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Lights and Sound Ansley PArk


Grady High School Foundation launches auditorium fundraiser

Poncey Highland


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20 January 2017 |

Some students aren’t lit properly during a production at the Vincent Murray Auditorium on the campus of Grady High School.

to renovate these systems for several years. “If you have the best actors and the best set in the world but you can’t hear them or see them, The Grady High School Foundation then all your hard work is lost,” said parent has launched a $50,000 capital campaign Stephanie Szalkowski. to renovate the outdated and failing light APS’ solution is a few more years down and sound systems in its Vincent Murray the road. Auditorium. According to APS Chief Operations “We have an extraordinary opportunity with an incredible group of kids and faculty to Officer Larry Hoskins, under the district’s SPLOST 2017 Program, Grady will receive teach at the top levels of theater, production, technology, entertainment – but we don’t have a new classroom addition and building renovations, estimated to cost $33 million. the tools to do it as we would like to and as The auditorium lighting and sound systems industry demands,” said John Brandhorst, will be upgraded as a part of the investment who wears many hats – Grady art teacher/ but is not likely to be completed until 2020 art department chair, Grady Go Team faculty or 2021. member, and Grady Foundation vice chair. When asked what happens if the Grady The Midtown school currently operates auditorium lighting and sound systems fail the busiest theater and performance program prior to construction completion, Hoskins in the city at 40 percent of technical capacity. said, “We will repair the systems.” But repair The auditorium is in constant use as a isn’t a viable option when parts are obsolete. performance space for theater, band and “We can’t wait,” Brandhorst said. “We are chorus, as a classroom for AP Human looking at imminent system failure.” Geography, for parent information sessions, So, the Grady High School Foundation for Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Public has decided to take matters into its own Schools (APS) community meetings, as a hands. place for CNN to film, and much more. “The Grady “It’s become a High School nexus for all kinds Foundation is ready of community to address needs not engagement,” met by APS – school Brandhorst said. wide big ticket However, 2004 items,” Elizabeth renovations at Grady Rogan, Grady HS High School did not Foundation Chair include updates to and parent, said. all the systems this Parents created workhorse relies on the foundation in for light and sound. Outdated lighting needs to be replaced. 1997 to serve Grady For example, students, faculty, and community. The the 1984 dimmer rack, which controls the nonprofit supports reading, writing, and math lighting, is obsolete and operating at half of centers, student scholarships, and Advanced the 96 dimmers’ capacity. “Little by little, Placement Faculty professional development, the dimmer pods are becoming corroded or primarily using funds donated by the Atlanta are failing – so we’re losing channels by the Boys’ High Alumni Association. week – and we cannot get new coils to replace By tapping into alumni, the community, them,” Brandhorst said. The light system still and other groups that use the auditorium, accepts floppy disks. the foundation seeks to raise enough for this North Atlanta High School’s technical infrastructure project plus additional funds apparatus, which has been compared to The to support technology, curriculum and other Alliance Theater, in addition to dimmers, unmet needs. has hundreds of lights. Grady is down to 40 Plans are also in the works for a 70th lights. And Grady’s sound system is also obsolete. Anniversary Gala in 2017 to raise funds that will benefit the entire school. The auditorium soundboard doesn’t accept “I have attended so many musical USB drives, so students and faculty can’t and theatrical events from the students interface with computers. It also lacks a functioning intercom system so the back stage at Springdale Park, Inman, Mary Lin, Morningside, Hope-Hill, and Grady in this and front stage booths can’t communicate. performing facility,” said Interim Principal Contemporary systems are run with software Dr. Betsy Brockman. “Effective sound and and iPads. lighting systems are a basic need for the “At Grady, all of our tech is student run, thousands of students, parents, and teachers which inspires many students to pursue who use this venue on a continual basis. professional theater,” Grady student Roshan Our students cannot wait for three years; we Anita explained. “We do not let our outdated appreciate the financial support of the Grady systems hold us back, however, we do not Cluster in this campaign.” properly prepare many of our technicians for For more information, visit professional theater.” Grady faculty and parents have asked APS By Clare S. Richie

At l a n t a I N t o w n Pa p e r. c o m

January 2017, Atlanta INtown  

Our annual 20 Under 20 honors students who have spent countless hours volunteering and giving of their time through community service. Read...

January 2017, Atlanta INtown  

Our annual 20 Under 20 honors students who have spent countless hours volunteering and giving of their time through community service. Read...