March, 2018 Issue

From the Chair...




Monkey Wrench- Shop Mgr and Systems Mgr


Student Scholarship Winners
Treasurer's Report
Annual Conference and Stage Expo
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


JTH welcomes Kari Kuerbs
Productions Around the Region
Student Scholarships to attend National Conference
2018 Annual Conference & Stage Expo



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

Next Issue
































From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd     So in another installment of the “old dog learning new tricks” series, I have been teaching myself about Dante over the last year.  I knew quite a bit about Dante already, but more research never hurts.  Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265.  He was a poet and a political theorist.  He is best known as the writer of the Divine Comedy, which describes his journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso).   He died in 1321 on his way back to his home from Venice.  I eventually realized that a late medieval poet probably had little to do with digital audio networking, and that I should probably find a different website.

“A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark” – Dante Alighieri

    It began, as many things have recently, with a stack of drawings to review.  A new sound system.  Speakers, processors, amplifiers, mixing console, input panels in various locations; all linked together with Dante.  A big reduction in mic lines pulled through the building by using standard network cabling instead.  Digital signal replacing analog.  And in the audio room, where there might have once been a patch panel in a rack, there were now two racks full of network switches.  I’m old, new things scare me sometimes.  I envisioned what that room would look like when I have to go in there to set up sound and audio things.  And Dante’s words came to mind:

“All hope abandon, ye who enter here!”

    But I realized that instead of looking at this as something to be wary of, I needed to look at it as an opportunity.  I can learn something new.  I can turn my hesitation into an asset and begin to read and explore all I could.  I can in turn, teach my students this technology.  And it will make them better designers and technicians with another valuable skill.  Dante again:

“Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow… knowledge.”

    I began to explore deeper.  I read everything I could find on websites.  I bought a book on Dante.  I bought a book called Networking for Dummies.  I went to a session on Dante audio at USITT last year – it was a lot of information but I wrote everything I could down.  As Dante says:

“He listens well who takes notes.”

    We had a meeting a couple of days ago with your AV contractor.  We reviewed the final drawings of the systems that will be installed.  I know once it is all in place there will still be a lot for me to learn.  But the work I have been doing has paid off.  I was able to look over drawings and understand what was going on quite clearly.  I was able to ask in depth questions and offer suggestions based on what I anticipated our needs to be from both production and academic standpoints.  I felt as if I was part of the design process, rather just the end user of a product.  I am ready and eager to make the switch from all of those analog mic lines to digital audio networking.  I am actually excited about the possibilities!

“At this high moment, ability failed my capacity to describe.”

    I do still have some concerns.  Not everything can be perfect 100% of the time.  Changing technologies concern me.  I remember betamax tapes, digital audio tape, minidisks, floppy disks, laser discs, vinyl records, AMX lighting control, and so many others.  Will the investment we are making in Dante now still be relevant in 10 years?  20 years?  Will changing technology render it obsolete within a couple of decades?  Or will it be the audio networking system taking us well into the future?  The name “Dante” in Latin means “Enduring”.  Will this name be prophetic?  Will the technology endure?  I am not sure.  No one can predict for certain.  So we are building in a few ideas to help “future proof” our audio system.  I think that is important to consider how technology might change.  Just like Dante wrote:

“The customs and fashions of men change like the leaves on the bough, some of which go and others come.”

    The moral of this story, as with many I have written here, is the continued pursuit of knowledge.  Don’t be put off because something is new, or seems overwhelming, or seems out of your grasp.  Use challenges as opportunities to learn something new and make yourself better and more knowledgeable within your field.  Better to face the problem head on than to simply worry about the outcome and do nothing.  As Dante tells us:

“The secret of getting things done is to act!”       [ ]