The hottest ticket on Friday night, June 11th, in Madison, WI, was not to a hit Broadway show or a movie premiere, but to the “opening night” of ETC's new corporate headquarters. From all points of the globe, industry and press VIPs, government officials, friends, and clients thronged to the debut of the lighting company's $21-million new building and the unveiling of its rumored marvel of an atrium. True to ETC, the night was about theatre and lighting magic, in an ingenious space that rethinks the rules on factory architecture and corporate decor. It opened to rave reviews.
Five hundred people gathered in style in Town Square — ETC's theatrical replica of a 1940's city street scene, based on Edward Hopper's New York paintings. This was no party decor though, taken down the next day: this giant set remains as ETC's real work-day world, the centerpiece of the 250,000 sq. ft. production and administration facility.
Guests were wined, dined, and entertained throughout the gala evening by Broadway numbers performed from throughout the atrium. ETC invited area high school students to put on their recent spring-musical pieces and show off their homegrown talent. Middleton High School's Ruth Pferdehirt stole the show, becoming Evita Perón when singing Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Don't Cry for Me, Argentina” from the skyscraper balcony. The polished boy band, made up of Reilly Hatch, Josh Linderman, and Jonathon Schroerlucke from Verona High School, dispatched Guys and Dolls' “Fugue for Tin Horns” from the fire escape and returned later in the evening to croon an a cappella number from the bank steps. Other show tunes included “On Broadway,” performed by Edgewood High School; “Another Opening, Another Show” from Kiss Me, Kate performed by Madison Memorial High School; and “Tonight” from West Side Story, sung by Monona Grove students.
Not to be upstaged, Fred Foster emerged at intermission on the skyscraper balcony to welcome guests and break some surprise ETC news. Inviting Dutch dimming expert Jan de Jonge up to join him in the spotlight — literally — Foster announced ETC's acquisition of sine-wave dimming manufacturer IES, located in the Netherlands. De Jonge, principal and founder of IES, also addressed the applauding crowd. With hundreds of champagne glasses raised to a toast, and a dazzling cue of Source Four® Revolution™ light, ETC and IES celebrated the coming era of their combined success.