I was privileged to sing with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers in two recent performances of Carl Orff's orchestral and choral masterpiece Carmina Burana. These performances were at two different venues -- the Windermere Theatre (aka the Toyota Center) in Kennewick and the Capitol Theatre in Yakima.
The Kennewick venue had a larger stage, permitting the addition of a wonderful ballet troupe, but other than that, the advantage was all to the Yakima venue. Performing in the Capitol Theatre is like singing inside a beautiful musical instrument. The acoustics are great, and every seat seems to be near the stage.
The Windermere Theatre setting was very different. From my position in the choir, my main view (beyond the conductor's baton) was that of the Zamboni entrance, and most of the finely rehearsed sounds from the choir made their way directly to the distant ends of the arena. The audience was large and enthusiastic, but the folding plastic seats simply aren't concert seats.
I am a hockey fan and think the acoustics are great for 6,000 yelling Americans fans, but the Toyota Center just isn't right for concerts or visiting Broadway shows. A major metropolitan area like the Tri-Cities needs and could support a real performing arts center. It would greatly add to the quality of life here in the Tri-Cities.
Monte Giles, Richland