Audio Marathon

Sound Art Installs At 20 Venues In 5 Days  

by Clive Young

BRANDON, MANITOBA --- The Canada Games came to Brandon, Manitoba this past summer, bringing together the country's best athletes for 10 days of strenuous competition across a variety of sports. Nearly 5,000 athletes competed there in hopes of being chosen to represent their country in the Olympics. They were not the only ones working hard, however - Sound Art Canada, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was there each day, supplying sound for all of the Games' different events.

The sound company began installing audio systems five days before the games' opening ceremonies. "There were about 20 different sports venues, and we did sound for every one, ranging from tennis to rowing to archery to softball to sailboats...basically anything that needed audio," said Korey Sherwin, operations manager. "We were providing sound for the bleachers, so that the audiences could hear what was going on from the announcers and the officials." Most of the playing venues were in the same general area, although the rowing and sailing events were held about half an hour outside of town, because Brandon does not have a lake.

When it came to providing sound for the playing fields, the number of loudspeakers used understandably depended on the size of the venue; systems ranged from a minimum of two EV SX-200s placed on sticks or the ground, up to 14 EV FM-1202 wedges. "All the smaller systems used Mackie 1202 consoles," said Sherwin, "because all that the events required was a microphone and a tape/CD input. In a case like that, the rule of thumb is, 'The smaller, the better.' So we had a bunch of Mackie 1202s and 1402s that we purchased to keep the systems going during the games."

For indoor venues, however, more sizable loudspeaker systems were required. "The basketball and volleyball games were held in small hockey arenas that held about 10,000 people. As a result, we used Electro-Voice DML-1152s flown in some of the arenas for coverage," said Sherwin.

The sports venues were not the only occasions that the sound company was busy; nightly, there were concerts held at Royal Bank Plaza, featuring name Canadian acts such as Blue Rodeo, Chilliwack and The Farmers Daughters.

"At the Plaza stage, there were anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 people a night watching the various Canadian artists," said Sherwin. "For that, we used a flown Electo-Voice DMS rig, made up of 12 DMS-2122s, 12 DMS-2181Ts, 8 DMS-2181s and 10 DMS-1183s. As for the consoles, we used a Midas XL348 at the front-of-house, and a Soundcraft SM16 was used for monitors."


1997 Canada Games

Royal Bank Plaza Stage

Sound Art Canada

Artists: Chilliwack, Blue Rodeo, Farmers Daughter, others

FOH Engineer: Pete Petrovich

Monitor Engineer: Dan Frerichs

FOH Console: Midas XL3-48

Monitor Console: Soundcraft SM16-48

House Speakers: (12) EV DMS-2122, (12) EV DMS-2181T, (8) EV DMS-2181, (10) EV DMS-1183

House Amplifiers: QSC Powerlight 1.8

Monitor Amplifiers: QSC Powerlight 1.8

FOH Equipment: Brooke Siren DPR404, 901; Aphex 622 gates; TC M2000; Yamaha SPX990; Lexicon PCM80

Monitors Equipment: KT DN3600 with remote head

Korey Sherwin manned a Midas XL200 56-Input console during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Canada Games, held this past August in Brandon, Manitoba.
Although the Games were a celebration of Canadian athletics, not every thing was, er, fun and games. On August 8, the night before the opening cenremonies, a near tornado, complete with rain and hail, hit the area, flipping over the main stage, knocking down fences and filling just about everything with water.

"We did sound for every venue, ranging from tennis to rowing to archery to softball to sailboats."

Korey Sherwin,

Sound Art Canada

Within 10 minutes, soldiers from a nearby Army base came in to help rebuild the site over night. The Sound Art crews literally had to pour water out of the ports on some of the DeltaMax speakers. Similarly, they also had to open the tops of some Klark Teknik EQs in order to dry them out with hair dryers. In the end, everything still worked except for one woofer and one compression driver. In the meantime, the Army and other crews on site worked through the night and finished rebuilding just in time for the opening ceremonies the next morning.

After running for two weeks, the Games came to an end on August 23, finishing up with the closing ceremonies, which Sherwin himself mixed from a Midas XL200 console. While the athletes paraded around the field in triumph, it could be said that after three weeks of non-stop work on the Canada Games, Sound Art finished its own marathon as well.