Although most people in the audience during Spring Sing performances this weekend will leave remembering the music and choreography, there is more to the show than what meets the eye. A wide variety of vital components have gone into the work behind the curtain of each Spring Sing show. This work behind the show gives way to the key component of the production: the audio that makes it come to life.
According to David Robison, audio engineer for the university and sound design/director for Spring Sing, the Spring Sing process began during Thanksgiving break when clubs began recording tracks. That process continued into the spring semester.
“All the music is generated by music arrangers (made up) of students, former students and myself,” Robison said. “If I do my job right, nobody notices. People don’t leave a performance saying, ‘That was a great sounding show.’ But, if the sound is not right, or a microphone is not working, they always remember that.”
Robison said the greatest challenges when managing audio for such a large production are figuring out how to make the audio fit into the time allotted and ensuring it comes together smoothly. Although it can be difficult to coordinate so many elements of the show, Robison said the process has been very rewarding.
“Music and sound are just one part of the equation,” Robison said. “The lighting, costumes, staging, props and other technical aspects merely serve as a basis so the real stars of the show can shine, and the thousands who attend feel they have been treated to a unique experience of more than 1,000 people working together to make it happen.”
There will be 48 channels of audio and 29 microphones in use during Spring Sing. The majority of these microphones will be located on the hosts and hostesses, ensemble members and stage singers.
Sophomore Matthew Shafer, student assistant to David Robison, manages the audio for chapel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“I work for Mr. Robison purely for the opportunity to learn about audio from one of the most experienced men I have ever met,” Shafer said.
Shafer works alongside Robison by helping to cable, position, connect and check all the mics used for the jazz band and all the connectivity involved.
“It is well worth the time and effort to provide an entertaining show for those who attend, and to help the students who direct, produce and participate in the shows to realize their vision,” Robison said.