HES Gear Augments Hosanna Lutheran Church Christmas Concert
Hosanna Lutheran Church’s Christmas Concert is the largest scale event they produce each year; for the 2016 shows about 15,000 tickets were purchased, and the church also added an additional show for a total of six performances over four days. A wide variety of High End Systems gear, provided by Ruehling Associates, Inc. helped provide stunning lighting for these holiday shows.
Hosanna’s LD Chris Helvick explains, “We have a 700 person choir from multiple high schools as well as our Hosanna! Choir. Acrobats, aerialists, and ballet dancers are part of the performance as well. Most notably, the entire concert is accompanied by a full professional orchestra. There are lot of areas to light. We have a choir upstage, orchestra midstage and performance spaces on the wings and downstage in front of the orchestra. We also have aerialists performing over the stage and house. The design philosophy for the concert is to make it as dynamic as we can get it. Different than regular weekend services, the concerts are a full immersion of sound, light, live performance, and digital display.”
Helvick used four SolaSpot Pro 1500s for the concerts. He says, “I placed the 1500s about 20’ off the stage and around 40’ from the choir. The fixture’s main purpose was to wash the gigantic choir we had on stage that spanned 50’ wide by 15’ deep on risers. Because the choir was not on stage for every song, I was also able to use the 1500s for an orchestra wash for some of the orchestral pieces, and having the added ability of the gobo wheels and animation effects allowed me to add texture to the orchestra.
“Having the ability to add CTO to the beam was a huge asset when washing any of the orchestra or choir to get the authentic ‘incandescent’ look which showed up really well with our HD cameras. I chose not to use the frost functions, as the field projected evenly with no hot spot, so there wasn't a need to frost the field at all.”
Chris explains, “Because we had a concrete wall behind the choir, the framing shutters really made the fixture stand out to me; with just a few keystrokes on the console I was quickly able to dial in the choir wash without having to bring our boom lift on stage or over the orchestra that was setting up. It’s a very full stage when everything is set up, and the last thing I wanted to do was have to bring a stick of truss down or send someone up in a lift after it had all been set in place. As a bonus, the indigo highlighters on the 1500s made for an awesome ‘blacklight’ to make the colored gaff glow a little bit so the choir could see the risers when loading or unloading.
The LD also specified six SolaWash 2000 fixtures for Hosanna’s show. He explains, “The SolaWash 2000 fixtures caught my attention when I demoed several fixtures for this concert back in October. Ruehling Associates had recommended the 2000s because there’s so much packed into that fixture, but the biggest selling point for me was how quiet they were. We have used a lot of other fixtures in the past for our main keylights, and most times we would get complaints during some of the more intimate songs because of the fan noise. I was able to bring in one of our audio engineers who, at first, couldn’t even tell the fixture was on until I brought up the intensity!
“I wanted the 2000s primarily for features such as the framing shutters and variable CTO. Two were in the middle of the house, off to each side of our stage, and I had an additional four on a platform, just in front of our video control room on the second floor. We included two of the fixtures in the tech balcony as followspot specials for a few songs, as well as providing coverage of aerialists who descended from the ceiling/catwalks and were stage lit on trampolines. This valuable balcony space quickly filled up a variety of gear and we were beginning to run out of power in that location with media servers and all of our video/broadcast systems that needed power as well. Having to only run a single Edison extension from our power distro was a huge asset instead of having to drag around 12 or 10-gauge cable to every location. When I learned the SolaWash 2000s first drew such little power and then did a little digging in the console and found you can manually disable/enable the pan and tilt motors on the fly, I added two more to the show instead of renting traditional followspots, which would have taken up significantly more space and power. As a bonus, for the dramatic songs with only two spot lights and two people on stage, I was able to use the other four SolaWash fixtures to wash the walls of the room and different parts of the orchestra from the front, to make for some really cool silhouette camera shots from stage.”
The purity of color achievable with the Sola fixtures’ white light LED engines, along with the fixture’s wide effects palette, were paramount to Helvick’s design. The LD comments that he found using the SolaWash 2000 fixtures much more convenient than conventional lekos. “First off, the HES fixtures’ high output allowed me to place them in tech balcony FOH and still reach all of the areas I needed to without flying temporary draw. Also they have a low power draw and I was able to run multiple fixtures off of one circuit, as well as being able to use multiple colors on the fly and not having to rig multiple fixtures to create different moods. During some songs, we opted for a different color of light, so having the variable CTO helped with the camera shots and to create the moments we wanted to convey during a particular song.
“The color temperature could be matched perfectly with the tungsten fixtures, but we found we wanted a little colder light for some of the songs and little warmer light for others, making the 2000 and 1500 fixtures much more versatile. The low heat output from the Sola Fixtures were also a welcome change for the performers. Low power consumption was a huge factor given the locations of the fixtures; we had ten fixtures dispersed amongst attendees with some dynamic moments of the concert where you could hear a pin drop on stage, and having fixtures that were next to silent was a huge asset.”
Helvick’s control system at FOH included a Road Hog 4 and Hog 3 Mini-Playback wing and a DP-8000 on-stage. He also used some X.Spot Xtremes and says they still provide a great variety of textures. Hosanna had a team of volunteers as well as some professional stage hands to assemble the stage and set pieces, as well as fly the rig. Members of their staff also contributed to this project. Andrew Loftus, the Technical Director from Hosanna’s second campus ran the media servers for projection and LED walls. Systems Engineer Taylor Mason helped with networking the Hog Console and the DP8000, and also assisted with rigging the fixtures.
In closing Chris says, “We had great support from Ruehling Associates, Inc. Travis Slyter provided technical support and design assistance with the Road Hog 4 and the Sola fixtures. Ron Ruehling and Duane Goldberg provided logistical support and give us all the accessories we needed to make the most out of these great fixtures. We are looking forward to using them again in future projects!”