McAfee Concert Hall, Belmont University
Project completed 2012
The Opus 1504, 55 rank Aeolian-Skinner Organ was built in 1969 and was removed from the church to construct a new concert hall. When architects with Earl Swensson Associates began renovating the old Belmont Heights Baptist Church a few years ago, they made a remarkable discovery. The dimensions of the church’s sanctuary were identical to those of the famed Tonhalle in Zurich, Switzerland. It’s no surprise, then, that Belmont University’s new McAfee Concert Hall, located in the church’s former sanctuary, has marvelous acoustics.
Belmont spent about two years and roughly $9 million renovating the old church to turn it into a concert hall. The design concept for the new Concert Hall was developed in consultation with the architects and acousticians involved with the construction of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Acousticians have conducted extensive, carefully documented scientific studies and developed a plan for the building that eliminates ambient noise, expands the volume of space to optimal acoustic proportions for a large orchestra and chorus and creates optimal sound diffusion. The restoration of the organ included a totally rebuilt console with a movable platform, wired for four locations on stage. Our firm re-leathered bellows, re-wired entire organ with solid state, added new electric shade machines, and re-voiced all stops in organ. The organ has a pure sound that complements the beauty of the hall.
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