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Starting from scratch

    Established in 1995 through a bilateral agreement between the US and Indian governments, the AISC initially staged dramatic productions and other large scale events in the school’s gymnasium. However, in 2012 it was decided that a new building would be constructed to house facilities including a state of the art auditorium, a theatre, music and choir classrooms and some art rooms.

    Michael Caemmerer, theatre manager at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, was brought in by the new school director Andrew Hoover to assist, having been involved in renovating the auditorium in New Delhi. Mr Caemmerer’s brief was to make the entire building educationally appropriate.

    ‘Neither architects nor the school administration had much of an idea of how to outfit a theatre or how to design performance classroom spaces,’ he recalls. ‘All the structural concrete was in place, and the only instructions the previous director – by now departed – had given was to build the biggest space possible. The original design came up with a 1,200 seat auditorium for a school with 900 students. The architects had no real experience designing theatres, let alone educational performance space. They just built huge.’

    Fortunately, Mr Caemmerer was brought into the project early enough to influence its direction. ‘They had designed no rigging for lights or sound, and no catwalk, with only a soundproof room from which to run mixing,’ he continues. ‘There was no ability to get set pieces onto the stage, nor had they made any real acoustic treatment considerations. Hiring me made the budget balloon as they had not considered so many things, some of those being structural. But the school was committed to having a signature facility, and fortunately the architects and project managers fully admitted they really didn`t understand how to create the proper finished space. It was great working with them as they were open to learning; no ego at all.’

    Mumbai-based distributor Rivera International was called in to give a proposal for the auditorium. Mr Caemmerer put forward Adamson for consideration among other brands, having rented a Y10 line array system for one of the school shows. Engineers from Rivera International, together with Adamson applications engineer David Dohrmann, came up with a solution consisting of an Adamson Metrix line array system.

    ‘The brief was that the array should not be big and should be flown as wide as possible,’ says Rivera’s Prasad Patil. ‘The distance between the stage and bottom of array should be a minimum 4.5m so as not to interfere with the screen. Applications would primarily be school functions and live bands. It was a pleasant surprise to be contracted to supply and install an Adamson system since our solution was an expensive one, and many other major speaker brands and integrators in India had also quoted for the project.’

    The system consists of eight Adamson Metrix-i ultra compact two-way line array enclosures with EIR (enclosed installation rigging), two Metrix-i (wide) cabinets and two Spektrix subwoofers, with four Adamson Point 12 stage monitors. Power is delivered via Lab.gruppen C 88:4 and C 48:4 amplifiers, and Rivera also supplied Lake LM 26 and LM 44 processors plus a DiGiCo SD9 Red Snapper digital console with two D-Racks and digital snakes. Installation and system tuning was completed in three days, followed by a training period for both the new sound system and the DiGiCo SD9.

    ‘We are very happy to be associated with this installation at AISC,’ says Mr Patil. ‘Despite being an educational institution, the client has not compromised on the equipment. ASIC has got the best of all worlds with its Adamson system, Lab.gruppen amps and DiGiCo console.’ 

    The auditorium is now being run by Renganathan Nethaji, who has an impressive track record in sound engineering, having studied at the government film institute, and worked on a wide range of Tamil movies, in radio and at A R Rahman’s AM studios. Mr Nethaji joined in the auditorium’s installation phase, working with Mr Caemmerer to integrate the equipment. He was also instrumental in selecting the DiGiCo console.

    ‘I’d heard lots of good things about it, including some features that other consoles didn’t have, although I’d never used one before,’ he says. ‘I spoke to some engineers at Sound.com in Mumbai who use this console, and I was convinced. We’re very happy with it so far, it’s fantastic, and I’m still learning, which Rivera is helping me with a lot. As for the Adamson system, it sounds really great and we’re now planning to buy another four Adamson boxes, adding two to each array to improve coverage in the front row.’

    Mr Nethaji also selected Sennheiser EW 145 and EW 114 radio mic systems, E9000 series mics and Sennheiser E912 boundary mics, the latter for larger dramatic productions.

    The AISC is now able to present a wide range of events, including a recent children’s cabaret with more than 50 different performers and dramatic productions of Robin Hood and The Mahabharata, as well as an ongoing programme of musical concerts and plays. The hall can also be used for other events such as meetings and assemblies, bringing the school up to a truly international standard where the performing arts are concerned.

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