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RANGELY I In September, the Friends of The TANK, Inc. took additional steps to turn the old water tank west of Rangely into a Center for Sonic Arts to be used for performance, recording and education.
In April, the county approved a Change of Use permit to shift the TANK’s classification from a storage to an assembly space, opening the door for repairs and alterations to be made for eventual public access to what lead organizer Bruce Odland has called “the Taj Mahal of sound.”
The Friends of the TANK, Inc. also recently received tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization, which allows for donations to be tax deductible.
While organizers and supporters have contributed to TANK workdays over the last year, renovations began in earnest over Labor Day weekend.
Designer Bill Ballou and blacksmith Jennifer Gilbert, Friends of the TANK members Bruce Odland, Mho Salim and Barb Rossener and local volunteers worked to create a ventilation system; to prepare for a new, larger door (while adding grab bars to make entering and exiting through the existing “porthole” easier); to build and install an outdoor fence; to add lights to the interior of the TANK; and to prepare for the addition of a control room to be built into a recycled shipping container designed by Sam Austin and Jan Burton of Denver-based Rhino Cubed.
Rangely resident Bill Willis and local company W.C. Streigel, Inc. provided materials and support for several of the recent renovations.
Supporters were pleased that some renovations proved musically fortuitous. A pipe that presented a trip hazard inside the TANK was removed, cut and mounted onto stands made from steel pushrods from old oil pumps. The result is an open circle of seating around the perimeter that also functions as a TANK gamelan, a kind of Indonesian musical ensemble.
A “ladder block,” based on the Swiss practice of using a piece of plywood to cover the rungs of a ladder, was built to prevent audience access, but with a twist: the block will also serve as a resonant TANKharp when strung with tunable strings.
Over the past year, Friends of the TANK, Inc. has brought electrical power to the TANK, added fire control and erected road signage to the property. Urie Trucking owners Elaine and Steve Urie built and donated a new road to the TANK, along with adding more parking. The installation of sanitary facilities and landscaping to maximize water conservation is being researched and planned as well.
“Friends of the TANK is working diligently to open the TANK to the public, and these last few weeks have seen more progress than any of us could have anticipated in such a short time,” Odland said. “We might even have an occupancy permit before the end of the year.
“There is a growing appreciation for sounds and acoustics in our hyper-visual world, as well as a growing interest in resonant spaces and unusual listening experiences,” he said.
Supporters hope that over time the TANK and its resonance capabilities will attract sonic thinkers, acousticians and a new community of interested laypeople and curious visitors at the same time becoming a valuable resource for the people of Rio Blanco County.