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Science of Light & Sound returns to the Palladium

3/6/2024 12AM

Center for the Performing Arts production technicians “Dr. Brian” Coon (left) and “Dr. Rob” Glass dress the part in white lab coats and safety goggles when they present Science of Light & Sound, an education program provided free to local school groups in the Palladium concert hall.

Grant supports free science programs for students


CARMEL, Ind. – A generous gift is supporting the return of the Center for the Performing Arts’ free science presentations for local school groups.


Science of Light & Sound is a fun and interactive 60-minute experience in which the Center’s skilled production technicians use the Palladium concert hall’s lighting and PA systems to demonstrate key terms and concepts in physics, reinforcing lessons from the classroom.


A science presentation for a school group at the Palladium

“This presentation really covered our standards in ways we have not been able to, given the materials we have on hand,” said teacher Elizabeth Bruder, who recently attended the program with the fourth-graders of Allisonville Elementary School in Indianapolis. “It was also just an amazing opportunity for the students to be in the theater space, some of whom haven't had the chance to experience that before.”


Designed to accommodate an entire grade level at once in the unique acoustic setting of the Palladium, Science of Light & Sound was placed on hiatus when the pandemic led to limits on public gatherings. With the program’s revival in February, local schools already have booked a dozen of the available dates this spring.


The program’s updated content aligns with the Indiana Academic Standards for Grade 4 Science, exploring basic properties of light and sound as forms of transferable energy, though presentations can be adapted for older students. Currently delivering the material onstage – dressed comically in white lab coats and safety goggles – are Lead Audio Engineer “Dr. Rob” Glass and Technical Director “Dr. Brian” Coon, a former high school teacher. Colleagues assist from the lighting booth.


Logo for the Science of Light & Sound

Amid the relaunch, Science of Light & Sound has received a boost in the form of a $5,000 grant from the Scientech Foundation of Indiana, a public charity that supports nonprofit educational efforts in science, technology, engineering, medicine and related fields.


“Awarding grants to arts organizations is not common for us, but we were impressed by the innovative nature of this program,” said Dr. Robert Yee, secretary for the Scientech Foundation of Indiana. “The Center is doing important work in making science principles and STEM career fields more compelling for local students.”


To make its educational offerings more accessible to students throughout central Indiana, the Center for the Performing Arts operates a Transportation Grant Program, funded by contributions from individual donors, to which school groups can apply for funding to reimburse the cost of bringing students to events.


More information on Science of Light & Sound and the Transportation Grant Program is available at or by emailing


A man passes a check to two women as they stand outside the Palladium concert hall.

From left, VP of Development Kendra Latta and Director of Education & Community Engagement Julia Shildmyer accept a check from Dr. Robert Yee, secretary of the Scientech Foundation of Indiana.