Watertown theater to complete face-lift with sound system

WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP) — An iconic opera house in Watertown that has been under repair for the last year is about to come to life with a new sound system and computerized LED lights.

Brookings-based Audio Video Connections is set to install the system in February inside the 130-year-old Goss Opera House. Chris Paulson, a member of the Friends of Goss board of directors, said it's the same system used in clubs and theaters named after legendary performers Dolly Parton and B.B. King.

“It’s a real high-end product,” Paulson told the Watertown Public Opinion. “We should have full coverage of the room.”

The sound system consists of 12 speakers — six per side on the west and east ends — as well as two 18-inch sub woofers and high-end microphones. Paulson said the setup should allow the theater to attract major entertainment acts, including concerts and shows.

Board president Milt Carter declined to say how much the system cost, only that it was purchased at the recommendation and consent of major donors.

“We really went for something that’s going to be not just for the local talent but also national talent,” he said. “We want to be able to have a rock show here one night, tear it down and have a wedding here the next day, Then, the next weekend we could have a comedy show or an opera.

“It’s going to be something that’s going to put us on the map for this whole region as far as a venue for performers," Paulson added.

The new sound system will be paired with acoustic treatments to muffle the theater’s echo tendencies.

“That’s the first thing we’re going to do,” Paulson said of the acoustic treatments, promising the materials used will be applied so to preserve the theater’s character..

The face-lift has also included new windows, a heating, air conditioning and ventilation system and ongoing infrastructure work.

Missy Sinner, the theater's executive director, said the board is booking shows from April through September.

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