Downers Grove North High School Gets Performance Audio Right

Great sound is key to a great show
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Great sound is key to a great show
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DGN student Freddy Zimmerman performs in "Harvey" in a 2014 production at Downers Grove North High School.

Chicago — Downers Grove North High School (DGN), home to an active theater-focused student body that hosts various events throughout the academic year, recently kicked off its springtime musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Downers Grove North High School is part of Community High School District 99, which has grown from one small building to two large modern comprehensive high schools, producing more than 1,400 graduates each year. District 99 develops goals and detailed action plans in its continuous quest to improve on its core mission: to provide a caring and challenging environment where all students develop as lifelong learners to become contributing, responsible members of a changing world.

For this and every production, DGN relies on DPA Microphones’ d:fine single-ear directional and single-ear omnidirectional headset microphones to support on-stage talent, favoring the durability and superior audio of the company’s microphones.

“Before switching to DPA, our previous microphones would break or crack over the ear, the cords would go bad, or they just didn’t hold up well,” said Bill Miller, fine arts music teacher at DGN. “When we upgraded our sound system, Dana Kirkegaard, who is a well-known acoustician and also a parent to one of our students, said, ‘you know, you really need to use DPA’ and gave us two mics. We are really fortunate and thankful for that.”

Since being introduced to DPA, the school of more than 2,000 students has grown to rely on the d:fines to fit the changing needs of the events hosted in the Clarence Johnson Auditorium. From chorus concerts and theater performances, to outside corporate events, the company’s d:fine headset microphones meet the needs of the students and faculty.

“I’m a fan of DPA mics, they sound fantastic and the durability is a great benefit,” Miller said. “We try to give our students the experience of working as professionals, and to be able to give them this kind of equipment to use first-hand is important to us. With some of our students who maybe had a supporting role in the past, when they hit the big time and use the DPAs, they comment, ‘wow, this is so much easier than the other mics!’”

When it comes to head-worn microphones, DPA’s d:fine headsets provide a comfortable fit and clean audio quality. With its high SPL capabilities, one can both speak and sing with no hint of distortion. Further, by rotating the boom, the microphone can be moved from left to right ear for a user’s optimal position. Available in both omnidirectional and directional versions, the DPA d:fine also features single- or dual-ear mounts, with the latter targeted for even the most rigorous and energetic performance applications.

Miller joined the Community High School District 99 music faculty in 1995. He currently teaches a variety of courses at North High School and serves as the director of the DGN Jazz Lab Band and Trojan Marching Band. Additionally, Miller is the auditorium manager of the school’s 1,200 seat Clarence Johnson Auditorium and the lighting and sound director of several productions each year.