- Orchestra Iowa “Homecoming” concerts
- Cedar Rapids: 7:30 p.m. Saturday (11/10), Paramount Theatre; free "Insight" discussion at 6:30 p.m.
- Iowa City: 2:30 p.m. Sunday (11/11), Iowa Memorial Union; free "Insight" discussion at 1:30 p.m.
- Tickets: $20 to $50 at the Orchestra Iowa Ticket Office
- 1-(800) 369-8863 or Orchestraiowa.org
Orchestra Iowa is returning to a home that looks familiar but sounds completely different. That’s a good thing for everyone from the back of the stage to the back row of the balconies. Acoustic upgrades were among the paramount improvements slated in the Paramount Theatre’s $35 million rehabilitation plan. The walls were re-contoured where possible and a new state-of-the-art shell now surrounds the orchestra on stage, with a reflector out front to bounce sound throughout the hall, eliminating the previous “dead spaces” that swallowed up lyrics and instrumental subtleties. With this new life comes welcomed new lessons and new experiences to embrace. Orchestra Iowa members who played in the venerable venue before the Floods of 2008 silenced the building for four long years now have their work cut out for them. “We’re going to have to relearn how to play,” Maestro Timothy Hankewich says. “We’ve been playing very loud for a very long time, because the acoustics we’ve been playing in have been drier. In the Paramount of old, we literally had to shovel the sound off the stage. “Now we have a shell and an acoustic where the sound is going to be so present, the orchestra’s going to have to adjust. We can actually play with nuance now. And you know what? That is a whole new world that I can’t wait to attack.” Rehearsals this week will lead up to the orchestra’s triumphant Homecoming concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The concert repeats at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City. The details