalize on growth opportunities to expand our company’s legacy even further.”

Jollay earned a master of business administration degree from Indiana University and holds a bachelor of science degree from Western Michigan University.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage and transport. For almost 70 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs.

In addition to headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger Corporation has international distributors. In 2011, Wenger acquired the stage rigging company, J.R. Clancy, Inc., of Syracuse, N.Y. (www.jrclancy.com). For more information, please contact Wenger at 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • december 1, 2014

Transforming Impact: New Motorized Acoustical Banners Help Tailor Sound Absorption Levels

Owatonna, Minn. – Wenger Corp. introduces new Transform™ Motorized Acoustical Banners offering the benefits of variable acoustics for theaters, auditoriums and other performance venues at an affordable price.

To better tailor absorption levels, Transform banners offer adjustable spacing options – both for distance away from wall and between fabric layers – and banners are also available in a range of heights and widths. Banners deploy quietly and quickly, up to 45’ per minute, with tubular motor designed for either operator-controlled or pre-set environment. Wenger’s banner system integrates with SceneControl™ by J.R. Clancy and other intelligent control systems.

Fabric options include velour, wool serge and quilted poly blanket. For 5’ (1.5 m) standard-width banners, fabric lengths up to 30’ (9 m) are available. For banner widths of 10’, only velour or wool fabric is available, in lengths up to 15’ (4.5 m). Each banner ships assembled and tested for proper operation.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage and transport. For more than 65 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Products for music and theatre spaces include: pre-engineered acoustical doors, sound-isolating music practice rooms, acoustical shells, stage rigging systems, acoustical wall and ceiling treatments, instrument and equipment storage cabinets, audience seating, portable stage platforms and staging systems, music posture and portable audience chairs, orchestra pit fillers, makeup stations, tiered risers and music furniture.

In addition to headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger Corporation has international distributors. In 2011, Wenger acquired the stage rigging company, J.R. Clancy, Inc., of Syracuse, N.Y. (www.jrclancy.com). For more information, please contact Wenger at 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • november 10, 2014

Simply Beautiful: Essential Lab Workstation Provides Compact, Affordable Solution for Music Labs

The new Essential Lab Workstation from Wenger Corp. accommodates a variety of technology and helps maximize limited classroom space and budgets with innovative features that encourage student collaboration and add long-term value.

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  • october 20, 2014

Flurry of Sound

Acoustical shells strive for harmony, both musically and aesthetically - supporting the on-stage performance while complementing the hall's architecture. A new performing arts center in Texas beautifully illustrates such an achievement.

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  • september 25, 2014

After 25 years, Atwood Concert Hall gets its own sumptuous acoustic shell

The Anchorage Symphony's first concert of the 2014-15 season will likely draw oohs from the audience before a single note gets played. Patrons heading for their seats will see an impressive new addition to Atwood Hall. Instead of the plain, tan, ill-fitting acoustic shell that has been positioned behind the orchestra for the past 25 years, elegant maple walls will frame three sides of the stage.

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  • august 2014

TAKE THE LEAD: Be a P-A-C-E setter this school year!

Pacesetters set the pace at the beginning of a race or competition so those around them can then break a record. Pacesetters also take the lead and set the standards of achievement for others.

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  • july 2014

Sound Investment: Acoustical Shells Prove Value

Attending a musical performance can be captivating. Listening to the beautiful sound and spectacle, the effortlessness of the musicians' skills, it can be easy to forget the hours, months, and even years of practice that make the memorable performance possible.

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  • april 8, 2014

Organizational Genius: New Media Storage Cabinets Offer Flexibility, Security and Durability

Owatonna, Minn. – Wenger Corporation's new Media Storage Cabinets – both Fixed and Mobile models – organize and protect audiovisual equipment and media. All cabinets can be customized to suit a customer's unique storage needs and preferences, with a variety of shelves, drawers and accessories. As needs change, components can be easily reconfigured or even swapped between cabinets.

Ideal for storage rooms or classrooms, these flexible, lockable cabinets secure valuable equipment, including electronics, cables and microphones. Mobile cabinets work well for presentations or transporting and using electronic equipment.

“Before Wenger, our media storage room was a mix of old library shelves, second-hand cabinets and a used peg board,” recalls Dann Hurlbert, AV Specialist & Film Studies Instructor at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn. He says multiple users and events made organization difficult.

“The Wenger cabinet solution is night and day better than what we had before,” Hurlbert notes. “All the same equipment is still there – just organized and out of sight.”

Rackmount models provide easy access to electronic components and offer cable-management features. Fixed cabinet accessories include storage baskets, hooks, mic stand holders and CD holders. Mobile cabinets have a lockable rear-access door and roll easily on swivel casters.

Built of durable, industrial-grade composite wood with polyester laminate, cabinets feature bolt-through construction on doors and hinges. Cabinets are GREENGUARD® certified to protect indoor air quality. They ship fully assembled and are backed by a ten-year warranty.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage and transport. For more than 65 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Products for music and theatre spaces include: pre-engineered acoustical doors, sound-isolating music practice rooms, acoustical shells, stage rigging systems, acoustical wall and ceiling treatments, instrument and equipment storage cabinets, audience seating, portable stage platforms and staging systems, music posture and portable audience chairs, orchestra pit fillers, makeup stations, tiered risers and music furniture.

In addition to headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger Corporation has international distributors. In 2011, Wenger acquired the stage rigging company, J.R. Clancy, Inc., of Syracuse, N.Y. (www.jrclancy.com). For more information, please contact Wenger at 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • january 15, 2014

Wenger Employees Rescue Family Stranded in Blizzard

Wenger Employees Rescue Family Stranded in Blizzard

Quick thinking and a concern for safety were displayed on Sunday, January 5, 2014, when Wenger employees Craig Berndt and Don Pittman were driving a Wenger semi through a winter blizzard in Illinois. They were on their way to a delivery and installation project at the U.S. Navy School of Music in Virginia.

An accident on the interstate diverted traffic to a two-lane road, which became blocked by snow. Under life-threatening cold weather conditions, Craig and Don demonstrated deeply rooted Wenger values of compassion and responsiveness by helping rescue a stranded family of four, including two young girls. Craig and Don welcomed the family into their warm semi after the family's own vehicles stopped working.

Wenger's driver-installers are outstanding ambassadors for our company, and these two men proved that once again. To read the Owatonna newspaper article about this incident, including comments from the rescued family, please click here.

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  • november 1, 2013

The New Era of Show Choir

Five Key Acoustical Concepts for Choral Rehearsal Rooms

Excellent choral performances are rooted in effective choral rehearsals. While both require supportive acoustics, rehearsal spaces merit special consideration because a choir typically spends the majority of its time there. Understanding five key acoustical concepts and their relevance can help you maximize the positive impact your rehearsal space has on your choir. If your rehearsal room currently has any acoustical shortcomings, learning to articulate them can be the first step in finding a solution.

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  • june 1, 2013

Long Time Coming

With the Jordan College of the Arts' Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, students at Butler University and the community at large have a space that fills a niche, and is full of possibility
It was a long time coming for Indiana's Butler University. Talk of building an appropriately sized arts center for Butler's Jordan College of the Arts has swirled around the campus for decades, propagated by, but also surviving, two school presidents, two Arts College deans, an acting dean and many chairs of departments.

"It was a high priority of the president of the University back in 1996," says Van Phillips, theatre designer and consultant with Jones & Phillips Associates Inc., a firm involved with the Butler University project since the 1990s.

Finally, in April 2013, after much conversation, debate and planning—not to mention a generous $6.5 million donation by Howard Schrott, a Butler alumnus—the Jordan College of the Arts' Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts was officially opened.

The multi-purpose 450-seat center, which the school has dubbed a "full-sized laboratory," cost an estimated $15 million to build and completes the campus' art complex. "The University had not had a small performance house, which precluded a department like the theatre department from being able to use the 2,100-seat Clowes Memorial Hall, because it was much too big for their needs," says Dennis Long, who's been production manager of the Schrott Center since September 2012.

"You could tell just how happy the school was to see the project come to fruition," says Bridget Cox, director of project management at the Syracuse, NY-based J.R. Clancy, who provided project management and rigging equipment for the job. "They wanted to make sure every detail was perfect. That level of investment doesn't exist on every project."

The completion of the Center was so vital to Jordan College that construction contractors and designers alike went to great lengths to please the school and, in particular, its angel donor. Via an installed webcam onsite, Schrott had the ability to stream video of the construction process. "He wasn't involved in the decision-making process, but he has been very engaged in the progression of the construction," says Long. "The webcam was solely for his curiosity. You know, 'Gee, how is that coming along?'"

Experimental Design

The design team and architects had envisioned a theatre that was, in Phillips' words, "built for something more experimental and avant-garde. I kept drawing the University back to a space that was creative but did not look inaccessible. If it's going to be a students' space, it didn't need to intimidate them."

The result was an Indiana-limestone-clad exterior with an art-deco flair housing a 450-seat proscenium theatre. It reflects the state's heritage, and also helped make the project more LEED-friendly.

"Indiana has some wonderful natural limestone. Shipping it from within a certain mile radius—in this case 200 miles—are the kinds of things that reward you LEED credits," says Phillips. "We took advantage of materials closer to home,"

Inside the space, a generous lobby wraps around the audience chamber and acts as an art gallery space. "The lobby will give students in the Jordan College, who are design students, an opportunity to display their work and another space to observe student, faculty and other professionals' work without having to leave campus," says Long. "That's part of the whole concept behind the building and tying all of those disciplines together and not merely limiting it to scenography."

Use of natural light, LEDs and fluorescent lights with occupancy sensors are more ways the building conserves energy and earned LEED credits. They're using dimmable LED Altman Chalice lights with 16-bit dimming curve for house lights.

The audience chamber is separated into three distinct levels of tiered seating, provided by Miami-based Series Seating. "There are three distinct tiers, so you don't get the feeling that the theatre is one long running sled of seats," says Phillips. "If you want to do a drama production and you only want to seat the front section, you can dim the house lights in the others and, because of the seating design, it doesn't feel as though you're missing a whole bunch of people in a monstrous room."

Adapting the Room

But adjusting a room for different audiences and types of performances involves more than just house lights. Balancing the needs of lighting, acoustics and staging proved to be a jigsaw puzzle. Electrics and drapery line sets competed for space above the stage with ceiling panels for an acoustical shell—whose towers also had to be stored backstage and not interfere with the electrical line sets, so the towers didn't have to move every time a new focus was called for.

"The Schrott Center has very little wing space," says Cox. "So the offstage storage had to be carefully coordinated. We also have smoke-vent rigging. So, you have these hand winches that need to be accessible to open or close the smoke hatches. We spent many, many days going back and forth with Shiel Sexton, the construction manager, and the other contractors because the University needed to store the orchestra towers on stage left. Jones & Phillips worked out a very careful design of where the towers would go."

As a former master electrician for the technically demanding Indiana University Bloomington Opera & Ballet Theater, Long has had to adjust to Schrott's smaller space. "Because we have to store a rather large shell, the choice was made to put all the electric drops on one side of the stage, leaving the other side of the stage free to store the shell," says Long. "That's good because we don't have to pull up everything every time we deploy or store the shell."

The shell is a Diva acoustical shell, courtesy of Wenger Corporation. When set up in the performance position, it measures 56 feet wide and 31.5 feet tall, tall enough to close off the proscenium opening and direct sound out to the audience, ensuring the sound doesn't get lost in the fly loft or absorbed by drapery on stage. Its honeycomb composite panel design and curved shape also improve the sounds traveling across the stage, helping performers hear themselves and each other more clearly. The shell is made up of four 12-foot-wide towers in the back, six side towers (three on stage left and stage right) that measure roughly 10 feet across, and three ceiling panels that are 10 feet wide and vary between 49-54 feet long. The ceiling panels come equipped with built in light fixtures. A counterweighted base provides stability for the aluminum-framed Diva shell panels. The Diva shell also includes an Air Transporter air caster that will lift a tower and allow it to be easily moved about on stage.

"The Wenger Diva shell is an absolute joy," says Long. "I can turn around and I can set our full shell with myself and two other people. We can easily set it in 40 minutes. And because we chose the painted masonite finish we also use it as a video projection screen. We wouldn't have been able to that if we had that lovely cherry finish shell."

The Line Sets

And all of that had to play nice with the rest of the rigging. To manage that, J.R. Clancy provided a custom rigging solution consisting of 38 PowerLift hoists for the line sets. The hoists carry a maximum 2,000-pound load and run at a max speed of 120 feet per minute (FPM). The three acoustic shell ceiling PowerLifts are double-purchased to allow for the required 4,000 pound capacity and run at 10 FPM. The whole system is controlled via Clancy's SceneControl 500 controller.

"There are also custom line shaft hoists front-of-house made here and installed with assistance from our dealer partner Beck Studios, which carry variable acoustic banners that can be either stored up high or brought down into a lower position," says Cox. But her work wasn't done there. She and the Clancy team worked with the theatre designers to coordinate the layout of the Center to avoid any conflicts between the Diva shell, the catwalk system and the W steel beams supporting everything. In the end they mounted the hoists on alternate sides of the stage in order to pack in as many hoists as possible and keep the centers of the line sets as close together as possible.

Everything came together in time for the first major event staged at the new Schrott Center, the University's ArtsFest, which ran through the final week of April and featured dance, music, theatre and art presented by students and professionals. Now Long, the University and the community at large can look forward to a long and fruitful performance Latest News with the Center. Although built to serve the students of the Jordan College of the Arts, it's believed that the Schrott Center will double as a broader entertainment space for the Indianapolis community at large as well.

"It's the students' space," Long says. "But this size house will be an asset not only to the University, but the city of Indianapolis."

  • june 1, 2013

WHITE PAPER: ACOUSTICS PRIMER FOR MUSIC SPACES

Music is learned by listening. To be effective, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms and performance areas must provide an environment designed to support musical sound. It's no surprise then that the most common questions we hear and the most frustrating problems we see have to do with acoustics.

That's why we've put this Acoustics Primer together. In simple terms we explain the fundamental acoustical concepts that affect music areas. Our hope is that music educators, musicians, school administrators and even architects and planners can use this information to better understand what they are, and are not, hearing in their music spaces. And, by better understanding the many variables that impact acoustical environ- ments, we believe we can help you with accurate diagnosis and ultimately, better solutions.

For our purposes here, it is not our intention to provide an exhaustive, technical resource on the physics of sound and acoustical construction methods — that has already been done and many of the best works are listed in our bibliography and recommended readings on page 10. Rather, we want to help you establish a base-line knowledge of acoustical concepts that affect music education and performance spaces.

This publication contains information reviewed by Professor M. David Egan. Egan is a consultant in acoustics and Professor Emeritus at the College of Architecture, Clemson University. He has been principal consultant of Egan Acoustics in Anderson, South Carolina for more than 35 years. A graduate of Lafayette College (B.S.) and MIT (M.S.), Professor Eagan also has taught at Tulane University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Washington University. He is the author of Concepts in Architectural Acoustics, Concepts in Thermal Comfort, Concepts in Building Firesafety, and Concepts in Architectural Lighting (two editions). In addition to consulting, teaching, and writing, Professor Egan is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, member of the National Council of Acoustical Consultants, and an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor.

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  • may 1, 2013

(Show) Choir Confidential: Lobbying for Equipment Needs

Despite federal laws defining the arts as a "core academic subject," music education struggles to obtain parity with the support provided to academic subjects. With extracurricular activities like show choir, the challenges are even greater. Some people see only glitz and glitter, not the serious musicianship underpinning the showmanship. Successfully lobbying for operating funding or larger pieces of equipment used by show choirs—such as platforms, risers or acoustical shell—depends on three critical factors. in academic terms, they could be considered the "Straight A's"–for attention, acoustics and assurance.

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  • january 15, 2013

A Winning Platform: New StageTek Staging Delivers Key Benefits; Improved Handling, Flexibility and Strength

**Video Contest to Award $10,000 StageTek® Stage**

Owatonna, MN, January 15, 2013: Supported by more than 50 years of staging innovation, Wenger Corporation's new StageTek staging offers numerous advantages.

Handling is improved with fast, intuitive and instruction-free setup that maximizes labor efficiency. StageTek® staging assembles quickly without tools, folding frames or other cumbersome understructure. The innovative decks are 20 percent lighter than comparably sized Wenger Versalite® decks and feature integrated hand grips that require 40 percent less grip strength to handle. Standard deck sizes include 3'x3', 3'x6', 3'x8', 4'x4', 4'x6' and 4'x8'; (or in metric: 0.9m x 0.9m, 0.9m x 1.8m, 0.9m x 2.4m, 1.2m x 1.2m, 1.2m x 1.8m and 1.2m x 2.4m). Custom deck sizes are also available. Because StageTek® legs store compactly inside the decks, the storage footprint is up to 50 percent less than conventional staging and carts.

Enhanced flexibility comes from StageTek® staging's round plug-and-play legs – both fixed-height and adjustable – that reduce assembly time by 20 percent compared to Z-frame systems. For creative options, StageTek® staging provides unmatched versatility for all events, from complex multi-level stages for concerts to simple platforms for ceremonies and other activities. A variety of deck surface options are available. Wenger's engineering advances ensure that StageTek® staging can safely support heavier loads while satisfying three critical load requirements – uniform, point and dynamic. The leg-and-deck design of StageTek staging provides 70 percent more open storage space underneath than with typical Z-frame systems. StageTek® staging features field-repairable components and a 10-year warranty; patents are pending.

Video Contest: Wenger is looking for the most creative video illustrating "Here's what we would do on a Wenger StageTek® stage." The winner will receive $10,000 worth of StageTek® staging and accessories. Details can be found on Wenger's website or Facebook page; the entry deadline is March 29, 2013.

About Wenger Corporation
Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage and transport. For more than 65 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Products for music and theatre spaces include: pre-engineered acoustical doors, sound-isolating music practice rooms, acoustical shells, stage rigging systems, acoustical wall and ceiling treatments, instrument and equipment storage cabinets, audience seating, portable stage platforms and staging systems, music posture and portable audience chairs, orchestra pit fillers, makeup stations, tiered risers and music furniture.

In addition to headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger Corporation has international distributors. In 2011, Wenger acquired the stage rigging company, J.R. Clancy, Inc., of Syracuse, N.Y. (www.jrclancy.com). For more information, please contact Wenger at 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

Photo Available: Digital photos are available of Wenger's new StageTek® staging.
Media Contact: Warren Djerf, Brookside Communications Group (for Wenger Corp.)
(952) 920-3908 (United States) or warren@brookcomm.net.

  • january 8, 2013

Ottawa University Installs Ten State-of-the-art Music Practice Rooms

Stained Glass WindowOwatonna, MN, January 8, 2013: Ottawa University music majors and performers can now take advantage of ten "sound isolation" practice rooms, which recently were installed in the Fredrikson Chapel.

The transepts of the Chapel were renovated over the course of the fall semester to house the modular rooms, which were manufactured and installed by Wenger, a state-of-the-art pioneer in virtual acoustic environments. The rooms are of various sizes to accommodate the unique needs of musicians, whether individuals or ensembles.

"One of the essential components to build and sustain a quality music program is the quality of the facilities in which students practice and receive private applied instruction," said Director of Music Programs Dr. Roger Kugler.

The Wenger modular rooms offer a number of features that make for a superior practice experience, including nine virtual performance settings to simulate the type of venue in which the musicians will be performing and the ability to digitally record/save sessions and play them back.

"The addition of these state-of-the-art Wenger SoundLok practice rooms and teaching studios demonstrates Ottawa University's commitment to the continued elevation of its music programming," said Kugler. "They also showcase the generosity of many music-minded alumni. These rooms will provide our students and faculty with excellent teaching and learning facilities for many years to come."

Each of the practice rooms utilizes a self-contained design – lighting, wiring and ventilation are built in and all wiring is run through sound-isolated raceways. The rooms also include sound-isolating wall and ceiling panels with 16-gauge steel exterior and 22-gauge steel interior surfaces and can be relocated or reconfigured within hours.

  • october 9, 2012

Technical Feature Article — Collaboration Composes Success: Music Practice Room Installations

By Ron Freiheit, FASA Director of Design Engineering, Wenger Corp, Owatonna, MN

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  • august 17, 2012

A Star is Reborn: New Diva® Delivers Numerous Enhancements: Redesigned Full-Stage Acoustical Shell from Wenger Corp.

Owatonna, MN, August 17, 2012: Following its impressive 1995 debut, the newly redesigned Diva full-stage acoustical shell from Wenger Corp. features numerous functional and aesthetic improvements. Handling and setup are now easier, with more size and design options available.

Various enhancements simplify and speed the movement and positioning of Diva towers, including a built-in handle on the tower base. The new air mover is lighter weight and more maneuverable than the previous model, with easier attachment to the tower frame via a new hook assembly. A non-motorized wheeled mover is also available, with swivel casters providing smooth movement in any direction.

Structurally, larger Diva shells can now be specified because of the modified frame and ceiling truss. A stronger, simplified frame extrusion increases the maximum tower height by eight feet (2.4 m) – up to 40 feet (12.2 m) total. The redesigned extruded ceiling truss/raceway now accommodates more ceiling lights, which larger shells require.

New Diva towers feature a narrower vertical trim strip, now integrated into the panel edges. This more subtle feature gives architects and designers greater aesthetic flexibility; this trim strip can be finished a variety of ways – painted, anodized, wood grain, etc.

For any size Diva shell, designers can specify finish options that integrate the design of the shell's towers and ceiling panels into the overall performance environment. Although constructed on a common framework, each Diva shell is customized to unique design criteria.

Wenger has hundreds of custom acoustical shells installed around the world in premier performing arts venues in North and South America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. All these shells are manufactured in Wenger's ISO-certified manufacturing facility in Owatonna, Minn. Wenger also offers complete installation services, on-site training and a five-year warranty.

One of the first installations of the new Diva shell was at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas. Their previous Wenger shell was from 1990.

"When replacing our original Wenger shell, we considered its longevity and the company's excellent reputation," notes Jeff Young, Vice President of Operations. "Technology improvements mean our new Diva shell is easier to set up, take down and put away."

About Wenger Corporation
Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage and transport. For more than 65 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs. Products for music and theatre spaces include: pre-engineered acoustical doors, sound-isolating music practice rooms, acoustical shells, stage rigging systems, acoustical wall and ceiling treatments, instrument and equipment storage cabinets, audience seating, portable stage platforms and staging systems, music posture and portable audience chairs, orchestra pit fillers, makeup stations, tiered risers and music furniture.

In addition to headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger Corporation has international distributors. In 2011, Wenger acquired the stage rigging company, J.R. Clancy, Inc., of Syracuse, N.Y. (http://www.jrclancy.com). For more information, please contact Wenger at 1-800-4WENGER or visit http://www.wengercorp.com.

Photo Available: Digital photos are available of Wenger's new Diva shell, including at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands, Texas. Media Contact: Warren Djerf, Brookside Communications Group (for Wenger Corp.) (952) 920-3908 (United States) or warren@brookcomm.net.

  • january 19, 2012

New Parker, Colo. performing arts center features J. R. Clancy Rigging

Syracuse, NY, Jan. 19, 2012: With the opening of the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center (PACE) in Parker, Colo. late in 2011, audiences looked forward to an exciting season of more than 60 performances of 28 different shows.

The inaugural season includes productions of A Christmas Story and Annie, the premier of an original musical, a custom light show created by Luma, the Irish dance troupe Direct from Ireland-Celtic Nights, and an interpreted production of Stuart Little for hearing and deaf audiences.

The brand-new facility's 536-seat theatre—one of two performance spaces in the extensive center—can host this diverse series of events because of the easy-to-use automated rigging system provided by J. R. Clancy, Inc., and installed by Barbizon Light of the Rockies. Barbizon's Rick Loudenburg was on the design team as the theatrical rigging and lighting integrator with Semple Brown Design Architects, David L Adams and Associates and Shaw Construction.

The new theatre features 14 Clancy PowerLift automated hoists, including eight variable-speed and six fixed-speed hoists. PowerLifts provide many built-in safety features, including a dual-braking system that ensures reliable stops, with the ability to hold loads securely for long periods.

Clancy's popular Altus digital controller was the system of choice for the project. Designed for mid-level backstage rigging systems with up to 48 hoists, Altus allows operators to create up to 200 cues with different speeds and targets for each hoist. Its 12-inch graphic touch screen makes this an easy console to learn to use, even for crewmembers with limited backstage experience. Altus gives PACE the flexibility to stage impressive set changes and dramatic visual effects.

In addition to the PowerLifts, Altus will control the H&H 462 draw curtain machine on the front curtain.

"We originally planned to go with a more expensive controller, but Altus was introduced while we were designing the system," said Dan Obenhaus, senior project manager for Barbizon Light. "Altus did everything we needed, it was easy to use, and it brought the price of the project down. It was good for everyone."

"We love the rigging system," said Shaun Albrechtson, technical director at PACE. "It's very versatile and easy to use. We really enjoy that we don't have to worry so much about weights. It's freed us up from the mundane aspects of the standard rigging system. The safety features alone are phenomenal—it has everything calculated through the computer, and everything operating smoothly is just a comforting feeling."

The theatre also features a Wenger Diva Acoustical Shell, providing full-stage acoustics for optimum onstage sound and excellent sound projection to the audience. Lightweight and easy to install, the Diva Shell includes overhead panels that can be raised and lowered with Clancy's PowerLift rigging, and stored in the fly loft when not required for the performance.

Overall, Obenhaus said, the project went as smoothly as he had expected it would. "It was a good experience," said "I've been working with Clancy for well over 15 years on different projects, and this was a project that stood up to all the other experiences I've had with them, which have always been good."

More information about J. R. Clancy is available at (800) 836-1885, or at http://www.jrclancy.com.

  • january 2012

Unsung Heroes

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January, 2012: Flexible stage and seating arrangements have proved their worth at two busy performing arts venues in the USA

Performing arts facilities never give top billing to their staging platforms and audience seating, but as two facilities in the USA illustrate, this unsung equipment can play vital roles in supporting flexible programming and memorable performances.

"Around 50% of our interior structure is mobile," explains Tom Hamilton, technical operations director at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA), which is located in Cerritos, California, 20 miles southwest of Los Angeles. "It's like a puzzle we can assemble in different ways, including arena, theatre-in-the-round, and cabaret configurations," he adds.

Designed by architect Barton Myers and planned by Theatre Projects Consultants, CCPA is one of the most flexible theatres in the world, following in the traditions of the changeable theatres of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Hydraulic lifts and air casters allow the auditorium to take on five different configurations. Balcony seating is fixed, but floor seating consists of movable wagons that can be raised, lowered or removed completely. Large towers containing the box seats can be angled to face the stage in a number of positions. Overhead ceiling panels are also movable to suit different acoustical requirements.

The stage can be transformed into various sizes, either manually or by electronic controls. This unique flexibility is supported by an extensive inventory of Wenger staging — approximately 100 staging decks, both 1.2 x

2.5m and 1.2 x 1.2m in size, with interchangeable legs ranging from 20cm to 100cm.
"The largest setup is our arena configuration, where we build a 15 x 10m stage 100cm high," Hamilton reveals. "We also build band risers for pop and country shows."

Even when in the arena setup, CCPA still owns enough additional platforms to simultaneously serve other areas of the facility. "Because it's so flexible, we also use these platforms in our lobby for banquet head tables or podiums, in our conference room and theatre, or even outdoors in our garden and fountain courts," says Hamilton, adding that the platforms are easy for two people to handle.

Versatile architecture and flexible equipment have enabled CCPA to adapt to changing market and client needs, re-inventing itself more easily and targeting a wider variety of events than would be possible with a fixed configuration.

Most of the performing arts programming is during the autumn, winter and early spring. "Given the realities of our programming budget, we decided to start our summer season a little earlier in order to get bigger pop music acts that are touring," continues Hamilton. Some cabaret-style concerts are held in the more intimate Sierra Room on a 6 x 7m stage.
CCPA is also targeting more rental business, particularly during the spring months. The facility has become popular for high school proms as a result of the flexible configuration options and layout, including large banquet space and dance floor. Twelve proms are already booked during a six-week period in 2012.

In the past, CCPA's proximity to Los Angeles made it a popular location for TV specials, commercials and Hollywood movie sets. "I don't know of any other facility our size — less than 2,000 seats — with such flexible configuration options," notes Hamilton. "We've been extremely pleased with our staging and have increased our inventory over the years, which is a compliment in itself. We'll continue choosing Wenger."

Adams State College

"Uncomfortable seating was everyone's biggest complaint — the old seats in Leon Memorial Recital Hall were terrible," recalls Dr Tracy Doyle, music department chair at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado. At this campus venue for recitals by students, faculty and guest artists, along with concerts by local bands, the seating was original from the 1960s.

During a week-long selection process, a team of college personnel sat in sample seats from five manufacturers. Doyle says comfort was the main issue, followed by attractiveness. "Wenger was our favourite from day one and that did not change — it was unanimous," she explains, adding that she believes the higher seat back contributes to the comfort. "We also liked the sophisticated look — different to a lot of the traditional auditorium seating." They selected light tan upholstery with orange accent colours.
Other finish upgrades in the hall's renovation included new paint, carpets and tiles, along with new lighting and a recording booth. Davis Partnership Architects was the architecture firm.

Testing ensured the new seating would not alter the hall's acoustics; after a recent piano recital, the consensus opinion was that the acoustics had actually improved.
To minimise noisy distractions, seats feature a proprietary lifting mechanism that ensures extremely quiet operation.

"The response to our new seating has been overwhelmingly positive," concludes Doyle. "Everyone's raved about them — both the comfort level and attractiveness."
Along with staging and seating solutions, Wenger fits out performing arts facilities across the USA and around the world with a wide range of other equipment, including acoustical shells, choral risers, storage cabinets, music stands, and a full line of music posture chairs.

Enhance the Acoustics and Aesthetics of any Venue

Wenger offers a full line of acoustical shells to fit every performance space.

Whether you have a small auditorium, gymnasium or performing arts center, Wenger has the acoustical treatment for you. The Diva Acoustical Shell is, without a doubt, the most advanced full stage acoustical shell of its kind... visually stunning and audibly superior for your full auditorium needs. Wenger's newest acoustical solution is the Forte Acoustical Shell, which enhances acoustics for both the ensemble and audience in small-to-medium sized performance spaces. The Legacy Acoustical Shell combines portability and ease of set up with acoustical projection in a variety of venues. Contact your Wenger representative today to design the right shell set for your space.

  • december 15, 2011

Mike Murphy Becomes Top Exec at J.R. Clancy

December 15, 2011: Syracuse, NY — Mike Murphy Becomes Top Exec at J.R. Clancy

After 30 years with J.R. Clancy, Bob Theis will step down from his position as chief executive officer on December 31, 2011. Theis will continue until July 2012 as an advisor to the board of Wenger Corporation, the company that owns J.R. Clancy.

Mike Murphy, who has served as president of Clancy since 2009, will become the company's top executive on January 1, 2012. He will retain the title of president.

In his 14 years with Clancy, Murphy has been integrally involved in sales, project management, new product development, and in supervision of some of the company's largest and most complex projects. He also developed and implemented the company's quality management program, which led to the company achieving ISO 9001 registration.

"Under Bob's leadership, J.R. Clancy has grown significantly in capabilities and in the strength of its business practices," Murphy said. "He established an important company goal that has become our mantra: Make Our Partners Successful. Thanks to his commitment to best practices, Clancy has been an ISO 9001-registered company since 2002, and we are listed as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States by Inc. magazine. Bob can be very proud of the things he accomplished at Clancy."

"I've worked with Mike since 1997, and I can honestly say that he's more than qualified to take on the leadership of J.R. Clancy," Theis said. "Mike and our management team are the best in the industry – there are none better."

Looking ahead, Murphy plans to maintain Clancy's leadership in product innovation and project management. "We're looking forward to introducing some dynamic new products, and expanding our international business in the coming years," Murphy said. "These are exciting times at J.R. Clancy."

More information about J.R. Clancy is available at www.jrclancy.com, or at (800) 836-1885.

  • november 16, 2011

No Shell Game: Ensuring Auditorium Acoustics

November 16, 2011: No Shell Game: Ensuring Auditorium Acoustics —

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  • november 14, 2011

Movers & shakers: Christopher Simpson of Wenger Corp.

November 14, 2011: Movers & shakers: Christopher Simpson of Wenger Corp.

Title: CEO

Age: 51

What's new: Simpson is right in tune with his new role as president and CEO of Owatonna-based Wenger Corp., whose products for music and theater education and performing arts are in classrooms and theaters across the country and around the world.

It helps that Simpson arrives at Wenger after 13 years at Pella Corp., the Iowa-based window and door manufacturer that, like Wenger, is privately held, in its third generation of family ownership and is professionally managed and governed.

"I wanted to lead an organization but couldn't imagine myself doing that in an organization that did not have a strong brand and a focus on doing whatever possible to satisfy customers," said Simpson, who spent 13 years at Whirlpool Corp. before joining Pella. "That's what I grew up in, that's what I found here with Wenger."

Wenger, with 500 employees, does most of its manufacturing locally, aside from a recent acquisition in Syracuse, N.Y., that makes rigging systems and equipment. 

While Owatonna is a fair piece from the bright lights of Broadway -- though it did supply products to a theater in Lincoln Center -- Wenger sells around the world, with salespeople scattered throughout North America and a sales office in Asia. 

The company also offers athletic equipment storage products that have seen rapid growth, said Simpson, a Michigan native who has an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Wenger's primary customers are K-12 schools, colleges and universities and professional performing arts centers, including the Cowles Center for the Performing Arts in Minneapolis, the University of St. Thomas' new athletic facility and Carleton College's new arts center.

Q How has the recession affected Wenger?

A Wenger has done a good job of expanding into new segments while growing our share in our traditional business. We are not down very much [from 2009 peak]. We're focusing on market share, maintaining a strong balance sheet and profit outlook.

Q Did you recognize the Wenger name from having played in band?

A I played sports in my high school days and was not in the band or performing arts. My kids were and they all knew the brand name Wenger. I had to do some research.

Q You're commuting?

A We've been living in Pella. It's 10,000 people, a great little small town. My wife was so excited to be moving up here. We're going to live in the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities and I'll do a commute down to Owatonna.

  • october 24, 2011

Christopher S. Simpson Named Wenger Corporation's President & CEO

October 24, 2011: Christopher S. Simpson Named Wenger Corporation's President — Owatonna, Minn. -- The Wenger Corporation formally announced that Christopher S. (Chris) Simpson has accepted the position of President & CEO, replacing William L. (Bill) Beer who retired October 14, 2011.

Over the last six years, Bill Beer guided Wenger through both good times and difficult times, always with a steady hand and always with personal and professional integrity and a strict adherence to WengerÕs core values. Wenger has been fortunate to have had Bill Beer lead our business during these challenging times.

Over 18 months ago, Bill Beer informed the Wenger Board of Directors of his intent to retire in 2011. Bill worked closely with the Board to accomplish a smooth succession process and we are pleased to announce Chris Simpson as President & CEO of the Wenger Corporation.

Chris Simpson has had an extensive and successful career with the Pella Corporation in Pella, Iowa, and with the Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Most recently, Chris served as Pella CorporationÕs Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales. Chris joined Pella Corporation in October of 1997 as Vice President, Direct Sales, and has held several different positions of increasing responsibilities since then. Prior to his current role, he served as Senior Group Vice President and had responsibility for all aspects of PellaÕs Architect Series¨ and Designer Series¨ wood product lines, as well as the Entry Systems Division.

Prior to joining Pella, Chris was with Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor, Michigan, for 13 years where he served in many areas of increasing responsibility in various Whirlpool divisions and locations. His last position was the General Manager of the Whirlpool Brand, where as a Corporate Officer, he was responsible for the strategic direction and all the marketing activities of the companyÕs largest brand.

Chris earned his B.S. from Michigan State University in East Lansing and his M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Michigan.

Chris and his wife Judy have four children and will be moving from Iowa to Minnesota in the coming months.

  • october 11, 2011

“Featured in School Band & Orchestra Magazine:
Brooklyn Center High School's Chris Porter — Creating a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of a great music program

 

  • august 5, 2011

Affordable, Eco-Friendly Music Storage Solution: New Edge Instrument Storage System from Wenger Corp.

August 5, 2011: Affordable, Eco-Friendly Music Storage Solution: New Edge Instrument Storage System from Wenger Corp. — Owatonna, Minn. -- The Edge Instrument Storage System from Wenger Corp. offers an economical, flexible solution for storing band/orchestra instruments and garments. ItÕs engineered to be easily customized to fit your space, needs and budget, while reducing your environmental impact.

The Edge system consists of a column/wall-bracket framework that reduces material requirements and associated costs while enabling on-site installation by the customer. The space-saving design incorporates shared walls between cabinets and no back panels, reducing floor space and linear feet requirements.

"For the quality I could see and feel, I knew the Edge system would be a much more feasible purchase than other cabinets," says Jonathan Grimsby, Director of Bands at Fridley High School in Fridley, Minn.

"I also thought the Edge system offered some advantages including saving valuable space in our band room because of the shared walls between cabinets." Grimsby explains, "Every inch of space in a band room is so valuable." He adds, "And because it ships disassembled, our shipping costs are reduced."

Various compartment shapes and sizes are available, along with more than 40 column configurations in 68" (1.7 m) or 84" (2.1 m) heights. Based on your unique requirements, Wenger helps design the optimal Edge system to fit current storage needs, optimize traffic flow patterns and plan for the future.

Constructed with high-quality materials, Edge cabinets provide the long-term durability customers expect from Wenger. Wall panels are ¾" (19mm) thick industrial-grade composite wood with a polyester laminate finish. Institutional-grade hardware provides strength and durability. Edge cabinets feature the same warranty as Wenger's regular instrument storage cabinets, now trademarked as UltraStor cabinets.

Seven exterior color combinations are available, all with Oyster interior color for improved optimal visibility of stored contents. Door options include compartment doors in wood or grille, or a door-ready design that accepts doors at a later date.

Four core material choices are available, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) wood options. The Edge system is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® and GREENGUARD Children & Schoolssm Certified.

New Music Storage Cabinets

The Edge Instrument Storage System offers economical storage of band/orchestra instruments and garments, easily customized to fit your needs and budget. Column/wall-bracket design reduces material costs and saves space. GREENGUARD Certified with four core materials, including FSC® wood. 10-year warranty.

  • august 4, 2011

Wenger Corporation Acquires Rigging Company, J.R. Clancy

August 4, 2011: Wenger Corporation Acquires Rigging Company, J.R. Clancy — Owatonna, Minn. -- Effective August 1, 2011, the Wenger Corporation, based in Owatonna, MN signed an agreement to acquire J.R. Clancy, Inc. based in Syracuse, NY.

This is exciting news for employees and business partners of both companies. The Wenger Corporation and J.R. Clancy are long standing privately owned businesses with shared values, dedicated and loyal employees, great brands, strong heritages, and great reputations in the market place.

It is our intent to operate these companies as complementary businesses. J.R. Clancy, led by Bob Theis and Mike Murphy, will remain J.R. Clancy. Wenger, led by Bill Beer, will remain Wenger. The headquarters of J.R. Clancy will remain in Syracuse and the headquarters for Wenger will remain in Owatonna.

Clearly, we anticipate that each business will benefit in the form of increased sales, broader depth and breadth of products, development of new markets, shared leverage and resources, and shared best practices. We are excited about joining these two great companies. This is a great transaction for both companies. Even more importantly, it is a great transaction for the employees of both companies!

  • may 25, 2011

Rebuilding years in the MIAC

May 25, 2011: Rebuilding years in the MIAC — Owatonna, Minn. -- Keeping up with St. Thomas just got more difficult with the school's new $52 million athletic complex, the latest in a conference-wide building boom.

"I thought, 'Wow, it doesn't get any better than this,' " Vidor said. "It's the nicest one I've ever seen. It was definitely a factor."

MIAC schools are part of NCAA Division III, which doesn't allow athletic scholarships. But that hasn't stopped conference members from pouring millions of dollars into athletic facilities in recent years.

The crown jewels are St. Thomas' new $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex and Macalester's $45 million Leonard Center, which opened three years ago. Both complexes have an arena for varsity sports such as basketball and volleyball plus a swimming pool, indoor track and a workout center to rival any health club.

Beyond the league's two newest facilities, there's also a $5 million football stadium at Gustavus Adolphus; a $12 million project at St. John's to expand and improve athletic facilities; a new locker room facility for football, soccer, baseball and track at Concordia (Moorhead); and a track and field/soccer complex at St. Mary's completed in 2009 and home to the 2010 conference track and field championships. And those are just the highlights of projects completed since 2007.

Within the past decade, almost every conference member has undertaken a major athletic building project. Carleton built an indoor athletic complex, Hamline has a renovated football stadium and workout center and Augsburg opened its Kennedy Center, with a wrestling training facility and fitness center, in 2006. St. Olaf's indoor track facility, completed in '02, helped persuade highly successful Gophers men's coach Phil Lundin to make the move to Northfield and head the Oles' track program.

"I think it's definitely a great positive," MIAC Executive Director Dan McKane said of the recent athletic improvements. "It creates a lot of excitement. It also does create a bit of an arms race, kind of like watching what your neighbors are doing, and feeling you have to keep up with the Joneses."

Attraction for all students

There is a notable difference between the facilities "arms race" between Division III and the mega-facilities that house Division I athletics. In D-III, the facilities, such as fitness centers and indoor tracks, are open to the entire student body and are seen as an enhancement to recruiting all students, not just top varsity athletes.

"Certainly, we knew a new building would help us recruit athletes, but we also knew it would help us recruit students," said Laurie Hamre, Macalester vice president of student affairs. "Our facilities prior to this were abysmal. We couldn't offer our students any activity for fitness."

St. Thomas officials say their new complex was built with the same intention, but the Tommies' new structure has created significantly more concern about keeping a level playing field within the conference. UST has all the bells and whistles, such as Jumbotron scoreboards and lavish locker rooms; Macalester built its facility without a football locker room, leaving the team's center underneath the football stadium.

Macalester has struggled to compete in most sports, so much so in football that the program left the MIAC to play an independent schedule eight years ago.

St. Thomas is a different story. The Tommies contend annually in almost every sport, and this past season captured the D-III national men's basketball championship, went undefeated in winning the MIAC football title and captured the league's all-sports title for both genders. Mark Dienhart, formerly the Gophers men's athletic director and now the St. Thomas executive vice president and chief administrative officer, said school officials are "extremely sensitive about how people perceive [the new athletic complex]. ... I'm pretty sure no one is saying Macalester is overemphasizing athletics."

When it comes to St. Thomas, many probably agree with legendary St. John's football coach John Gagliardi, a close friend of Dienhart who said, at least partly in jest: "That doggone Dienhart. ... He should have never left the University of Minnesota. He's in a key position, and he really stresses athletics."

Dienhart said winning athletic teams are, and should be, "a part of our culture," because it sends a message about St. Thomas' dedication to excellence on all fronts. Conference schools all share that philosophy, although some clearly put more emphasis, and dollars, into athletics.

St. John's athletic director Tom Stock said his school's current facilities upgrade are predicated at least in part on staying competitive in all sports. "We didn't need $52 million, because we started from a better base," Stock said. "But everyone in the league has to upgrade to maintain a competitive level."

St. Thomas is the largest MIAC school with about 5,500 undergrad students, and funds for the center came largely from a $60 million donation by Lee and Penny Anderson. That donation is part of a $500 million, seven-year campus fundraising drive that is now only $44 million shy of its goal with 18 months remaining.

Are Tommies too strong?

That sort of financial wherewithal, symbolized by the athletic center, is causing some concern among rival coaches.

Augsburg football coach Frank Haege said if he's recruiting against St. Thomas and facilities are the top priority for the youngster, the Tommies will almost certainly prevail. Bethel football coach Steve Johnson, whose team defeated St. Thomas in last year's NCAA playoffs, said he has already lost at least one top recruit to the Tommies because of facilities.

Both coaches say they have to sell prospective recruits on their school being the right fit, academically and socially as well as athletically.

"Certain kids come to Augsburg because it's in the heart of the city, with a lot of culture going on," Haege said. "They don't necessarily care if your fieldhouse is as big as somebody else's."

Said Johnson: "Each school has its niche. ... We don't recruit on facilities."

But the unanswered question is whether St. Thomas' glitzy new complex will attract an inordinate share of elite D-III athletes, and tip the level playing field. Bloomington Jefferson senior Marcus Alipate attracted interest from several D-I basketball programs, but chose St. Thomas.

He said his decision was based on numerous factors, including athletic facilities at St. Thomas that he said matched what he saw at the lower-level D-I programs he visited.

"They have Division I facilities at a Division III school," said Alipate, whose older brother, Moses, is a quarterback for the Gophers. "The technology, the workout areas and locker rooms. It's phenomenal."

For McKane, those words are reason to be wary about a level playing field.

"It's something on my mind," the executive director said. "There's no doubt that when you're recruiting the best kids, they want to compete in shiny new facilities. ... I do worry about the viability of budgets at some of our schools. I think other schools are definitely feeling pressure."

  • march 23, 2011

Greening Up Nicely: Wenger Corp. Advances Environmental Initiative

March 23, 2011: New Forest Stewardship Council Certification and Expanded GREENGUARD-Certified Product Offering — Owatonna, Minn. -- To help promote healthier environments and the stewardship of natural resources, Wenger Corporation has expanded the number of its products certified by accredited, independent organizations.

Wenger storage cabinets for instruments, garments, sheet music and miscellaneous items like music folios are now available with environmentally responsible wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) as an option.

In addition, Wenger music posture chairs and music stands, conductor's equipment, SoundLok Sound-Isolating Practice Rooms and GearBoss¨ high-density storage systems recently obtained the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality and GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certifications. Wenger obtained these certifications for its musical instrument and equipment storage solutions in 2009.

About FSC®: The FSC® Chain of Custody certification (FSC® CoC) ensures that wood is tracked through all stages of production Ð from forest to consumer - and verifies that environmentally responsible practices are followed. FSC® CoC certification can help demonstrate compliance with U.S. LEED standards and European Ecolabel criteria.

About GREENGUARD: These GREENGUARD certifications promote healthy indoor environments and air quality through reduced exposure to chemical emissions and other pollutants. To qualify, products must undergo annual testing for more than 10,000 different chemicals and meet rigorous health-based criteria for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including phthalates and formaldehyde.

Wenger is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, and committed to fulfilling the USGBC's mission of promoting green building practices.

About Wenger Corporation

Wenger Corporation provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage and transport. For more than 65 years Wenger has been listening to what our customers need and then designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and functional products to meet those needs.

Wenger pioneered sound isolation in practice rooms and now offers modular rooms with virtual acoustic technology (VAE) and built-in digital recording/playback. Products for music and theatre spaces include: pre-engineered acoustical doors, sound-isolating music practice rooms, acoustical shells, acoustical wall and ceiling treatment, instrument and equipment storage cabinets, audience seating, portable stage platforms and staging systems, music posture and portable audience chairs, orchestra pit fillers, makeup stations, tiered risers and music furniture.

Our GearBoss® line of athletic storage products includes: team room lockers, high-density storage systems, shelving, multi-function carts, mobile water carts, merchandise kiosks for fundraising and a full complement of accessories.

In addition to our headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger has facilities in Canada and China, along with international distributors. For more information, please contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER or visit www.wengercorp.com.

  • march 2011

Acoustic Revivals: Auditorium renovation projects in the United States and Hong Kong showcase the stunning visual and aural impact of new full-stage acoustic shells

Acoustic Revivals: Auditorium renovation projects in the United States and Hong Kong showcase the stunning visual and aural impact of new full-stage acoustic shells thumbnailAcoustic Revivals: Auditorium renovation projects in the United States and Hong Kong showcase the stunning visual and aural impact of new full-stage acoustic shells

March 2011: Acoustic Revivals: Auditorium renovation projects in the United States and Hong Kong showcase the stunning visual and aural impact of new full-stage acoustic shells — When it opened in 1928, the historic Carpenter Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, USA featured interior architecture in a Spanish baroque style. After renovation and restoration, the Carpenter reopened in 2009. While theauditorium's physical dimensions were kept, with nearly 1,800 seats, the Carpenter's vaudeville-era stage house was replaced: its depth and width were almost doubled, and the grid was raised to over 21m. Other updates included an enlarged orchestra pit, new 80-line manual counterweight rigging system and Wenger acoustical shell provided as part of a complete stage equipment package supplied by Texas Scenic Company.

"We wanted a memorable acoustic shell," recalls Bruce Herrmann, AIA, director at Wilson Butler Architects of Boston, Massachusetts. "We had worked with acoustic equipment specialist Wenger on other unusual shells over the past 10 years and knew they would get into the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish. They roll up their sleeves and offer solutions Ð even when we're asking for something new."

The Carpenter's interior sidewalls resemble building faades, complete with balconies, statues and inset niches glowing blue from the 'twilight' lighting behind them. To continue the feeling of a skyline's depth, Wenger sandwiched together two of its Diva full-stage acoustic shell wall panels. The 'blue sky' Diva panel at the back recedes behind the 'city wall' Diva panel in front.

Wenger constructed niche boxes, or insets, in six of the 11 Diva wall towers, inspired by the niches in the auditorium's walls and featuring hidden lights to create a bluish, twilight glow. One of Wenger's biggest manufacturing challenges was cutting these niches in the wall towers and unusual 'skyline' shapes along the shell's top edges.

Herrmann and Wenger worked together to create the Diva's unusual shapes and angles. "If Wenger couldn't cut the exact shape or angle that I was looking for, they would send me a sample approximating it," he recalls. "Wenger was great to work with and the result turned out really well.

"All the interior architectural elements are intended to enhance the temporary suspension of disbelief Ð imagine you are in a plaza under the evening sky," says Herrmann. This visual treatment was also carried through to the acoustic shell, which features a vibrant colour scheme painted on by EverGreene Architectural Arts; they also painted the theatre's interior. The theatre design consultant was Theatre Projects; the acoustic consultant was JaffeHolden.

Herrmann believes that if orchestra shells are really done well, the audience members feel like they're in the same room with the orchestra. Aurally, shells strive to join the stage house and audience chamber into one acoustic space, for the benefit of both audience and performers.

"The Diva shell helps us create the best acoustic environment for the musicians," says Laura Bordner Adams, director of orchestral operations with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. "Musicians are now able to hear each other, which enables them to play together as a much more unified group."

Technical director Steve Sweet says the Carpenter's crew can deploy the shell in less than two hours and strike it in under one. For storage, he likes how the Diva towers nest together and stack fairly tight.

The Carpenter Theatre beautifully blends the new and old Ð recalling a golden past while adding the Diva shell and other enhancements for the future. "Some people who saw shows here as kids are now bringing their grandchildren," says Herrmann. "Memorable buildings have the potential to be enjoyed by generations who haven't even been born yet. What a great legacy to leave behind."

Sha Tin Town Hall, Hong Kong

Halfway around the world in Asia, the tremendous growth in performing arts facilities is laying the foundation for new traditions of excellence. Recognised as one of the Hong Kong's finest performing arts centres, Sha Tin Town Hall features a wide range of performance and exhibition venues. Its centrepiece is a 1,372-seat auditorium for dance, drama and music.M

To improve this venue's acoustics and flexibility for different musical performances, Wenger recently installed a Diva acoustic shell, replacing an older shell. The inaugural performance in February 2010 was in conjunction with the Chinese New Year; the facility opened in 1987.

This new shell is comprised of 12 wall towers and three rows of ceiling panels with 66 built-in lights and a fire-retardant painted finish.

Wenger's distributor partner in Hong Kong, Claridge House, negotiated and communicated all the project details; Francis Fok is sales manager. Wenger provided two different shell configuration options to accommodate various performing groups or solo performers. Wenger installers marked the stage accordingly, allowing the technical staff to easily move the towers into the correct position.

Facilitating this movement is an Air Transporter, which supports a majority of the tower weight on a cushion of air. The custommade wooden stage floor of the Sha Tin Town Hall, designed to provide resilience for dance performances, had been damaged by the previous shell so the Diva shell's improved mobility and setup were key advantages. Diva towers also feature soft rear casters to help minimise floor damage and adjustable front levellers to align adjacent wall towers over any floor irregularities.

"This Diva shell's lightweight aluminium structure and honeycomb panels weigh significantly less than the steel-and-wood construction of the previous shell," explains Nancy Wagner, director, international sales at Wenger. "It gives a new, more trendy face to the auditorium," adds Andy Tsui, the resident technical manager in the Culture Services Office (New Territories East) of Sha Tin Town Hall. "It is pleasant-looking, well-lit and much brighter."

Along with acoustic shells, Wenger outfits performing arts facilities around the world with a wide range of support equipment including staging platforms, choral risers, music stands, music posture chairs and storage cabinets.

The new Studio VAE Technology is covered by a five-year warranty. For information about this technology or any of Wenger's products, contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER. For more information on VAE technology, please visit WengerCorp.com/VAE.

  • October 10, 2010

SoundLok™ Sound Isolation Room

SoundLok™ Sound Isolation Room thumbnailSoundLok™ Sound Isolation Room

Oct. 10, 2010: Owatonna, Minn— Improved acoustical performance, enhanced design aesthetics and new accessory options are among the key upgrades Wenger Corp. offers in its new SoundLok™ Sound-Isolation Rooms.

Acoustically, the door's new cam-type hinge offers greater sound isolation, as do ceiling panels that are 50 percent thicker. As always, sound-isolation performance is guaranteed.

Aesthetically, Wenger now offers four color options for wall and ceiling panels, two trim colors for doors and windows and three wood-grain interior accent colors. New low-profile fluorescent light fixtures provide even, shadow-free illumination. Even the door handle's design was updated to a more contemporary look.

Wenger now offers rooms in a wider variety of standard sizes and configurations – 120 total – with greater height flexibility (from 7’ 6" to 10’ in 6" increments). New accessory options include mountable drop-down shelf for laptop computer, full-length mirror and mountable digital tuner/metronome.

Beyond music practice, other applications for SoundLok rooms include meeting rooms, museum spaces, broadcast/recording studios and anywhere else superior sound isolation is desired.

Since introducing modular sound-isolation rooms more than 40 years ago, customer input has always driven Wenger innovation. For example, Virtual Acoustic Environments® (VAE) technology in a SoundLok room creates an integrated learning environment ideal for individual or small-group music practice, with built-in record/playback capabilities and active acoustics to simulate nine acoustical environments.

For more information the SoundLok™ Sound Isolation Room, please visit WengerCorp.com/Acoustic/Sound Isolation or contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER.

  • feb 2, 2010

New Conductor's Equipment

New Flex™ Conductor's System thumbnailNew Flex™ Conductor's System

Feb. 2, 2010: Owatonna, Minn— The new Flex™ Conductor's System accommodates a director's personal preferences and technology in an ergonomic, flexible solution. The core components – music stand and adaptable platforms – function as an integrated system or individually.

The transparent polycarbonate desk of the Flex® Conductor's Stand tilts and rotates smoothly, with dual-lock feature providing 180-degree versatility. Desk height is adjustable from 36” – 52.5” with trigger-release lever. Optional storage baskets attach without tools, designed for holding sheet music and other materials.

To keep technology and teaching materials within easy reach, Flex® TechBridge platforms integrate with the base of the Conductor's Stand. Attachments include keyboard and laptop computer mounts, an 18” x 24” work surface and a cup holder. Additional universal clamps are available for further customization by the director. TechBridge lengths are available in one-foot increments from 2' to 8'; height adjusts from 29” to 41”.

Constructed of extruded aluminum with a wheeled, cast-iron base for mobility, the Conductor's Stand and TechBridges are engineered for trouble-free performance. The complete Flex® Conductor's System includes two-step podium with detachable safety rail and padded, pneumatically adjustable chair. All Flex® components are covered by a five-year warranty.

For more information the Flex™ Conductor's System, please visit http://www.wengercorp.com//conductors-equipment/flex-conductors-system.php or contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER.

  • december 5, 2009

Commanding Performances: Innovative New OnBoard™ Marching Band Podiums from Wenger Corp

Innovative New OnBoard™ Marching Band Podiums thumbnailInnovative New OnBoard™ Marching Band Podiums

Dec. 5, 2009: Owatonna, Minn— With the introduction of new Drum Major and Auxiliary Podiums, Wenger Corp. is expanding its OnBoard® product family of specialized equipment for marching bands, drum corps and similar groups.

In less than 30 seconds, two people can erect the OnBoard Drum Major Podium to its full 72" (1.8 m) height. The innovative, easy-fold design features gas-assist springs that minimize the lifting effort required. When set up, this podium provides a solid, secure vantage point with non-skid, heavy-duty deck and optional safety rails.

For transportation, four large-diameter, high-wear rubber wheels provide easy mobility over any surface. When folded it can serve as a trailer for other equipment; it will also fit inside most trailers and trucks. Intended as a companion to the larger Drum Major Podium, Wenger's 42" (l.1 m) OnBoard Auxiliary Podium can be assembled by one person. Both podium models feature an attractive appearance, with durable, heavy-gauge steel and aluminum construction, and black powder-coat paint finish.

“This new Drum Major Podium is working out very well for us,” explains Brad Furlano, executive director of the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps, a DCI group based in La Crosse, Wis.

“The way the platform raises up is pretty ingenious – it's a great design,” he explains. “The wheel system is very easy to roll, lock and make stable.”

Furlano says their previous podium was unwieldy in the way it folded up and the wheels attached. It was also difficult to lift, move, set up and stabilize. “We like how the rails are removable – we only use the back rail,” notes Furlano. “Whatever configuration you want, it's ready to go and can meet your needs.”

When members of the Blue Stars are loading or unloading this new podium from their equipment truck, Furlano says there are logical, easy places to grab it, without many pinch points or places to potentially get injured.

Along with these two new podiums, seven different OnBoard Cart models are currently available for instruments, uniforms, equipment and other gear. They are designed to facilitate transportation, logistics and storage, saving time and protecting valuable equipment. All OnBoard products are covered by a five-year warranty.

For more information about any OnBoard products, please visit WengerCorp.com/OnBoard or contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER.

  • november 3, 2009

Customer Praise for OnBoard® Drum Major Podium

Customer Praise thumbnailCustomer Praise

Nov. 3, 2009: Dean Eelman, Newnan High School —

First, I want to let you know that the podium arrived at Newnan High School first thing last Friday morning. The band directors and the drum majors were ecstatic. It took about 10 seconds to put the podium up and that was with the band director having a cup of coffee in his hand!!

The best news is this. I am attaching a picture of Newnan Band's head drum major on the new first time used Wegner podium. This picture was taken at the end of the show at the Georgia Band Masters Band Competition. The smile on our drum major's face is because the band just performed an outstanding show. The show was so good that it won best band for its size and for the competition!! Newnan High School Band were the champions for a show directed on a new Wegner podium. How's that for advertising?

Thank you for working with me to help make this podium possible.

  • october 20, 2009

Wenger Aids Music Room Makeover

Music Room Makeover thumbnailMusic Room Makeover

Oct. 20, 2009: News cameras from Portland-area TV stations were on-hand this morning at Gardiner Middle School in Oregon City, Oregon, for an exciting event in support of music education. This school was selected the winner of In Tune Monthly magazine's annual “Music Room Makeover” contest. Wenger was one of ten companies donating equipment, providing 50 Nota chairs and Classic 50 music stands. Music teacher Cheryl Rizzo submitted the winning application essay.

Region Sales Manager Jeff Kirkpatrick attended the ceremony and acknowledged the recognition given to Wenger Corporation for its support. Approximately 100 students participated in the event, along with the school principal, superintendent and two school board members.

The representatives of In Tune Monthly magazine mentioned Wenger numerous times in their remarks, and also stressed the importance of music education in schools. Despite the tough economic times, In Tune Monthly received more sponsor support this year than during any of the previous four years.

  • october 6, 2009

Wenger’s Music Room Storage Solutions Achieve GREENGUARD’s Children & Schools™ Certification

GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®

Oct. 6, 2009: Initiative Aimed at Providing Good Indoor Air Quality in Schools — Wenger Corporation is proud to announce that its musical instrument and equipment storage solutions have achieved GREENGUARD Children & Schools™ Certification.

While providing innovative, high-quality storage options for music programs, we also understand the important role indoor air quality plays in a child's education,” said Stacy Hanson, marketing manager with Wenger, based in Owatonna, Minnesota. “And we want to ensure our products help promote the best possible learning environment.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is important for health, economic and legal reasons. Indoor air pollutants can cause discomfort, and they are directly linked to children’s health and academic performance. Independent studies show student test scores increase by an average of 14 percent in classrooms with improved indoor air quality.

We are pleased to welcome Wenger Corporation as a participating manufacturer in the GREENGUARD Certification Program,” stated Marilyn Black, founder of the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI). “With music room storage solutions achieving this certification, Wenger continues to show its commitment to good indoor air quality.

The GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification is among the most stringent in the world and takes into account the special sensitivities of children. It requires all products be tested annually for more than 10,000 different chemicals and meet rigorous health-based criteria for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including phthalates and formaldehyde. For more information about the GEI, visit GREENGUARD.org.

  • june 26, 2009

NewFixed Audience Seating from Wenger Corp

Fixed Audience Seating thumbnailFixed Audience Seating

June 26, 2009: Wenger Corporation, which supplies the world's finest performing arts venues with innovative, high-quality equipment and furniture, introduces Fixed Audience Seating. Three available designs with a multitude of finish options to ensure these new seats complement a wide variety of dŽcors and budgets.

Each seat features handcrafted, ergonomic styling with thick cushions and lumbar support for superior, long-lasting comfort. Seat bottoms, backs and end panels are constructed of 11-ply pressed wood finished with premium-grade veneers and stains. Luxurious upholstery with durable stitching resists stains and looks great for years. All seat designs are ADA-compliant and available widths range from 19” (48.2cm) through 23” (58.4cm).

To help eliminate distracting noise, Wenger's special lifting mechanism makes the seat bottom's automatic self-rise extremely quiet and fast. The seat bottoms store vertically to allow patrons easy access and exit. When seat is unoccupied, the perforated seat bottom helps maintain consistent acoustical characteristics in the performance space.

Options include donor plates, seat and aisle number plates and aisle lighting. The Series 300 seat features a pedestal base that provides proper airflow for floor-level HVAC installations. Each seat design has been independently tested to standards established by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA); these tests measure strength, stability and ability to withstand heavy use.

For more information, please contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER.

  • april 28, 2009

New Team Room Lockers from GearBoss® by Wenger

New Team Room Lockers thumbnailNew Team Room Lockers

Apr. 28, 2009: GearBoss® by Wenger Corp. offers a variety of team room lockers designed to strengthen program pride and enhance team room functionality. More than 1,000 different possible configurations are available — sizes, features and accessories — with either metal or wood construction. Lockers are available in a variety of color/finish choices, from school colors to wood-grain laminates.

Metal AirPro™ lockers feature an open grid design that promotes airflow, sanitation and visual inspection. The integrated, hinged seat saves valuable floor space and is lockable over a security box and footlocker.

Wood lockers are constructed of a durable, easy-to-clean wood laminate. To promote sanitation, all metal locker surfaces are finished with paint containing antimicrobial agents; wooden laminate surfaces incorporate antimicrobial nanosilver technology.

  • february 6, 2009

In Step with a Marching Band’s Needs

In Step with a Marching Band thumbnailIn Step with a Marching Band

Feb. 6, 2009: New OnBoard™ Cart System from Wenger Corp. Takes Marching Band Gear from Storage to Performance – and Back Again — Wenger Corp. developed the new OnBoard™ Cart System to suit the specialized needs and equipment of marching bands, drum corps and similar groups. OnBoard Carts are designed to facilitate transportation, logistics and storage, saving time and protecting valuable equipment. Seven different OnBoard Cart models are currently available for instruments, uniforms, equipment and other gear.

Five OnBoard Cart models are performance-ready for field competitions or indoor concerts, and also function as transport and storage solutions: 1) the Bass Drum/Gong Cart holds instruments up to a 40” diameter and rotates in 15-degree increments; 2) the Timpani Cart fits four pedal-style timpani and features a fold-down player platform; 3) the Percussion Cart accommodates a wide selection of small percussion instruments; 4) the Speaker Cart angles to 45, 30, 15 and 0 degrees; 5) the Keyboard Cart supports 88-key keyboard and related electronic equipment.

Each of these five performance-ready OnBoard Carts features a metal tow bar and can be transported by a golf cart or Gator – either individually or linked together – or by hand. The large pneumatic tires roll easily on any surface, including turf.

Two OnBoard Cart models are designed primarily for behind-the-scenes storage and transport needs: 1) the Cargo Cart can be configured with shelves for marching band instruments or a garment bar for hanging up to 35 uniforms; 2) the Uniform Cart holds 24 uniforms and fits in coach bus storage compartments. These two OnBoard Carts are available with either pneumatic tires or non-marring solid rubber casters.

Our field research found that many marching bands struggle with inadequate or poorly designed solutions for effectively handling their equipment,” says Nancy Clark, OnBoard Product Manager at Wenger Corp. “Developing this OnBoard Cart System continues the proud Wenger tradition of listening to our customers, which has been at the heart of our business for more than 60 years.” She adds that other OnBoard Carts may be introduced in the future.

All OnBoard Carts feature durable, heavy-gauge steel construction and a consistent visual appearance, including a black powder-coat finish that blends into the background. They are covered by a five-year warranty.

For more information about any of these OnBoard Carts, please visit WengerCorp.com/OnBoard or contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER.

  • january 26, 2009

New Studio VAE™ Technology Enhances Existing Built-in Music Practice Rooms or Teaching Studios

Jan. 26, 2009: Retrofit Solution Improves Music Practice and Assessment — Wenger Corp. developed its new Studio VAE™ (Virtual Acoustical Environments™) Technology as an affordable, retrofit solution to provide existing built-in practice rooms or teaching studios with leading-edge teaching/practice tools for music education. The Studio VAE features capabilities for record/playback and upload/download; simulations of nine virtual acoustical environments; and a user-friendly control panel.

With the Studio VAE, Wenger expands its exclusive offering of integrated learning environments for music. The digital record/playback capability enables teachers to easily evaluate an individual student's instrumental or vocal performance; students also have the opportunity for self-critique. The Studio VAE records up to nine sessions totaling 60 minutes. Upload/download capability enables musicians to record a practice session or upload accompaniments.

By selecting from the Studio VAE's nine active-acoustic settings, musicians can learn how to optimize their performance in different environments. Benefits include accelerated development of critical listening skills; improved articulation, dynamics and timing; and a more enjoyable practice session. Studio VAE settings include Baroque room, recital halls, auditoriums, cathedral and arena.

Components of the Studio VAE Technology system include: VAE digital processor (intended for placement on a table/shelf or rack mounting); four speakers (for ceiling-height installation in each room corner); two wall absorber panels (1' x 2' x 3" thick) with integrated microphones; VAE control panel pedestal; and other materials needed for installation. (Installation by Wenger technicians is required.) Studio VAE Technology is recommended for rooms up to 180 square feet.

Developed in partnership with Lexicon Professional, a leader in audio signal processing, Studio VAE Technology uses Lexicon's patented technology to offer realistic acoustical simulations, including enhanced early reflections. These reflections contribute to the sensation of being enveloped – or surrounded – by the sound, and enable musicians to hear themselves in a particular space more accurately.

The Studio VAE features easy, intuitive operation, including visual feedback from an LED display and backlit, 18-button control panel. The optional foot control provides convenient, hands-free playback and recording.

The new Studio VAE Technology is covered by a five-year warranty. For information about this technology or any of Wenger's products, contact Wenger Corporation at 1-800-4WENGER. For more information on VAE technology, please visit WengerCorp.com/VAE.