Over the course of 3 days in January, more than 4,500 high school students and teachers from across Illinois gathered at the University of Illinois at Champagne/Urbana to further their passion for theater; through a series more than 150 workshops on topics ranging from lighting and costumes to makeup and special effects; and performances by schools throughout the state selected to perform at the festival.
Held at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Tyron Festival Theatre, the festival was themed “Take Flight,” and featured an All-State production of the Broadway smash hit In the Heights along with 20 other full-length and showcase productions. VUE’s long-standing network partner, Elmhurst-based AB Production Associates, provided full audio-production services for the All-State production, featuring a hybrid al-Class line array system.
“Events like the Illinois High School Theatre Festival provide the motivation and skills for tomorrow’s performers and production talent,” raved VUE’s COO Sara Elliott. “And VUE was proud to team with AB Production Associates to deliver Broadway-level sound to these amazing youth performances.”
According to AB Production Associates’ President and co-sound designer, Anthony Bartucci, and his co-sound designer, Ian Garrett, the theater presented several challenges largely tied to limited fly points and their location. “Coverage in the room is difficult since the only fly points are located in the proscenium which limits trim height,” explained Garrett. “And since the flybar is about even with the balcony rail at trim, balcony coverage is often spotty. So, one of our key design requirements was to ensure we achieved even coverage—even in the balcony—in spite of trim height limitations”
To achieve these objectives, AB deployed a concentric hybrid array of 8x al-8, along with 4x al-4 as underhangs, per side. 2x dual 18-inch hs-28 subwoofers with ACM (Active Compliance Management) technology per side provided low-end support, while 2x h-5 dual five-inch high-definition speakers provided front fill. VUE Drive Systems Engines provided power for all elements but the a-8s that were used as foldback. They massaged the array’s angles using EASE and managed to avoid the balcony rail to cover the balcony seating while at the same time covering the orchestra section evenly.
‘The al-8 beats out other similar-sized systems in terms of sound quality and SPL, both important factors with the musical style of the Festival,” explained Garrett. “Coupled with the fantastic results we’ve had deploying al-Class on our other shows and the excellent support we’ve gotten from VUE, we knew very early on that we’d use an all-VUE system at the festival. We’ve been VUE fans since we first heard them, switching over from Nexo and MacPhearson to a-12, a-8, as-series subs, and now al-Class with hs subs,” he continued.
Bartucci summed up their experience, “We love all of VUE’s products; ever since purchasing our first a-12’s in 2015, we’ve loved the sonic quality and clarity of the speakers. After hearing the al-Class, we knew we had to add them our inventory. The al-8 were the perfect size box for this venue, with the al-4s a perfect way to fill in below the main hang. We delivered on our mission to bring the level of professionalism we do for all our jobs, but because these young adults hold great promise for the future of performance, and production, we took this one even more seriously—with VUE we really did take flight!”