Belfast based lighting rental company Production Services Ireland (PSI) supplied lighting, rigging and crew for the 2009 Young Voices Christmas Concert, staged in the city's Odyssey Arena with a lighting design by Joe Byrne.
It was at least the 5th year that PSI has been involved with the Belfast YV Christmas concert, produced by London based Sound & Light Productions and featuring a mass choir of 5000 schoolchildren, plus featured artists which this year included VV Brown and classical superstars, All Angels.
The Odyssey Arena was used in a 'back-to-front' format for this show, with the stage at the opposite end to normal, due to there being more bleacher seating in the rear of the venue to accommodate the enormous choir, which was wrapped around the back and sides of the stage.
This presented its own challenges for the PSI team - who had to light all the choir along with the stage area for bands and singers. They got in the day before to rig for the show. There was only a finite amount of space available on the stage, so the vast majority of the lighting was kept in the air, with dimmer and monitor worlds also fitted in on stage left and right respectively. The stage right side was rigged and flown first to allow the monitor set up maximum time to be installed.
The overhead lighting was arranged over 4 trusses - back, two angled side trusses and a front. The side trusses were flown to facilitate lighting positions to cover the choir, which was lit with 9 x 2K fresnels per side truss and another 9 along the back truss.
Byrne chose fresnels for their soft tungsten light output which provided a pleasant soft glow without bleaching them out. The whole lighting concept evolved around creating a good atmosphere where everyone could be seen and the onstage performers highlighted.
The two side trusses also had profile fixtures for picking out the singers, and the back truss was rigged with 2 profiles for illuminating the conductor. Also on the sides were 2 bars of 6 PARs, with 4 bars on the rear truss and another 6 on the front for general additional choir and stage washes. On the front truss was another 6 profiles for key'ing band members and the conductor.
The 26 moving lights were a mix of Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 2500E ATs, chosen for their high intensity. On the front were 6 x ColorSpot 2500E ATs, with 4 on the back, and 4 Washes and 2 x Spots for each of the side trusses. The final 4 ColorWash 2500E ATs were on the floor across the back of stage.
Byrne ran the lighting from a Jands Vista T2 console, and utilised the 4 in-house Super Trouper follow spots.
Cable management was another area requiring some logistics, planning and tidiness, so it all dropped in the same place on stage left.
PSI's Sean Pagel comments, "It's a great show to be involved with and every year the choir seems to grow in size and take over more sections of the Arena".