An alarm-style electric bell is mounted inside a large glass bell jar, with external switches to control both the bell and the pump. This enables the instructor to compare the propagation of sound and light.
Start the bell, then pump the air out of the jar. Air pressure in the jar is read by the large gauge. As the air is removed, the sound intensity decreases, ultimately to nearly zero. Turn off the vacuum pump when the jar is evacuated and crack the valve open, allowing air to re-enter the jar. As the pressure increases the sound of the bell comes back, but without the noise of the pump.
Consider asking the students to make predictions before each step - how will removing the air change what they hear? What they see? What will happen as the air returns?
For small groups, also consider H1-04, a more portable version of this demonstration.