Auditorium Dedication at Winnacunnet

The Winnacunnet Community Auditorium
Commemorative Booklet

January 29, 1997

A Publication of the Atlantic News

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]

ON THE COVER -- One of the many interesting features of the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium is this small gathering area just outside the rebuilt main entrance to the school
[Atlantic News Photo by Bud Perry]


• Welcome to the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium
• How the Auditorium came to be
• Winnacunnet High School Auditorium use policies & procedures
• Upcoming events at the Auditorium
• An open letter to the Winnacunnet Community
• School Board thanks community for their support of the Auditorium
• School administrators applaud new Auditorium
• A labor of love for the Clerk of the Works
• An Auditorium takes shape
• Winnacunnet Alumni add their efforts to the Auditorium
• A gift of time for Winnacunnet's new Auditorium
• It's all in the details
• Construction in the Classroom
• Get ready for Entertainment at the new Auditorium
• WHS community officials cheer new Auditorium addition
• A First-rate sound system fit for the twenty-first century
• Auditorium opens to rave reviews
• Winnacunnet band, drama teachers excited about auditorium
• Dedicating the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium
• A facility for learning and the arts
• The keys to making a great Auditorium better.

PART OF THE COMMUNITY -- Already, the student population at Winnacunnet has grown used to the new Auditorium and the new main entryway into the school.
[Atlantic News Photo by John Hirtle]

Welcome to the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium

By Kathie Bowen

"Dedicated to all of the people of the Winnacunnet community whose generosity and vision for the future made this auditorium possible." These are the simple words imprinted on the plaque that hangs in the lobby of the Winnacunnet High School's new auditorium.

According to the Webster Dictionary of the English Language, "Meeting House" is defined as "a building or place used for public meetings..."

At first glance, the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium is a statement of modern times, It has a state-of-the-art sound system, handicapped accessibility, and sweeping architectural lines. It's acoustically balanced, and muted in design and color - it's a tribute to modern-day architecture.

It's also a "meeting house" in its truest form, a facility open to the Seacoast community to be used as the people see fit to use it. According to an informational brochure put out back in early 1995 to explain the need for an auditorium, the structure was planned as a community "meeting house" from the very beginning: "Since there is no large scale meeting area in the SAU district, the auditorium, in addition to serving the needs of the high school, may be made available to towns and community groups for special activities and to the elementary schools within the four towns when they need large group assembly space."

Peter Olenbush, WHS Facilities Manager, explained that an important aspect in the design of the auditorium was to make it accessible without entry to the high school itself. As visitors enter the new lobby, the school is straight ahead and entrance to the auditorium is to the left. Hanging on the right wall of the auditorium hallway is an antique New Haven Long-Drop Schoolhouse Regulator Clock (circa 1900-1920) donated by The Hampton Academy and Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association. The hallway separates the old and the new. The auditorium is on the left and the old cafetorium to the right, accessible to large gatherings needing refreshments, but easily locked up on other occasions. Bathrooms are located to the right under the auditorium's back section.

The view from the stage shows ascending and curved seating - a cozy intimate feeling for stage frightened performers. An array of electronic buttons both backstage and in the control room for lighting and sound reveals the state-of-the-art technology available in the auditorium.

Seating in any spot offers an excellent view of the stage, and the orchestra pit is deep and well camouflaged, in addition to being handicapped accessible. Back-stage, the "Green room," or waiting area, is painted a soft beige, instead of green; and the men's and women's dressing rooms are spacious and clean. The other half of the backstage reveals a stage craft room and storage area.

The Winnacunnet Community Auditorium held it's dress rehearsal on December 18 when the high school presented it's Holiday Concert and it passed with flying colors. It's now ready and waiting for SAU 21 students - and for the SAU 21 community.

How the Auditorium Came To Be

By Kathie Bowen

When Winnacunnet Board member Susan Kepner remembers back, the auditorium project actually began many years ago. She estimated that it was almost nine years ago when a proposal for an auditorium was presented at a school district meeting and was turned down.

"It was considered too grandiose and expensive," Kepner explained. She recalled that the auditorium plans called for the same amount of seats as the current structure but site work would have been more expensive because the addition would have been at the back of the building requiring the tennis courts to be moved. In addition, it had more spaces that the public felt were unnecessary - a director's office, for example.

The project was set aside for awhile until the third accreditation report by the New England Association of Schools (NEAS) stated once again that the need for an auditorium in a school the size of WHS was important. High School Accreditation is an important factor in making seacoast students competitive for college placement and scholarship money.

According to Kepner, this report gave the auditorium project "more impetus again."

The search was on for a new design. Kepner explained that lots of research went into the planning process. Three architectural firms were examined with Harriman Associates of Auburn, ME, being the winner. A committee consisting of school staff, board members and community members brainstormed a wishlist. The committee also toured different facilities, looking for what would be most appropriate.

The whole process was "quite a job," according to Susan Kepner.

The conceptual design was approved at the 1995 School District meeting and the Bond Issue proposal was approved in March of 1995. Building of the auditorium was handled by Eckman Construction of Bedford, general contractors. In Clerk of the Works "Chip" Breault's words, the project proceeded "on budget and ahead of schedule." In fact, the community got a sneak preview of the auditorium during the holiday season when WHS presented its Holiday Concert in the newly completed auditorium.

Winnacunnet High School Auditorium
Use Policies & Procedures

Winnacunnet High School Auditorium Use Policies and Procedures:


A. Any individual or group wishing to use the WHS Auditorium must contact the Auditorium Manager at 926-3395 to reserve the date(s) and receive a copy of this packet.
B. The user must fill out the Request for Use of Winnacunnet Auditorium Form (attached) and submit it to the Auditorium Manager no later than two weeks prior to the desired date. The Auditorium Manager will insure the request is not in conflict with other scheduled activities, and that custodial and theater tech (if needed) support is coordinated for the desired date(s).
C. Approval of the Request for Use will ordinarily be done by the Auditorium Manager. If the activity requested is not a usual and customary type of activity for a school auditorium, WHS School Board approval may be required.


A. Fees: There are five categories of users. Fees are established based on these categories: 1) Winnacunnet High School - no fees. Winnacunnet High School has first priority of use. 2) SAU 21 schools - no rental fee; custodial and/or theater tech fees may apply. Schools in this category have second priority for use, but they must get approval for dates requested that school year by October 14. After that date there is no guarantee or priority. 3) Municipal Groups of the four Winnacunnet District towns (e.g., Town meetings, police department, fire department, etc.) - no rental fee; custodial and/or theater tech fees may apply. 4) Non profit organizations - $250.00 per day rental, custodial, and theater tech fees apply. Groups wishing to qualify for this category must submit a copy of their IRS tax-exempt certificate with their Request Form. 5) For profit organizations - $1,000.00 per day rental, custodial, and theater tech fees apply. Fees must be paid at least one week prior to the event. Checks should be made out to Winnacunnet School District. Billing for custodial, tech, or kitchen use will be within two weeks after completion of the rental. Payment of services is expected within thirty days from billing date.
B. Insurance: A certificate of insurance is required when a rental activity is deemed beyond the scope of WHS School District insurance. The policy shall have a minimum of 51,000,000 liability individual and aggregate coverage limit. The Winnacunnet School District shall be named "an additional insured" on the renter's policy for the date(s) of the rental.
C. Deposit: A rental deposit is required for users when they are first time renters, or are renters with a poor payment history. The deposit must accompany the Request for Use form.
D. Use: Use of the auditorium includes lobby, audience seating, audience rest rooms, stage, risers, green room, and dressing room areas. It does not include access to the control room, props and costume loft, stage craft areas, or any other part of the Winnacunnet School building. If the user requires that the piano be tuned, it shall be done by Winnacunnet's tuner at the user's expense. If use of other building areas, such as the cafeteria, is desired, separate arrangements with the school must be made.
E. Custodian: The basic service provided by the custodian will be to unlock the doors for the user, turn on and set the house lights and stage lights, set up a microphone, clean and secure the facility after use. The fee is $15 per hour.
F Theater Tech: If more elaborate sound, lights, or other equipment is needed, a theater tech must be employed. Users will not be permitted to operate the sound or lighting systems without a theater tech present. The fee is $25 per hour.
For further information or copy of complete policies and procedures, please contact the Auditorium Manager at 9263395.
HAVE A SEAT -- There's plenty of room to sit down and see some of these fine productions at the new auditorium.
[Atlantic News Photo by John Hirtle]

Upcoming Events at the Auditorium

The following is the schedule of e% cuts so far for the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium:
March 5 - The Annual WHS Winter Concert.
March 11- The University of Maine Singers.
March 20-22 - Winnacunnet High School presents "Guys and Dolls."
April 4 - The Lincoln Akerman Drama Production.
April 11 and 12- A Production by the North Hampton Elementary School.
May 8 - The Canadian Exchange Concert.
May 28 - WHS Spring Concert.
For more details, see story "Get Ready for Entertainment at the New Auditorium" by Kathie Bowen.

January 1997

An Open Letter to the Winnacunnet Community:

Congratulations! The Winnacunnet Community Auditorium is finally a reality, and it offers the citizens of our four towns an outstanding performance venue. We now have a site for music, art and drama activities of which we can all be proud. The Auditorium can also serve as a meeting place for town and civic groups as well as an instructional area for the high school.

This $3.3 million facility with its 750 seats, full proscenium stage, orchestra pit, and outstanding sound system will be available for all in our community to use. It was beautifully designed by Harriman Associates and carefully built by the Eckman Construction Company. It truly represents a giant step forward for Winnacunnet High School and our community.

Many thanks to all the citizens of our community for having the foresight to support this very important project. I would urge each and every one of you to come to the Auditorium and enjoy the wonderful facility you have helped to create.

James H. Weiss, EdD
Superintendent of Schools

[Atlantic News Photo by James V. Grasso]

School Board Thanks Community for Their Support of the Auditorium

January 10, 1997

To the Winnacunnet Community:

We have reason to celebrate! Our auditorium at Winnacunnet has been completed. It was with great pleasure for us to have our Winter Concert on December 18 in our new facility. As the doors opened to the public, young and old alike found their way into the auditorium. It was wonderful to see the people's faces show that they liked what they saw, and to listen to comments made by many on how beautiful it was!

As the show opened to everyone's amazement, everyone in the house could not only see the performance, but for the first time in Winnacunnet history, everyone could hear the music and the songs.

The hard work exhibited by all the performers in preparing for this glorious occasion paid off. You could feel the holiday spirit come alive in the standing room only crowd. To see the proud look on mothers' and fathers' faces as they watched their son or daughter sing or play festive songs was something to behold!

The fact of the matter is: none of this could be a reality without all the support of the Winnacunnet community.

The WHS School Board would like to say again to all, "Thank you for your support."

Our auditorium will be open for use by the four towns in our district. In the future, you will see a vast array of performances from plays to concerts, to business or town meetings. The auditorium is not only open to the school in the district, but to the SAU 21 community.

We would like to send our thanks to many. To Harriman Associates for designing our auditorium. Thanks for a tremendous job on overseeing construction to Eckman Construction. We would like to thank all the subcontractors and suppliers for a job well done. A very big thank you goes out to all the members of our building committee who worked very hard for a long time to ready this project to go before the District voters.

Thanks to all the work our administrators and faculty did in making our auditorium come together. We could go on thanking everyone involved. Special thanks go out to our Clerk of the Works on this project, Norman "Chip" Breault. He was our eyes and ears throughout the construction process. Chip made sure our facility was being constructed correctly and worked hard to cure any problems that came along.

In closing, we would like to thank everyone for opening the vast horizons for all of our students and to all our Winnacunnet community citizens. We would like everyone to come and tour our facility and to enjoy the fabulous acoustics and overall beauty of our auditorium.

James Fuller, Chairman
Paul Kelley
Susan Kepner
Alison Robie
Mona Nason
Winnacunnet High School Board

A PLACE FOR THE COMMUNITY -- Not only will the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium be used extensively by the schools, but it will also be available to local groups and organizations for their gatherings as well.
[Atlantic News Photo by John Hirtle]

School Administrators Applaud New Auditorium

By Jason Batchelder

WHS Principal Roberta Neuman and Assistant Principal Richard Ray can't wait for the auditorium to finally open. From the first proposal, way back in 1988, to the 1995 vote when it was first turned down, to the reconsideration of that vote when it finally passed, it has been a long time in coming.

"It has always been important to get an auditorium in this community," said Mr. Ray. "It has long been needed."

When asked what the auditorium would bring to the school, he responded, "The auditorium brings a performance facility of excellent quality to the school so that student performances can be appreciated to their fullest. Also, it provides a space for large group meetings with 750 seats. Space can be used not only by the students but also by the faculty for workshops."

He went on, saying, "With sophisticated lighting and sound systems, this allows students who are interested in the technical aspects of theater to gain valuable knowledge and experience, something we formerly were unable to do."

BIG PLANS -- Roberta Neuman talks enthusiastically about plans for the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium. For more details on what's planned see story "Get Ready for Entertainment at the New Auditorium" by Kathie Bowen.
[Atlantic News Photo by Kathie Bowen]

In addition, Principal Roberta Neuman said the auditorium: "will bring a performance center, a place where people of the community can hold discussions and forums, and also a place where other schools can congregate [i.e. Student Council, etc.]." Mrs. Neuman added, "There is no large facility in any of the four towns [Hampton, North Hampton, Hampton Falls, and Seabrook] that can be used for these purposes. All that used to be available were cafeterias and gymnasiums, and it's a shame for all the work to be displayed in `cafs' and gyms."

"It can be difficult to hold assemblies about serious topics in the gym, because people can't focus on the issues at hand," she concluded.

"It was good that we built the auditorium when we did," said Mr. Ray. "The longer we would have waited, the more expensive it would have become. Also, the state provided half of the $3.3 million needed for the project, which made this much more doable." He went on, "Regardless of how people voted for it, all my attend. You will be surprised and pleased with what your tax dollars have bought, not just for today's kids, but also for their grandchildren."

WHAT GOES WHERE -- Chip Breault, the Clerk of the Works at the Auditorium worksite checks the blueprints for the project.
[Atlantic News Photo by Gordon McCollester]

A Labor of Love for the Clerk of the Works

By Gordon McCollester

Norman "Chip" Breault has been on the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium worksite since the very first day. As the clerk of the works he is the man responsible for monitoring every aspect of the project, and then reporting weekly to the school board.

"On budget and ahead of schedule," is how Breault describes the project.

He credits the fact that the project came in under budget and at least 30 days ahead of schedule to the great work of everyone on the project.

The biggest hurdle has been to keep the noise, dirt and dust from disrupting the school's activities. He had praise for the contractors who worked hard not to interfere with the students.

He was also pleased that over 80% of the subcontractors were from New Hampshire, and as the project neared completion, that it has been a safe place to work.

"This has been a very safe site with no injuries," he said. "So far, not even a Band-Aid."

For Chip Breault, the auditorium has a special meaning. Zachary, his son, is a sophomore at the school and another son, Joshua, graduated in 1994.

"This truly was a community effort," he said. "It has been a great place to work."

HARD T WORK -- Chip Breault (bottom right corner) checks on the progress inside the Auditorium. For more photos of the inside construction, please turn to "It's All In The Details ...." page.
[Atlantic News Photo by Gordon McCollester]

Winnacunnet Alumni Add Their Effort to the Auditorium

By Priscilla Triggs Weeks

The Hampton Academy and Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association recently presented a token of reverence to Winnacunnet High School ... the gift of a New Haven Long-Drop Schoolhouse Regulator Clock (,circa 1900-1920) which now adorns the foyer of the new auditorium. This clock, coincidentally, commemorates the Alumni Association's 90th year of existence. The clock historically signifies all those students and teachers who have passed through the hallowed halls of Hampton Academy and High School and its successor, Winnacunnet High School.

We engaged the services of Barlow and Lambias, Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, for their expertise in the field of clocks. Their many years of experience and commendable service caught the attention of the association, as well as that of the "North of Boston" magazine, who recently spotlighted Peter Barlow and Charles Lambias, the "clock doctors" who make house calls!

Roberta Neuman, Principal of Winnacunnet High School and Peter Olenbush, Facilities Manager, chose the location for affixing this clock and plaque, in the foyer of the new auditorium, because of its maximum usage and viewability.

Members of the Alumni Association who facilitated the purchase of this vintage clock included Priscilla Triggs, president; Gwen Paul Aubrey, vice president; Arthur Moody, treasurer; Jane Olson, secretary; along with Betsy Dunbrack and Richard Chevalier.

We encourage all of our Hampton Academy and Winnacunnet High School graduates to view this clock, with its historic significance, along with joining us at our annual general reunion in June.

May the pendulum of this honored time-piece toll, for all those who pass beneath, in the quest for truth and knowledge.

WORK ZONE -- The foundations are laid, and the walls of the new addition rise as the Auditorium takes shape in the early spring of 1996. Before the end of the year, the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium would open for it's first concert.
[Atlantic News File Photos]

A Gift of Time for Winnacunnet's New Auditorium

By Kathie Bowen

When "Chick" Lambias of Barlow & Lambias Clock Repair heard that the Alumni Association was looking for an antique clock to donate to the new Winnacunnet Community Auditorium, he told them, "I have a special clock for you!" It was from his own private collection of clocks.

The clock is a New Haven Long-Drop Schoolhouse Regulator Clock (circa 1900-1920) dedicated to the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium by The Hampton Academy and Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association; and is displayed, along with a plaque, in the corridor of the new auditorium.

Peter Barlow, the other half of the partnership explained that the clock is a timepiece, or a clock that does not chime. As he says, "The last thing you want in a school is a clock that strikes every hour." Barlow is a certified archaeologist, bui, has been working with clocks for 30 years. He and Lambias became partners three years ago and are located at the Red Barn on Route 88 in Hampton Palls.

Chick, who had been an auto parts distributor, and had a love and fascination with clocks, was a constant customer of Peter's. He decided it was "cheaper to learn" to repair the clocks himself rather that have them repaired, and a partnership was born.

The two men jokingly throw out mottoes for their clock repair business: "We have time for you!" or "We just keep on cranking!"

The Long-drop clock is a beautiful example of how clocks were made in the past, according to Chick and Peter. They explained that clock-making was a long lost art that involved many artisans. One person would cut the gears, another would assemble the movements, another work on the dials and glass, while still another would make the cabinet.

Chick explained that old clocks need a cleaning and maintenance check yearly and he was looking forward to visiting the WHS clock each year. He looked longingly at the Regulator clock that had been a prized part of his private collection. "I'm going to miss it! he said, ruefully.

TIME FOR THE AUDITORIUM -- Clock Doctors' Peter Barlow (right) and "Chick" Lambias pose beneath the New Haven Long-Drop Schoolhouse Regulator Clock which the Hampton Academy and Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association have generously donated to the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium. It now hangs just to the right of the glass doors leading into the foyer of the Auditorium.
[Atlantic News Photo by Kathie Bowen]

Construction Comes to the Classroom

By James V. Grasso

It isn't often that the classroom and the construction project come together, but at the Winnacunnet High School Auditorium that is exactly what happened. The General Contractor, Eckman Construction Co., Inc. of Bedford, NH, brought to the school the notion of a multi-disciplinary approach which would introduce the students to the practical side of their classroom learning, showing them how classroom instruction could be made applicable to the actualities of the building process.

Developed from ideas promulgated by Amy Eckman, President of Eckman Construction Company, in 1994, and used by Eckman elsewhere with both elementary and upper grades, methods specifically applicable to the Winnacunnet project were developed and presented by her to the Math Department and a group of school administrators when the project began in February 1996. Her presentation met with the approval of Principal Roberta Neuman.

Specific uses of mathematics and the application of math to actual problems encountered in the field were outlined and their solution in the field explained, as the job progressed, with the cooperation of Toni Talas of the WHS Mathematics Department and Eckman Engineers.

Similarly, Ken Cody, director of the WHS Technical Education Department, and his staff, provided guidance to students who were taking introductory courses in such subjects as plumbing, masonry and electricity.

Norman "Chip" Breault, WHS Clerk of the Works, conducted on-site explanations for groups of about ten students. Students met with Breault and representatives of subcontractors in the various trades, who explained the basics of their trade, what the work involved, how to train and prepare for it and what the job prospects and earnings might be. Foremen and supervisors from the various trades, such as electricity, plumbing and masonry, gave explanations and demonstrations of their work. Breault gave general background explanations and showed students how to read detailed plans for all trades. Following such explanations, Breault arranged for students to go out on the construction site and see what the plans actually represented and what problems can arise in actual construction.

Teachers and administrators involved in these processes were unanimous in praising the cooperation of the Eckman Company and its subcontractors. According to Breault, in the groups that averaged about ten pupils, there was substantial interest, with about seven of the ten asking significant and pertinent questions. He also said that other school departments such as Physics and Chemistry became involved at appropriate times.

Amy Eckman, who developed and supported these efforts to bring construction into the classroom and the classroom into construction, is an unusual person in the construction field. Educated as a lawyer, and having practiced law with a Concord law firm, she joined Eckman Construction in 1977 at her husband's request and eventually became President of the company about five years ago. She believes it is important, given the rapidity of technological change, that students learn not just a core of knowledge but also the basics of how to learn so as to deal with change and she feels this can be arrived at through a multi-disciplinary approach.

Of the company's work she says that although they do commercial building projects, they do school work primarily. "This," she says, "is what we do." And they do it very successfully, working on short schedule deadlines, which they meet and sometimes, as in the case of the Auditorium, even beat. The WHS Auditorium was scheduled for completion in mid-January of 1997, but held its Holiday Concert in the completed structure on December 18, 1996.

RUNNING ON A DEADLINE -- With the walls up, and a roof overhead, the work turned to finishing the interior of the auditorium before the end of 1996.
[Atlantic News Photos by Hirtle and McGee]

Get Ready for Entertainment at the New Auditorium

By Kathie Bowen

According to Winnacunnet High School Principal Roberta Neuman, booking dates for the new Winnacunnet Community Auditorium are filling fast. Several dates are already booked (See related listing "Upcoming Events at the Auditorium").

In addition, plans are underway to present a movie series, and a community musical sing-along. Other hopeful bookings include a hypnotist; concerts by the Military Service Band and the New Hampshire Youth Symphony; a football night, possibly highlighting some of the Patriots; and a performance from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

Neuman explained the need for these opening acts: "We hope to showcase the facility in a variety of ways so people in the community can see its uses." Plans for bringing in entertainment will go on through the end of the school year, when Neuman feels the word will be out.

"We are already getting some calls from businesses in the community," she reported, adding that the SAU is hoping that businesses will use the facility for training purposes. Problems with parking can be overcome by having businesses bus in those involved in the sessions.

In addition to entertainment, the auditorium corridor will be available for art exhibits. A student art exhibit was planned for January 15 and opening night. The principal stressed the corridor is also available for community art. "It is a fairly secure area." she added. With the help of some available grant money, plans are also in the works for display cases and shelving, possibly made by WHS students.

The winter and spring season promises to be a busy one for the new Winnacunnet Community Auditorium.

ONE MUSICAL EVENING -- The Winnacunnet Community Auditorium held its first performance on December 18,1996, as the area's finest student musicians, teachers and alumni gathered on the new stage to help show off the new facility's superb sound system and spacious surroundings with the best concert ever seen at Winnacunnet High School.
[Atlantic News Photos by Jason Batchelder]

WHS Community Officials Cheer New Auditorium Addition

By Dick Winn

Local reaction to the opening of the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium is positive throughout the SAU 21 community.

Judith Deshaies, Principal of Lincoln Akerman School in Hampton Falls, said, "We have never had a legitimate performance area, until now. We've had to make do in the cafeteria area. We have already booked the auditorium for a spring performance. I think it will be used by the adults in town, too. After a tour of the building, I was impressed with its potential for use."

Louis Nardello, Seabrook Elementary School Principal, sees the auditorium's potential for drawing the community together: "I think it is - a very positive thing. We put on performances that can now be staged well. Not only will Seabrook residents come to see the children, but people from other communities will come. It , makes the SAU 21 District into a large; community. I think it's great."

Mona Nason, Hampton Falls' School Board Chair, sums her reaction up in one word: "Awesome!" She goes on to say, "I am pleased with how it turned out. You see an artist's rendition and then you see the completed project it's impressive!"

A First-rate Sound System Fit for the Twenty-First Century

By Christian C. Foster

Most newcomers to the auditorium at Winnacunnet High School see the audio system hanging from the rafters above center stage and consider it modest. What they don't realize is that they are looking at a cluster of five speakers connected to a high technology, state-of-the-art sound system. Vice-Principal Dick Ray commented on the audio equipment by saying, "There isn't another high school in New Hampshire with a better system."

The system features five speakers including: an 18inch woofer with two 12 and 10 inch mid-range speakers on either side, angled to give a crisp stereo image. The three wires you may see dangling above the stage are not out of control extension cords. They are microphones which are used to pick up and amplify the sounds from the stage below. There are sixteen available channels which can accommodate sixteen "inputs" and a mixing board to balance them all. Parametric equalizers have been specifically tuned in relation to the hall's acoustic design to maximize the sound clarity.

Built into the system is a "hearing assist." These wireless receivers are connected to the mixing console by a direct feed and the sound is beamed to the ear pieces. The feature allows the hearing impaired to enjoy the sounds of the productions at a volume that suits them. There are five sets of ear pieces available upon request.

Dick Ray described the new sound system as a "quantum leap in technology" compared to what the school was previously using. The quality of the sound and incredible amount of control available with the sweepable EQ knobs has delighted Ray. But the biggest advantage of the new auditorium for him, since he did the lion's share of the dirty work, is not having to move the sound system from the music area to the cafetorium where the old productions were held.

Because the speakers were so terrible in the cafetorium, and the acoustics of the room were equally so, speakers from the music department had to be set up and torn down for every production and rehearsal. Having a high quality fixed system in place has cut down on a lot of extra work.

A special thanks goes out to George Blodgett of Hampton who has generously donated a mixing console, amplifier and monitor speakers to the auditorium. The night the auditorium was approved to be built, Blodgett stood up at the meeting and said he would volunteer to donate the system; and his help has been a substantial asset. The support of Blodgett allowed the school to purchase other important audio equipment with the money he saved them. All of the effort amounts to a first rate set-up everyone in the community can be proud of.

(Music Director Stan Bednarz is hoping to improve the sound system in the auditorium even further by raising funds for a concert grand piano. See Page 23 for details.)

FINAL TOUCHES -- Although the auditorium saw it's first performances in late December, the 'fine tuning' of the new addition continued into January as workmen touched up the paint and double checked equipment for the grand dedication. Jeff Highter of Eckman Construction (above) paints the inside of a removable stage floor panel that covers the wheelchair lift.
[Atlantic News Photos by Kathie Bowen]

Dedicating the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium

By Kathie Bowen

The formal opening of the Winnacunnet Community Auditorium on January 29 is showcasing local talent from the surrounding SAU 21 schools.

In a written request to the SAU's schools, WHS Principal Roberta Neuman said, "To make thcommunityty' aspect of this facility very obvious, we would like to have the first event be focused on all of the SAU 21 schools and their performing groups."

Highlights of the performance will be the Hampton Academy Junior High jazz band, bell-ringers from Seabrook Elementary, a -Marston School performance of "Little Shop of Horrors," WHS's chamber singers and stage band, and a performance by second graders from Centre School.

Many local and state dignitaries have been invited to the event, as well as the entire SAU 21 community. The auditorium's Grand Opening kicks off a season of events that will showcase the various ways that the community can utilize the auditorium.

In the center of the auditorium, the spotlight stands ready to highlight the next performance.
[Atlantic News Photos by Kathie Bowen]

A Facility For Learning and the Arts

By Kathie Bowen

Prescott Park Director George Hosker is enthusiastic about the many possibilities that the WinnacunnCommunitytiy Auditorium has to offer. "What I am most excited about is that the towns [within the SAU] now have a performing space for all of the young people." he says.

Hosker is a 1979 graduate of Winnacunnet High School, where he won Drama and National Choral Awards; and strongly supports bringing the arts to the Hampton area. He has worked for years with local educators to enrich student's lives through the theatre. He is assisting the SAU in booking different programs for the auditorium this year, but is hoping things don't stop there.

"I am committed to helping WHS in any way I can. I would like nothing better than to go down there and teach," he says. He explains that the next step in the process is to offer a well-rounded teaching program for the students that includes the technical aspect of the theatre.

"I hope [the auditorium] will be a learning facility for those students who want a career in the arts." Husker said. He explained that it's hard for students to do their best when they are working in inadequate facilities: and compared the need for the auditorium to the importance of having proper sports facilities for sporting events. The auditorium, he says, is like an "actorfootballall field." The proper atmosphere inspires the players.

"I hope [SAU 21] utilizes it to its fullest potential," he ended.

The Keys to Making a Great Auditorium Better

By Kathie Bowen

The old upright piano that sits in front of the stage of the new auditorium looks sadly out of place. Stanley Bednarz, the music director at Winnacunnet High school is hoping that will change. "What we want to do is to buy a concert grand piano and choral risers," he explains. Approximately $14,000 has been raised so far, but more is needed to cover the $50,000 costs.

Donations to the Auditorium Fund can be made in several ways. Money donated to the General Auditorium Fund will be used for auditorium equipment as needed and determined by committee.

Auditorium seats can be purchased for $125 each; and a plaque will be affixed to the seat with the donors requested sentiment.

Individual keys to the concert grand piano can be purchased for $454 per key. That's $454 per key x 88 keys to equal the total cost of $40,000 for the piano.

Finally, the new choral risers will cost approximately $5000 and money is needed to meet this goal.

Checks can be made payable to "Winnacunnet Auditorium Fund" and mailed to Winnacunnet High School, Auditorium Fund, Alumni Drive, Hampton, NH 03842. Please specify what fund you are donating to and, if a seat is being purchased, what information should be put on the plaque. Any questions can be answered by calling Stan Bednarz, music director at 926-3395, ext. 256, or 964-5348.

[Atlantic News Photo by Kathie Bowen]