Concert Hall Gets Major Upgrades

The Tony Bennett Concert Hall will look the same, but thanks to a $500,000 technology upgrade, it will sound and feel completely different.

The Tony Bennett Concert Hall, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ (FSSA) very own concert hall is getting a facelift with a $500,000 renovation project going toward updated technology and equipment, according to FSSA principal Mr. Frankel.

Compared to other New York City high schools, FSSA has some of the best technology within the building, especially in the concert hall. But with the rapid change to audio, visual and film technology, the school saw an opportunity for growth.

The concert hall is where students get to showcase their talents on the big stage to other students and families throughout the year. It also hosts the school’s musical theater productions, instrumental concerts, vocal productions, dance productions, film festival and of course graduation.

There was a lot of conversation between Mr. Frankel and the school’s stage manager, Andre Vasquez, before this decision was made. 

At first, the school applied for a grant, and during the spring of 2017 received  the Capital Improvement Grant from the Queens Borough President’s office. The Reso A technology grant allowed the school to buy computers, as well as updating technology used in the concert hall, black box theater and media lab.

“It’s really important that our concert hall and that our facilities stay up to date and that we provide you guys [students and faculty] with the best technology,” Mr. Frankel said.

The lighting and sound system are both being upgraded, as well as a 3-D projector, being the concert hall’s newest piece of equipment. In terms of audio, instead of the old 20 channels of sound, there will now be more than 100 channels. As for video taping, students will now be using robotic cameras that allow the user to run and edit at the same time. The film lab, black box and concert hall will also be connected, allowing the students to conduct audio and video recording in each space. 

Don’t expect too much change to the look of the concert hall because most of what’s happening is behind the scenes.

“The renovations and the upgrades are really behind the walls and the wiring,” Mr. Frankel said.

Film students will now able to show their films in 4K, which is the latest technology. Stagecraft students will be training with the new technology as it arrives. Once all the upgrades are installed, students will incorporate all of the new equipment into FSSA productions.

Senior drama major, Johanna Paulino, who is also a part of stagecraft is very excited about the new changes. 

“I think that it definitely is going to make the show season this year a lot better,” she said. 

Mr. Frankel states that all of the renovations to the concert hall should be up and running in time for the sophomore drama production of “The Names That Hurt” on Friday. Nov. 22, and the school’s annual Holiday concert. The friends and families that come to see FSSA performances will be able to notice that the sound, lighting and overall experience of the Tony Bennet Concert Hall has been amplified.

–  by Olivia Celis ‘20 and Logan Durrah Broadnax ‘20