Getz Theater, Columbia College, Chicago, IL

Bag End Upgrades College Theatre with an Adaptable Sound System

Chicago – Bag End worked with the technical team at Chicago’s Columbia College on an audio upgrade for the 375-seat Getz Theatre. The new system’s Bag End gear includes the company’s Infra-MX2 processor, TA5000-I speakers, 2×18 subwoofers, TA6000-S speakers and a TA6000-I speaker.

The Getz Theatre at Chicago’s Columbia College was originally built by Holabird & Root as part of a women’s residence owned by the Chicago Women’s Club, and was called the 11th St. Theater when it opened in 1929. It was built to be a general purpose concert space to be used for entertaining the women residents. During the 1970s, ownership passed to the Jewish Federation for a time before it was taken over by the college. The theater was in bad repair when Columbia took it over in 1979. They renovated the space in 1986 and renamed it the Getz Theatre.

The 375-seat Getz Theatre at Chicago’s Columbia College hosts a wide variety of events, from eight full dramatic and musical productions each year to the lectures, student recitals and teaching functions that are part of the life of every college. Such variety requires an adaptable sound system, and Bag End speakers now play a large part in delivering that flexibility.

“Recently, we recognized that we needed to upgrade our sound capability to accommodate the complexity and diversity of our production,” says Josef Szaday, audiovisual coordinator for the Theatre Department, which is responsible for the theater.

Szaday contacted various vendors, asking them to give him feedback on what would best serve the theater’s needs, given its space challenges and budgetary limitations.

“Bag End was the only one that immediately offered to come out, assess the space and advise us'”

Bag End worked with John Green, chairman of the Theatre Department, Master Electrician Gwenne Godwin Theatre Manager for the Theatre Department Mary Badger and Szaday to determine what speakers would work best for the application.

“We already were using a Bag End processor and some of their speakers, so we know their reputation for quality was justified. What we didn’t realize was how far they would go to make our installation work,” adds Szaday. “Not only is the sound balanced and adaptable to all our productions, but they also made special custom brackets to fit the speakers into our limited space and worked with Gwenne to ensure they wouldn’s interfere with our lighting.”

Bag End personnel also maintained continual communication with the Columbia College team to address any challenges before they became problems.

The upgraded system now includes the following equipment:

  • 1 Bag End Infra-MX2 Processor
  • 2 Bag End TA5000-I Speakers
  • 2 Bag End 2×18 Subwoofers
  • 3 Bag End TA6000-S Speakers
  • 1 Bag End TA6000-I Speaker
  • 1 NEXIA DSP (Digital Signal Processor)
  • 5 Crown XTI-1000 Power Amps
  • 1 Yamaha LS-9 16 Channel Digital Mixer

“The upgraded sound system is working flawlessly,” reports Szaday, “and the sound is now much richer than ever before.”


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