The Gaillard’s Big Tune

It takes a crowd to tune the largest instrument at the new Gaillard Center.

The room, of course.

Gaillard Center Stage

Just two months from its grand opening gala, The Gaillard Center opened its doors last night for a hard had concert featuring the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Mayor Riley explained the name and asked anyone in the room who had worn a hard hat throughout the process to stand up. The round of applause for the workers of this nearly three-year project was surpassed only by the standing ovation that welcomed Mr. Riley to the stage.

Mayor Riley at The Gaillard Center

When the orchestra punched that first note, goosebumps ran amok. The man in front of me shivered a bit and exchanged smiles with his wife about their mutual chills. It was as if we were all holding our breath like there was some ridiculous possibility that noise wasn’t going to release from instruments in this new hall.

Gaillard Center View From The Stage

We were all there as seat placeholders, so that sound technicians could take true measurements and make their adjustments to the room, but it was clear that it represented a lot more than that for many participants. In fact, perhaps the best part of the night was after the performance, hearing the excitement from all the patrons of the old Gaillard Center. About how great it sounds. About how much better it is. About the different angle of the sloped floor and the beautiful cloud painting on the ceiling. Watching them run their fingers along every railing and touching every wall. They’re so excited to finally see and touch the room that, for years, had been nothing but a rendering.

And we’ve loved being a part of it.