grandMA in a Wolf Trap
Known as America’s National Park for the Performing Arts the Wolf Trap venue, Vienna (VA), has installed two grandMA full-size in its “Filene Center”.
Wolf Trap’s typical season includes performances ranging from pop, country, folk and blues to orchestra, dance, theatre and opera as well as performance art and multimedia presentations. Its larger venue Filene Center is a 7,000-seat indoor/outdoor theatre.
“We had other desks and needed an upgrade so we acquired three grandMAs, one of them a GrandMA replay unit, and four MA NSPs as our house lighting control system,” reports Wolf Trap’s head electrician Henry Parks. “Performances here start at the end of May, and we do approximately 100 different shows ’til mid-September. Basically, we have a large conventional rig with lots of Color Faders and SeaChangers; we have around 1,500 conventional fixtures and about 40 multi-attribute accessories. Moving lights are rented on a per-show basis.”
According to Parks, “one of the reasons we chose the grandMA was that it had feature sets that other manufacturers hadn’t implemented. Not having features such as remote DMX capabilities would have had a major impact on our work. The grandMA’s quick adaptability to our show needs was also a big selling point as was the fact that many guest artists’ lighting designers were already very familiar with it.”
A further selling point for the grandMA was that it enables users to “easily combine control of all lights - our rig and any additional lights requested by the guest artists,” says Parks. “Sometimes we’ll bring in from 12-30 moving lights for performers. With the grandMA we have the ability to merge these lights into our system and take over already-channeled devices; sometimes we don’t even need to go in and patch additional channels. Lighting designers can also bring in their own desks, and we can easily give them control of our units through our desk. I can program on my desk and then offer it to them as a unit, or they can run on our board.”
At press time Parks had completed a temporary network link between one desk on stage and the four MA NSP units in the dimmer room. “We have ShowNet to Pathway nodes talking to our dimmers controlled through our WiFi system remotes. Everything came up without any problems,” he reports. He will finish the lighting control update before the Wolf Trap season commences and plans to link up the audio department’s new Digico SD7 mixer through the network system.
“So far, everything is working as expected. The consoles came right online, and they’re running fine,” says Parks. “I’m very happy with the grandMA, and my staff is very impressed with it.”
“Wolf Trap is such prestigious venue, and is known for its high standards of excellence, that anyone would be proud to be actively involved. We are no exception. When you couple this with the opportunity to work with Henry Parks, you have an unbeatable combination. For many years, manufacturers have beat a path to Henry’s door for advice and we were thrilled when he chose grandMA for its unique capabilities,” comments A.C.T Lighting President and CEO Bob Gordon. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in North America.
Wolf Trap is a public/private partnership between the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service.