St. Agnes Church
The principal venue for FRINGE events is St. Agnes Church, 1 Word Ave., Red Lodge. St. Agnes Church is a Roman Catholic Church, constructed in 1998 on the site of an earlier church that had become much too small for the congregation and civic activities. All facilities are up-to-date. There is a spacious lobby area outside the nave and sanctuary. On the lower floor is a large common area, suitable for receptions and banquets.
The nave and sanctuary of the church have comfortable chair seating for up to 120, and pew bench seats for a total capacity of up to 400—depending on how closely everyone wishes to squeeze. The sight lines are excellent from every seat. The acoustics are very good in the front rows; and musicians who have performed there are generally pleased with the sound. The reverberation time is about normal for a space of such size: approximately 0.75 seconds. As is common in churches, the restroom facilties are minimal. There are ancillary offices and other rooms that can be used for dressing and warm-up.
Access to the performance area is at the level of the alleyway entrance, with no need to negotiate stairs or ramps.
The photograph does not show the new piano, which was acquired in October, 2014. This is a Kohler & Campbell 6-foot Model SKG 600S. Though the maker is generally considered a secondary brand, this piano has been specially finished, with voicing and sound quality as fine as many better known makes. Our piano technician says “It’s only a 6-foot grand, but it sounds like a 7-foot.”
Red Lodge Civic Center
For larger events, particularly those that might require sound and light equipment, we generally use the Red Lodge Civic Center. The Civic Center was constructed in the 1950s as an all-purpose civic, athletic, and performance center. It is currently owned and operated by the Red Lodge Schools. The civic and performance facilities have been compromised by its use for athletic events; though the impact of athletic events is expected to diminish now that the Schools have acquired a new High School and Gymnasium.
The Civic center has a small stage at one side, under the low end of the arched roof. This stage is adequate for small ensembles. Larger performing groups use the main floor, with considerable deterioration of the acoustics. (The photograph at the right was made from the back of the stage.)
The Civic Center Stage is extremely shallow, though the Red Lodge Music Festival has constructed a stage extension that projects into the audience area. Use of the extension would require permission from the Music Festival and arrangements for transportation and set up. There are no flies or wings, and entry to the stage is through a narrow, awkward passageway. There is a small dressing and warm-up room adjacent to the stage.
Seating in the Civic Center is on bench seats in the upper bleachers, bench seats on portable-folding bleachers, and portable chairs on the main floor. The capacity on the main floor is about 300, depending largely on good sight lines and adequate sound. The capacity of the bleachers on the side facing the stage is up to 500. Access to the main floor is at ground level, and access to the upper bleachers is via a steep stairway in the lobby. There is a small lobby in the front part of the building, with barely adequate restrooms.
The Civic Center has rather problematic acoustics, with echoes from the end walls and a reverberation time in excess of 3 seconds. However, satisfactory results have been obtained by the Red Lodge Music Festival, using the stage and a portable acoustic shell. Attaining satisfactory acoustics depends on either finding the best location under the curved roof or using an amplified sound system.
See floor plan (pdf)
There is a rather abused 6-foot grand piano available in the Civic Center. Its exterior finish is ruined, but the action and sound are satisfactory for incidental purposes.
Red Lodge Community Church
The Community Church is an alternate venue at times when St. Agnes Church is not available. This is a church from the early 20th century that was extensively renovated in the later part of the century. The interior is traditional, with a raised sanctuary area and pew seats. The maximum capacity is 120.
The raised platform of the sanctuary can be cleared, making way for an elevated performance area adequate for a very small ensemble, or a piano and several other musicians. The acoustics are good but rather dry. The reverberation time is very short, leading to what some might call a “closet” sound.
The Community Church has a Steinway B-model piano dating from the 1970’s, belonging to the Red Lodge Music Festival. This is an excellent piano, in very good condition, and suitable for a vigoous piano recital.