Welcome to Carthage, MO, home of the Fountain of Angels®, an open-air music and water production commissioned by greeting-card magnate Samuel Butcher and created by a design team that includes the LDs from Nautilus Entertainment Design. Opened in 1997, it features a plaza of large programmable fountains centered around 252 bronze sculptures, some of which weigh as much as 1,000lb. The accompanying 17-minute production featured water effects synchronized to gospel songs: one jet shooting 75' in the air, surrounded by a cathedral arch and two smaller foam jets, along with dancing water fountains, additional foam jets, and an 80'-wide mist screen and candelabra comprised of 60 individual jets creating another wall of water.

Jim Tetlow, of Nautilus, designed the lighting, using underwater, exterior, and automated fixtures in protective enclosures, an approach that, he says, “allowed the water effects to be illuminated in a gradient of different colors from top to bottom.” The main lighting positions included two weatherproofed bunkers built into the grade at ground level on either side of the plaza to house High End Systems Cyberlight® CX units. The bunkers were equipped with temperature controls and a clear glass window facing the fountains. Also in the bunkers were two telescoping 40' light towers, with two FOH positions for exterior PAR-64 units with pink, lavender, and blue dichroic filters. A weatherproof booth, which allowed rear projection of 70mm film onto the mist screen, provided an additional location for backlighting, using three Cyberlight CXs. Waterproof 1kW PAR-64 and 500W PAR-56 units, plus 75W submersible MR-16s, many of them from Hydrel, were used around and in the fountains. The PAR-64s were placed at the base of the water effects to serve as uplights; the units were modified to accommodate dichroic color filters. The 75W units had no filters, as they provided illumination for the statues.

In 2000, Nautilus was asked to design a new show, The Everlasting Promise, for which the site was enclosed, allowing for a year-round run. In May 2001 Mia Bane, an associate LD at Nautilus, redesigned the lighting, working with Michael Connery and the staff of Show Fountains of Houston, TX. Carol Connery, fountain designer, and Bob Harvey, programmer, created the water's movement with the new 20-minute musical score. Bane lit each of the five featured songs. She says, “I thought of the water programming as being similar to dance choreography. We used the sheet music as our script. Carol and Bob ran their fountain programming for each song, to give me a feel for mood and style. We then wrote the fountain blocking into the script, followed by a blind rough-in cue session using only focus positions — no color or patterns. After running the cues live to verify position data, I went back and added color, patterns, and parameter transition data. Another run-through allowed us to smooth out the timing transitions. After a number of run-throughs, we scripted the cues to SMPTE time code.”

Bane's equipment list includes 16 Cyberlight CXs, 72 1kW exterior PAR-64s with dichroic filters, 50 Hydrel 1kW PAR units with dichroics, 80 PAR-56 500W units with dichroics, 120 Hydrel submersible 75W MR-16s, and 24 two-tube 4' fluorescent units with high-output reflectors and color sleeves. Control is provided by an ETC Expression 2X console with MIDI option, as well as a 12×12 digitzer tablet, and a SMPTE read/edit module, both from ETC. That company also provided 288 Sensor 2.4kW dimmers. Also on the list are 158 ground fault circuit interruptors.

Speaking of her design, Bane, noting that the water and lighting tell a Biblical story, says, “This was exactly like lighting a play. There were warm and happy looks, such as those created for the depiction of the birth of Christ, and there were dramatic looks.” For example, for a sequence depicting the banning of Adam and Eve from Eden, the submersible Hydrel units were turned off, leaving only Cyberlights focused on the top of the water. “The water appeared to be leaping out of nowhere into this deeply saturated red. It was very striking and suited the intent of the piece perfectly, which was pretty menacing.”

Other personnel included production manager Walter Gundy, programmers David Chance and Brian Howard, and production electrician Denis McCubbin. The installation was managed by Fourth Phase Lighting.