Michelle Elizabeth Jarvis: Sound Designer and Engineer


Zorro: A New Musical - Sound Intern

Music by The Gipsy Kings and John Cameron

Book by Stephen Clark and Helen Edmundson

Directed by Christopher Renshaw

Sound Design by Kai Harada

Woodruff Center, Alliance Theatre, March 2013

Being the sound intern on Zorro was an amazing experience. I provided me with the oportunity to work on a large scale musical theatre production in a non-educational enviroment. As the sound intern I helped with everything from pulling and labeling cables to programming parts of Cue Console to mixing monitors on a Yamaha M7CL. Working on this production really comfirmed for me my love of musical theatre and the creative challenges it forces the team to overcome. I really enjoyed working on this production and hope to have the oportunity to work on others like it in the future.

Zorro Show Trailer

Zorro Load-In

Into The Woods - Sound Designer

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by James Lapine

Directed by Jack Cummings III

Musical Direction by Kevin Stites

Production Sound Engineer: Cole Hamrick

UNC School of the Arts, Thrust Theatre, February 2013

All Pictures taken by Brent LaFever.

All paperwork created by Cole Hamrick and Rosio Medina.

Mrs. Giant Vox FX Sample

Into the Woods is a musical with four of the Brother's Grimm Fairy Tales (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood) and Sondheim's original story about a Baker and Wife's quest to have a child. Act 1 tells their stories that we grew up with with intertwining plots. In Act 2 we join the real world where every choice and wish that has been fulfilled has a consequence. During the show we explore the different relationships between parents and children, and that growing up means accepting responsibility.

We produced the show in a 3/4 thrust space, using two turntables, and a 15 piece orchestra spanning 60 feet against the upstage wall. We had a completely white set with each characters story written on the stage and on their costumes. For the show we basically had three speaker systems; vocal reinforcement, monitoring, and the giant.

The vocal precedence system including 6-d&b E3 as Front Fills and a split Center Cluster of 6-d&b Q1 and 2 d&b Q7. It was very important to us that even though it was a musical that it did not sound like a miced musical we achieved this by using the front fills and delaying the system. All of the actors worn Countryman B6 elements and we did our best to hide them. At the end of Act 1 we had a beanstalk grow out of Jack's book, this is one of the reasons that we went with a split cluster.

We had two main types of monitoring on show, onstage monitoring and orchestra monitoring. The onstage monitoring consisted of 4-EAW JF 80. Two were inset in downstage deck extension and two were offstage left/right. Since the orchestra was spread over sixty feet we worried about them being able to hear each other. To accomplish this we used Hear Technologies Hear Back Personal Monitoring System and sent mix-downs of each section so individually each section could adjust their mix live.

In our production we never saw Mr. or Mrs. Giant so there characters had to be believable based on how they sounded and how the actors reacted to them. To achieve this we used 4 EAW LA 325 in each "corner" of the house and 4 JBL MP418s Subs. The director wanted people to poop their pants and I think if you weren't expecting it we got pretty close. To the right is the Vox effect on Mrs. Giant that we were aiming to produce live in the space.

We also had the opportunity use Meyer Sounds Cue Console on its maiden voyage at UNCSA. This was both a blessing and a curse. For every member on the sound team this was our first experience using Cue Console on an actual show so of course, there were countless learning moments. We had a four day training session back in December and some classroom time. When we first started programming we felt overwhelmed because we were trying to implement a lot of "fancy" things that we did not know we needed yet. Once we simply programmed it to be a mixing console that passed audio it was pretty smooth sailing and we implemented the "fancy" things as we discovered that we needed them such as hat-on hat-off EQ.

Detective Story - Sound Designer

Play Written by Sidney Kingsley

Directed by Carl Forsman

Production Sound Engineer: Ai Chen

UNC School of the Arts, Catawba Theatre, November 2013

Video Slide Show with End of Act 1 Music

Top of Act 1

Top of Act 2

End of Act 2

Top of Act 3

End of Act 3 / Curtain Call

Detective Story is a day in New York City's Twenty-First Precinct in 1949. It centers around a self-righteous police detective, James McLeod.

For our production I requested a system that had even coverage over the seating sections for loud orchestral music, an fx speaker in the bathroom, atmospheric audience surround, and horizontally accurate telephone rings.

The director wanted something orchestral and very large at the beginning and ends of each act, similar to the old radio shows. We decided to use Joby Talbot's album Aluminium which is an orchestral reworking of The White Stripes album Aluminium. The audio clips to the right are all of the Tops and Bottoms of each Act. One on my favorite things that I created for the show was all of the bathroom fx. In the bathroom they did everything from wash ink off their hands to slashing water on their faces to actually using the bathroom. We presented the show in an alleyway style with the audience viewing the precinct as if they were flies on the walls. This presented some interesting learning opportunities for the sound team. There are times where we recognize the world that is going on outside of the precinct and we had to discover where the outside world existed spatially in the world where the audience members are flies on the wall. I'm not sure we ever really found it but we learned a lot as we played with different locations and different sounds. One thing that helped keep the story moving is the use of telephones to communicate to the world outside of the precinct. Since our ears are better at distinguishing left/right more than up/down it was important to me that all of the telephones that rang, there were three, in the show actually rang from the horizontal position of each desk. To achieve this we used a single Tele-Q into a multi ringer control box. We then created XLR to RJ-11 adapters, since our patch bay is XLR and we have more XLR than RJ-11 cable in the shop, and rang each telephone live. I also tuned the bells on the telephones to all ring at slightly speeds and frequencies.

Emerging Choreographers - Sound Designer

Choreographed by the 2013 Senior Contemporary Dance Students

UNC School of the Arts, Agnes de Mille Theatre, February 2012


In Absentia by Adriana Uruena


Portal by Andre Drummond


Laila Tov Motek by Aslan Rolston


Twine by Brian Binion


Vertical Migration by Lauren Haug


This Life of Sleep by Maggie Knickerbocker


Anurakti by Meg Gerth


Three Great Gifts of Peace by Paige DeBoer


More Matters, Less Art by Zoe Warshaw

All Pictures taken by Mark Webb.

"Emerging Choreographers is a presentation of new choreographic works by senior contemporary dance students. The concert is a culmination of three years of intensive compositional studies, which make up a portion of the contemporary dance curriculum. The works will be performed by contemporary dance students and will showcase UNCSA's most talented choreographers and dancers."-Marla Carpenter, Media Contact

This years Emerging Choreographers involved 9 choreographers, 5 lighting designers, 1 sound designer, 1 stage manager, and a small crew to make it all happen. The sound system included on stage monitoring for the dancers, and even coverage over the audience seating. We wanted the audience to feel like they we in the same world as the dancers. To achieve this we had a left, center, right system and reverb speakers in the house. I bounced all the files mid-side instead of stereo so that a each speaker was getting something different and the audience wouldn't source as much to the speaker closest to them. I also used different reverb on some on the tracks. For Aslan's piece we had a live snare drummer on stage.

Luminosity: Ignite the Night - Head Audio

Produced by RWS & Associates Entertainment

Sound Design by Chuck Davis

Cedar Point, Celebration Plaza, Summer 2012

All paperwork created by Michelle Jarvis.

"Luminosity lights up Celebration Plaza at Cedar Point, the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States. The 35-minute interactive experience ends a day of excitement at the park this summer. Hundreds of CHAUVET fixtures are part of this show that features light displays, music and dance performances, special effects, fireworks, pyrotechnics and live DJ action." -PLSN Newsroom

Luminosity took audiences on "A journey across land and sea that blasts into outer space" with songs like On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez, Orinoco Flow by Enya, and E.T. by Katy Perry. Luminosity featured 4 singers, 3 drummers, 2 cirque dancers, 25 dancers, and 1 live DJ.

All 4 singers wore Shure UR1 transmitters with a Shure Beta 54 microphone and Shure P9R in-ear receiver with Shure SE 425 Earphones. The 3 drummers were also wearing Shure P9R in-ear receivers but with Shure SRH 750DJ Headphones. The 3 drum kits combined were miced with 7-Shure SM57, 10-Shure Beta 27, 4-Shure Beta 56A, and 3-Shure Beta 52A. I originally was mixing the show on a Yamaha M7CL-48ES in a sealed booth three stories up using 2-KRK Rokit 5 as monitors. After a few too many windy nights and not being able to hear and adjust for what the audience was hearing I convinced the management to purchase a Behringer BCF2000. After programming and a couple nights testing it in the booth I was able to start mixing the show down with the audience in Celebration Plaza via Midi, this greatly improved the consistency of the mix. During the show I also used a Tascam TA-1VP vocal processor for auto-tune effects.

Of Mice and Men - Production Sound Engineer

Play Written by John Steinbeck

Directed by Matt Cowart

Sound Design by Chad Dove

UNC School of the Arts, Patrons Theatre, February 2012

All Pictures taken by Brent LaFever.

All paperwork created by Michelle Jarvis and Cole Hamrick.

Of Mice and Men is about two wanderers working the fields during the Depression so that they can some day own a farm of their own. Lennie is a kind giant who sometimes does not recognize his own strength and George, Lennie's care taker, is an intelligent kind hearted man. Together they travel from job to job trying to save up enough money to some day live out their dream.

For this production the Sound Designer requested a system that could provide two things: atmospheric audience surround and live band reinforcement/reverb.

For the atmospheric audience surround we used: 4 JBL MS26 focused into the corners of the room, 2 d&b E3 placed in the center of the longer walls focused at the walls, and 1 EAW JF 60 hung Center Center about 20' in the air focused straight up at the ceiling. This provided even coverage with minimal point sourcing.

The live band consisted of 2 musicians who were also characters in the play since they did not have their instrument with them at all times and played in many different areas we had to find a way of discretely micing both instruments. Both actors wore Shure ULX wireless mics during the production. The fiddle had a pickup and was plugged/unplugged in between musical sections, the actor simply kept the cable tucked inside his vest. The guitar did not have a pickup, after a few different scenarios we placed a Countryman B6 element on the inside of the actors right sleeve and it sounded great. Our operator was going to have to adjust the band levels live and was inside a sealed booth high above the audience. To compensate for this I hung an AKG CK91+AKG SE 300B and provided her with a Yamaha NS10M monitor in the booth. During tech we discovered that she could still not hear the slight adjustments that sold the effects after trying multiple things to improve the situation we added a second console in the house and another operator could the band adjust levels live in the house.

Here is the Full PSE Package.

A Lie of the Mind - Production Sound Engineer

Play Written by Sam Shepard

Directed by Matt Bulluck

Sound Design by Chad Dove

UNC School of the Arts, Catawba Theatre, October 2011

All Pictures taken by Brent LaFever.

All paperwork created by Michelle Jarvis and Amanda Yanes.

"A Lie of the Mind tells the story of a severe case of spousal abuse and its effect on the two families, especially the husband, Jake, and his wife, Beth. From the first disorienting lines the characters speak in the dark, a sense of barely concealed turmoil begins to bubble up from beneath the surface of their words. Jake jumbles phrases into a telephone receiver, attempting to explain to his brother, Frankie, what he has just done: "I never even saw it comin', Frankie. I never did. How come that is? How come?" " -Chelsea de Jesus, UNCSA Media

For our production the Sound Designer requested a system that could provide three things: live band reinforcement, atmospheric surround, and a practical inside of a trash can that was moved on and off stage by an actress.

For the live band reinforcement we decided on a center cluster of 2 Meyer UPA-1. The live band consisted of 3 musicians: a guitar, mandolin, fiddle and 2 of them also sang. The 3 musicians wore Shure ULX wireless mics, the guitar and fiddle both had pickups. The two singers and the mandolin wore Countryman B6 Elements. For the atmospheric surround we decided on 4 EAW JFX-290 focused into the corners of the upper ring and 4 EAW JF-80 focused at the corners in the lower corridor. For the practical in the trash can I used a Listen Tech LR600 battery powered speaker receiving signal from a Shure PSM 200 in-ear receiver.

Here is the Full PSE Package.