Keep a Child Alive, an organization dedicated to combating the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, held their annual Black Ball gala recently at the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Empire Entertainment produced the star-studded event which this year honored arts education activist Nick Reding, Dr. Pasquine Ogunsanya, and rock musician Bono.

Alicia Keys is a global ambassador for Keep A Child Alive, and she served as the musical director for the event. She performed with her band as well as special guests Sheryl Crow and Gwen Stefani. Keys performed a special duet with opera singer Kathleen Battle in honor of Bono. Keys and Bono were joined by an African children’s choir in singing “Don’t Give Up, (Africa)” a version of the Peter Gabriel song they recorded to benefit Keep A Child Alive.

Brendan Gray of Number Nine Design & Production, Inc. designed the lighting and LED video setup for the stage, which featured 15 G-LEC Phantom Frames arranged in an grid with a Mainlight Soft-LED medium resolution curtain upstage. Scharff Weisberg provided the LED elements along with a control system of two full size MA Lighting grandMA consoles and 2 NSPs. Content was provided and programmed by Rodd McLaughlin of Idyll Hands Imagery, who also provided two PRG M-Box mediaservers. Designatronix Audio Inc. supplied all of the lighting and rigging, including over 50 Martin Professional MAC fixtures, along with conventional lighting for all of the decor elements.

“I was very pleased with the multi-layered LED video configuration,” says Gray. “It really enabled us to create different looks for a wide range of artists and styles, and was a great background for the cameras. I’d especially like to say thanks to all of the vendors who contributed to help raise money for such an important cause.”