d&b and Singapore's IGNITE Festival at the Republic Polytechnic
Modern educational institutions are not immune from the effects of the current economic maelstrom, especially these days when they're required to run on a solid commercial footing. Lowering costs is the fundamental and it can be achieved in many ways; embed a solid college culture to retain good staff; make staff training cost effective, and make school attractive to the students. Bizarrely the IGNITE Music Festival staged this summer at The Republic Polytechnic in Singapore has some sharp answers to those imperatives. Maybe college can teach commerce a thing or two?
The premise was simple enough, Republic Polytechnic has a Cultural Centre the TRCC (The Republic Culture Centre) headed by Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, within which is an able student body being tutored in the whys and wherefores of public presentation, sound, light, video: you name it they learn it. So what better way to learn than let them put together the festival, with a little guidance?
"The major preoccupation with all students is sound," began Tony Kam Assistant Director (Technical Operations). "If it doesn't sound good the excitement isn't there, and without excitement the festival falls flat. So there's a lot of attention paid to audio. We had two stages; a main stage for full on loud rock, and an acoustic stage for the more intimate experience. Opposite ends of the performance spectrum requiring very different responses. The PA systems were put together by my in house technical team at the Poly; they defined system, position and size of rig, but naturally the students assisted, putting it up, and effectively it was they who ran the show. We purchased a Q-Series system from d&b audiotechnik last summer, and knew this would be ideal for the main stage." Main stage featured a large Q1 loudspeaker rig with Q and B2 subwoofers. "Since we bought into the Q-Series our in-school technical team have attended several seminars on System Design and Application, Theory and Practise and related subjects. These were run by Anil Suhood from the d&b Singapore office and Stefan Goertz from the d&b Education and Application department in Germany. Our team now has a great reservoir of expertise and, I believe, can make system designs for any application."
What has all this to do with the college's commercial imperatives? "The Polytechnic as a whole invests in high quality training in all aspects of its curriculum; as much as the school can afford, and it is a big part of our budget. It's an investment that sets us apart from other colleges. I am fortunate that the technicians all stay with us and have a passion for the Arts. A big part of that is the fact we're always updating their skills. I am sure Sebastian Song", head of d&b's Singapore office, "and d&b will continue being a major contributing factor in the training mix. The advantage of having a d&b office here in Singapore is that Sebastian is able to take members of our technical team and put them into lots of different environments off campus. That keeps them fresh, brings added skills back into the school, and sends a clear message to the students of real world experience. It is very exciting for the technical team to always be learning new skills outside of school, and that's an excitement powerfully transmitted back to the students. So, when we come to do a festival like IGNITE, the students and the technical team, have the confidence to explore new territory, as we did this year with the acoustic stage where we used the new d&b E-Series loudspeakers. We had no experience of these new loudspeakers whatsoever, but Sebastian Song offered them to us. We looked closely at the technical specification and decided the needs of the festival's acoustic stage could be achieved with this system." Song supported the festival with a system of E12-D and E8 loudspeakers with E15X subwoofers.
"Experimenting like this also allows the school an opportunity to examine new products when contemplating further investment. Listening to the sound, these E-Series loudspeakers had the quality we wanted, like all d&b loudspeakers the sound quality is assured. Even though our set-up was between two buildings, which restricted our design to throw more energy to the back with the system we wanted, we had to re-splay the angles of the clusters just off the wall of the building to reduce reflections to the audience. This also helped the FoH sound engineer have a better mix position. Even with all the stress we had in the process of preparing this event, we experienced the potential of the new E-Series system and that gave us a good measure to judge by. My technical team and the students all agreed."