Ken Wesler had a classic "what have I done moment" when he first saw the two 80-inch monitors purchased for the Strand theater at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
Wesler said he thought the monitors, which arrived earlier this month, were too large to be placed on either side of the 1,262-seat theater and would compromise the audience's view of the live performance.
But the high-definition, flat-screen monitors - purchased to enhance the audience's theater experience - fit perfectly and seem smaller than their actual size amid the theater's grand décor.
Wesler, the theater's president and chief executive officer, said he worked the monitors and their accompanying camera system during the York Symphony Orchestra's recent performance at the theater at 50 N.
He said comments from concert attendees ranged from "wow" to appreciation for being able to see performers' faces and up-close shots of musicians' fingers onscreen.
"We had a guest pianist, and I zoomed in on the piano and you could see how gracefully her fingers moved as she played," Wesler said. "When the trumpet parts came up, I put the trumpet section on the screens so the audience could really see the players."
Photos of composers and artwork associated with their pieces also can be shown on the monitors during the performances of their music, he said.
How it works: Images for the monitors come from three cameras - two hanging near the theater's balcony area and one onstage facing the audience.
"This is especially great for symphony performances, where the conductor's backis to the audience," Wesler said. "Now the audience can see the conductor's face."
The Strand and York Symphony Orchestra started working on the $35,000 monitor project in November, getting help from Tighe King, CEO of local performance-apparel manufacturer Perform Group LLC, and Tony Campisi, CEO of Glatfelter Insurance Group in York Township.
Wesler said the two companies were leading financial donors for the project. The York Symphony Orchestra also used private donations received in honor of its 80th season this year.
The monitors will be used prior to performances to list future events at the theater and to list program sponsors, he said.
The theater will not record performances because of contract and legal rights issues, Wesler said.
Adding a technological component to the theatrical experience also will appeal to youngsters who have become used to seeing up-close images on television and computers, Wesler said.
"These images are right at their fingertips," he added. "When they come to the theater, everything seems far away to them. But with the monitors, they can really see how the live performance is done."
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The York Symphony Orchestra's Pops Tribute to Gershwin concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St. in York City.
Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at www.mystrandcapitol.org.
For more information, call 846-1111.