During sound check, two crew members should go up to the choir

During sound check, two crew members should go up to the choir
During sound check, two crew members should go up to the choir library to set up
catering. The three folding tables should get set up perpendicular to the windows. Chairs
should be put out around these tables. Tablecloths from the Athenaeum should go over
all four tables (the three just set up and the fourth along the stage left wall which will get
used for serving). The milk crates full of dishes and silverware should come up from the
hospitality closet, as should at least one cooler of drinks. Backstage, there should be a
large trashcan without a lid. This should get a new liner and be brought upstairs for
Just before or during sound check, either the sound supervisor or the stage
manager should approach the band, especially the drummer and bass player, to discuss
stage volumes. It should be explained that the Amp is a very live room and there have
been serious problems in the past when stage volume is so loud that the house engineer
cannot turn up vocal or other instrument mics enough to be heard over the band without
causing feedback. This problem can be easily avoided if the band will play quietly and
allow the sound staff to do the work to make them heard both onstage (through the
monitors) and in the house.
The "Voice of God" mic should always be patched for emergency
announcements. A DAT tape with the rules and regulations announcement should be
played when appropriate after the house is open.
Once sound check is complete, the crew should secure any loose cables with
gaffer's tape, both onstage and in the house. The Crew Supervisor should find the tour
manager and find out about the photo policy and the approximate running times.
The Hospitality Supervisor will have contacted the caterer to set up an arrival and
start time. Usually, the caterer will arrive during sound check. Any available Amp crew
should help the caterer carry the catering from the vehicle up to the choir library.
The tour's production staff determine when the band and tour staff will eat. All
the Amp crew will need to do is provide directions to catering. After the band and staff
have eaten, the Hospitality Supervisor will open catering to the Amp crew. Depending
on the time, some of the Amp crew will have to work while the rest of the crew eats, so
the Crew Supervisor should establish a dinner rotation.
After catering is done, usually during the show, the crew should help the caterer
load out, break down the tables, put away the chairs, and bring the trash can downstairs.
The choir library must be left as it was found.
On Fridays, the house opens at 6:45pm. There will usually be lines at the gates
long before this. If the show is being sponsored, as is sometimes the case, the House
Manager will need to reserve seats for a group from the sponsoring company. Usually,
the first two or three rows in section 15 are roped off with the blue guarantor ropes. The
sponsor's group will be escorted in by one or more ushers who will take down the ropes
when the group arrives. The first two rows next to the sound console are also roped off;
these are reserved for the President of the Institution and the President's family. If the
show has sold well, the House Manager should tape "Reserved for Handicapped" signs to
the two benches in the front on the sides that are not already marked for Handicapped.
Just before 6:45, The Production Assistant should check with the tour manager,
the lighting and sound contractors if appropriate, and the house manager to make sure
everyone is ready to open the house. There will often be performers who want to go out
on stage to preset instruments, etc. after the house is open; this is fine. A crew member
or security staff will need to be stationed at the front-of-house consoles, monitor console,
and dimmer racks (as appropriate for the show) before the house opens and remain there
until the board operator arrives before the show. After the show, and at intermission if it
exists, the guards will need to return. Security may also be needed at the doors from
backstage to the voms if the needs of the show prevent the doors being locked. Security
will definitely be needed on the back porch and at each gate. Once all of the staff,
including security, is ready, the lights can be turned on, preshow music started if needed,
and the house opened. There will be an initial rush of patrons trying to get into the front
row, then things will die down in the house for about half an hour, at which time it will
begin filling up.
If the show is sold out, or close to it, the choir loft will be used for audience
seating. The choir loft should be closed when the house is first opened, and should be
opened when the house is almost full. When the time comes to open the choir loft, one
usher should be stationed at each entrance to the choir loft. The lighting operator should
turn on the choir loft lights, and this will be the signal to the ushers to open the gates to
the choir loft. Patrons are welcome to sit on the ledge in front of the organ pipes but they
should be asked to not lean on the pipes.
The Amp crew should frequently check the trash cans at all gates on big Pop
nights. They will ususally need changing before the house opens and again before the
show starts.
Before the show, the Production Assistant should check with the tour manager or
the performers to see if they would like bottled water or towels on stage. Usually, one
towel and one bottle of water will be requested for each performer. This should go out
around 15 minutes before the show. Also around 15 minutes, the backstage lights should
be turned down to running level. The clip lights at the stage right and left doors should
be turned on, as should the light in percussion storage stage left and in the stage
manager's station stage right. The flourescent lights on both sides should get turned off.
At the center door, the running lights should get turned on and the flourescent light
switch marked with black tape should be turned off.
If theatrical smoke or fog is to be used in the performance, the fire alarm system
in the Amp should be temporarily disabled. This can be accomplished at the alarm panel
in the electrical closet. Open the interior door on the panel and press: menu, F1, login,
222, enter. Follow the on screen menu prompts to disable the alarm and the dial out.
Whenever the alarm is disabled, a crew or security member must be stationed in the
electrical closet to watch the alarm panel for a fire detection. The alarm system should be
restored immediately following the concert.
Depending on the tour staff, the Production Assistant may serve as Stage Manager
or the tour may have its own Stage Manager. If there is no touring SM, the PA should
announce half-hour, 15 minutes, 5 minutes, and places. In either case, the PA will
generally serve as the liaison between backstage and front-of-house and the booth to get
the show started, calling the houselights out. After that, the tour should have its own
lighting director who will take over.
If there is an intermission, the PA should call the houselights up after the first act
and get the show started again after intermission. At the end of the show, the PA should
get with the performer or the tour SM immediately to determine if there will be an
encore, and relay that information to the light booth and to front-of-house.
Once the show has begun, one member of the crew should remain on headset in
case there is a problem. It is usually most convenient to sit in the crew office because
there is a "biscuit". The same crew person can answer the phone if it rings and should
have a radio. If there is an emergency in the house, this is the person the house manager
will radio to get someone to call for an ambulance.
The rest of the crew should break down catering and walk through the house,
assisting the security staff, watching and listening for technical problems, and emptying
any trashcans that are full.
After the show, the crew can take control of the house lights and turn up some
stage lights for strike. As soon as the house is nearly empty, any house lights not needed
for loadout should be turned off.
The first priority after the show is getting the performers packed up and out the
door. The second priority is getting the contractors on the road. The last priority is the
crew going home. The first thing that generally happens is pulling up all of the gaffers'
tape. Usually, the performers will be backstage for a while after the show comes down,
and much of the sound gear will be in the way of the band gear anyway, so the crew helps
the sound contractor or tour sound manager get the mics and cables packed up. The crew
can often help by bringing out the dead boxes. As soon as the person from the tour in
charge of band gear gets onstage, the crew should move to helping him or her pack up
and start moving boxes back to the band truck.
Once most of the road cases are out in the loading zone, some of the Amp crew
can return to the stage and start taking down skirting and platforms while the rest of the
crew remains to help the Union crew load the trucks.
When a truck or bus is almost ready to leave, someone from the crew should call
security to request an escort, and when the vehicles are pulling out, crew members should
serve as human pylons to keep the vehicles out of the drainage holes.
Once the stage is broken down, the crew can help the Hospitality Supervisor clean
up the dressing room catering and coolers, clean up the coffee service, and start locking
Most Monday and Wednesday Specials are smaller groups without large tech.
requirements. It could be as small as pianist and the Steinway, or as large as a big gospel
show. But since the stage is usually booked for a dance rehearsal or organ time until
4pm, load-in and sound check have to be short. A few times during the season, a
Monday or Wednesday night will be a dance performance, when the dance department
and the union crew will handle most of the show.
Most of the audience for these shows comes from on the grounds, with few single
ticket sales. This means that the choir loft will usually stay closed for the performance.
This, combined with the fact that few of these shows are large enough to require the
entire stage, usually means that at least some masking is put up. The most typical
arrangement is the large and medium pieces across the back of the stage, approximately
in line with the turn in the edge of the stage, with the small masking pieces extended
along the sides as for dance. If the performing group is exceptionally small (as in the
case of a single pianist), the stage can be filled out by borrowing some potted palm trees
from the Athenaeum.
In anticipation of the band's arrival, fresh coffee should be made and one or more
coolers should be filled with sodas and ice and placed on a table backstage. If the band's
rider has specified, fruit and cheese or other platters may also need to be set up.
Typically, one member of the band will arrive earlier than the rest to coordinate
with the Amp crew and the sound staff. This is a chance to clarify ambiguities on the
rider and to get final placements on platforms, mics, etc., so sound check can get started
as soon as the rest of the band arrives. At this point or during sound check, the
Production Assistant should ask the band leader about the photo policy, the estimated
running times, if they want the VP for Programming to introduce the band, and if there is
any merchandising. If they are in doubt, the usual policy is to be lenient on
photographers, run for 90 minutes straight through, and to have an introduction.
Often the performers will stay at Webb's hotel in Mayville and get transported by
Institution van to the back of the Amp. If they travel in their own vehicles, arrangements
should be made for the band to park behind the Amp, either in the area where the Amp
van parks or along the Athenaeum loop. The crew will need to help the band bring in
their gear and get set up on stage.
Just before or during sound check, either the sound supervisor or the stage
manager should approach the band, especially the drummer and bass player, to discuss
stage volumes. It should be explained that the Amp is a very live room and there have
been serious problems in the past when stage volume is so loud that the house engineer
cannot turn up vocal or other instrument mics enough to be heard over the band without
causing feedback. This problem can be easily avoided if the band will play quietly and
allow the sound staff to do the work to make them heard both onstage (through the
monitors) and in the house. Once sound check is complete, the crew should secure any
loose cables with gaffer's tape.
After sound check, the band may return to Webb's for dinner and to change. If
this is not the case, arrangements should have been made by the Program Office and
Production Manager either for the band to eat at the Athenaeum or for food to be
delivered, usually from Andriaccios. If catering is being delivered, the Choir Library will
need to be set up for catering as on Fridays, and there is often enough left over for the
crew to eat after the band.
Most of these small pop shows will not travel with any kind of stage manager, so
it falls to the Production Assistant to run the show, or at least to try to run a show one has
no knowledge of and no control over. The largest part of this job is getting the show
started on time. The stage manager should check with the performers, the sound crew,
the lighting crew, and the house manager to make sure the house is ready to open at 7:15.
When everyone is ready, the SM should ask the lighting operator to turn on the house
lights and hand the house off to the House Manager. Whenever the main perimeter lights
are on (whenever the house is open), the perimeter lights on the back porch should also
be on.
The Stage Manager should announce half-hour, fifteen minutes, five minutes, and
places to the performers, crew, and announcer. At fifteen minutes, backstage lights
should be brought to running level as on Fridays. At five minutes, the SM should check
in with house management, lighting, and sound to make sure that they will all be ready to
start on time.
At 8:15 on the dot, assuming all is ready, the SM will cue the house to half. Hold
at half for about 30 seconds, then cue the house out and the stage up at the same time as
sending the announcer. The performer should take their own cue from the announcer.
If there is an intermission, the SM will need to repeat the starting process minus
the announcer. Intermissions, when they exist, are usually 15 minutes, but can be shorter
or longer if the performer desires.
After the show, the SM should meet the performer up center behind the masking
(or backstage if there is no masking) as soon as the performer is offstage to ask about an
encore. If the performer will be doing an encore, the SM should immediately let the
lighting and sound operator know. If there will not be an encore, the SM should call for
the house lights to come up.
After the show, the crew can take control of the house lights and turn up some
stage lights for strike. As soon as the house is nearly empty, any house lights not needed
for loadout should be turned off.
After the show, as on Fridays, the first priority is getting the band packed up and
out the door. Often, however, the band is backstage catching their breath when the crew
is ready to work, so the first step is usually to help the sound crew pull mics and coil
cables. A few minutes after the show is done, the crew can take control of the
houselights backstage and turn on some stage lights. By the time the mics are out of the
way, at least some of the band is back onstage to supervise the crew packing up
instruments and carrying them to the back porch or directly into the band vehicles. Once
the band gear is offstage, the masking can come down and any risers used can go back
into onstage storage. As soon as the house is empty, the house lights should be turned off
to conserve lamp life. If there was any merchandising, a crew member should go up to
the screen house with the hand truck to bring the leftover items down to the band vehicle.
When the stage is almost clear, one crew member can be sent backstage to start locking
up and bringing in any gear that has been stored on the back porch for the show. As soon
as the band is gone, the crew can finish locking up and go home.
Occasionally, an incoming show will require some kind of projection such as
video or slides. The easiest way to do this in the Amp is with rear projection. In the past,
a rear projection screen and either an Enki video projector or xenon slide projector has
been rented from Grisé in Erie.
The projector gets set up on a table in the rear of the choir loft, with power (and
clear-com if needed) run from the hallway outside of the Manager's office. The video
projector may need to be a little bit closer to the screen. In this case, the center rear
bench can be removed and the table put in its place.
The screen gets hung with tie-line through two holes in the attic. These holes are
in line with the upstage temporary rigging points, about four feet on each side of center.
These holes are about one inch in diameter, and the stage left hole is covered by planking
and is reached through another one inch hole in the planking. If time permits, it will be
much easier to lower the line if the hole in the planking can be enlarged with a Sawzall or
a hole saw.
At 8:00am, after starting the coffee, the morning crew should mop the deck. Mop
buckets can be found in the sound closet at gate six and mops can be found hanging on
the wall outside of gate six. No masking is needed for Sunday devotionals, but the large
podium and 8x8 carpet go in the same position as for weekday devotionals. The white
parament is used in place of the green one on the podium, along with the Bible and a
glass of water as on weekdays. The front PARs should be on for Sunday mornings.
All three wooden chairs and one black chair should go center stage above the
podium. The US and Christian flags go out as on weekdays, with the addition of a large
Christian flag from the choir library closet that gets hung above the choir loft. A pipe is
permanently rigged for this purpose with pulleys so it can be lowered by one person. In
the attic, near the up center temporary rigging point, is a large manilla rope with several
loops tied into it. These loops hook onto the cleat up center at three standard trims -- in,
out, and mid. One person should go to the attic (with a radio) and lower in the pipe. The
second person should be in the choir loft and will tie the flag on to the pipe, then radio up
for the pipe to be flown out to its high position. After the service, the pipe should be
flown in, the flag taken off, folded, and returned to the choir library, and the pipe flown
out to its high trim.
The morning crew assists the ushers and volunteers in putting out the Sunday
morning devotional programs. Put a short stack on the corners of the stage down left and
down right. Fill up the boxes at gates two and three and put smaller amounts at gates one
and four.
A table and two chairs need to be set up on the back porch for the head usher,
stage right of the main stairs. The collection baskets come out of the star dressing room
closet and go out onto the table before 10:00am.
At 10:15, the house lights should come on. The house inside and outside lights
run at 80% and the stage lights at 90%, as for the morning devotionals, with the addition
of the choir loft and organ pipe lights at 90%.
Every Sunday at 2:30pm, the Amp is home to a program aimed towards families
and other groups that take advantage of the free Sundays at the Institution. These groups
will often be somewhat self-contained and will be used to performing in a variety of
venues. Occationally the students of the Dance program will perform in this time slot.
Most groups will want to start setting up well in advance of the 2:30 performance,
and it falls to the Amp crew to keep them quiet and out of the way until the devotional
service is over at noon. From noon until about 2pm, the Amp crew will need to hustle to
get the stage cleared and reset for the afternoon performance. Often the incoming show
will be used to doing their own stage setup and will be very appreciative of the crew's
The house will simply stay open after the devotional, through the setup, rehearsal,
and sound check for the afternoon event, and into the 2:30 performance. Photo policies
are generally relaxed, and no tickets are collected at the gates.
Usually, all the Amp crew will have to do is get the show started, coordinating
with sound and turning the lights on from backstage. There will occationally be some
onstage shifts during the performance, generally only a few mic moves. It is important
for the Amp crew to be in the wings at the start of the show to make sure everything is
going ok for the performers.
After the show is over, the Amp crew should assist the performers in packing up
and loading out, then pull out the organ for the 5pm organ event.
Organ events are held on Sundays at 5pm, alternating between Organ Tours,
hosted by the Fischers, and Children's Organ Encounters, hosted by the Chautauqua
Organist. For the Organ Tours, it is important for the organ chamber doors to be clear,
both upstairs and downstairs. For both Organ Events, the organ console should be pulled
out to downstage center. Leave enough room downstage of the console for people to
stand around and watch the organist.
The Sacred Song Service is held every Sunday night, starting at 8:00pm. The
stage needs to be set by 6:45pm for the rehearsal. The organ console goes against the
stage right railing with the keys facing offstage. The downstage edge of the organ
platform should line up with the end of the railing. All twelve risers need to go out in
three rows of four risers each (8, 16, and 24 inches high). The downstage edge of the
front row of risers should approximately line up with the upstage edge of the organ. The
two two-step units should be brought from the back porch and placed on either side of the
16" risers. The three-step unit should come from the back porch to one side of the 24"
risers and the stairs from in front of the organ chamber should get its railings removed
and placed on the other side of the 24" risers.
The number of chairs will vary from week to week but it is usually around 90.
This means that 16 chairs will need to get borrowed from Lenna Hall for the evening. As
the number of chairs changes, so will their arrangement, but the most typical is 5 rows of
18 chairs each. One row on each of the heights of risers and two rows on the floor in
front. The conductor's platform and one music stand should be set up downstage center
for the choir director. The small lectern used for questions during the lectures should be
set on a 4x8 carpet down left for speakers, and equipped with a microphone on a boom
Often the service will require a piano as well as the organ. If this is the case, the
Steinway should get placed down left with the keys facing offstage and the lid at 1/4 stick
with the opening facing the choir. Sometimes the Religion Department will ask for the
dance ramps to be put out in place of the stairs on the sides of the stage for a
Once the stage is set, the only thing that needs to happen for the service is some
funky lighting at 8:00. Once the stage is set, all of the house lights except for the stage
should be turned off. Once the choir is finished rehearsing, the stage lights should also be
turned off, leaving the house totally dark. A few minutes before 8:00, the organist will
begin playing some improvisation that will gradually segue into "Day Is Dying In The
West", the opening song for every Sacred Song Service. The words to this hymn are
taped inside the door of the house light control panel. The idea is to fade up the lights in
time to the music, just finishing with the perimeter lights as the music is ending. The
lights fade up in this order: organ pipes, choir loft, stage, house inside, house outside,
The Sacred Song Service is scheduled to run for one hour, but it often runs as
long as 90 minutes. Nothing needs to happen backstage during the service, and it is
usually a nice relaxing way to end the week.
There are three boxes of bunting that are usually stored in the attic with several
different kinds of bunting. There are enough half-round pieces to tie two pieces to the
railing on each side of the stage and put four across the front of the stage with either
thumb tacks or screws and washers. Lay the bunting on the edge of the stage, attatch
through the webbing to the front of the stage, and flip the bunting over so it hangs down
covering the point of attatchment. There are two long straight pieces that hang from the
stationary masking, one on each side. Then there are several smaller rectangles and some
larger half-rounds. Three pieces hang on the pipe in the choir loft that is normally used
for the Christian flag. The remaining pieces can be hung on the movable masking if it is
in place.
The Canandian Flag from the choir library closet should be hung from the same
pipe upstage that the Christian Flag hangs on Sundays.
Several times during the season, the dance department and the CSO or MSFO will
perform together. In this situation, the dancers will perform on stage and the orchestra
will move into the house. Extra crew is called in from the Woods and from Lenna Hall to
help with this setup.
The first stage of moving the orchestra is to remove 36 benches from the floor.
Leave the outside columns intact, taking benches only from the center four columns of
benches. Remove eight from the stage right section, ten each from the center section, and
eight from the stage left section. The last two benches on each side get turned sideways
to close in the new open space. Leave the aisles open for rehearsal, but pull the new front
row of benches together before the performance to completely seal off the orchestra.
There will almost always be at least one piano needed on the house floor for the
orchestra. It will take about 10 people to lower a grand piano from the stage (and to lift it
back up again at the end of the night). First, roll the piano to the downstage right edge of
the stage, keys downstage. Remove the soft cover. Remove the pedals from the piano
using a large flat-head screw driver, a hammer, and a block of wood. Unscrew the three
large screws and then knock the pedal assembly towards the keys, using the wood to
protect the piano from the hammer. Once the pedals are off, gather the crew and lift the
piano straight up while one person pushes the dolly out of the way. Set the piano down,
and put four guys on the floor, ready to take the weight of the keys. Lift and slowly bring
the piano downstage, with the crew dropping down to the floor as more of the piano
leaves the stage. Once the piano is past the edge of the stage, set it down on the floor and
rest for a moment. With 8 or 10 people, it should not be too difficult to finsh the task -lift the piano, turn it 180 degrees, and move it uphill (downstage) into place under the
direction of the Orchestra Stage Manager. This process will be reversed at the end of the
Chairs and stands will be set up as usual. Roll the racks down to the front of the
stage and lower individual items by hand. Once the stands are in place, they will each
need a cliplight and the orchestra snakes will need to be run to each stand. Clip lights
and snakes are stored in the sound closet at gate six. The Orchestra Stage Manager
should have a map indicating how the snakes are to be run. Basically, the snakes get
plugged into each other as a daisy-chain, one chain for each side of the orchestra. They
meet at the conductor's podium so the conductor can have one light on each chain, in case
one fails. The two chains must get run by extension cord to two different outlets to
prevent tripping a circuit breaker. Leave a few extra clip lights and spare bulbs with the
Orchestra Personnel Manger.
Most aspects of the Orchestra will get set up as usual. The last stand of first
violins and of celli will still use their platforms, although they will need to get shimmed
up to level. The tympani will not use platforms. The celli not on the platform will need
their little carpet pieces that hook onto the chair legs and give the performers a place to
put their instrument feet. The bass players will need large sections of carpet -- use the
8x8 and 4x8 pieces from onstage storage. The folding chairs will not be needed for the
basses -- they will use the benches as stands, instead.
One or two times during the season, the Chautauqua Opera Young Artists will
perform with the Orchestra. Each opera performer (up to 12) will require a wireless
lavaliere microphone. The Amp ownes four channels of wireless and borrows 8 channels
of wireless from the theater at Fredonia State University.
The opera singers will also need video monitors in the front row of benches
because they perform downstage of the conductor. The video camera should be
borrowed from the dance department and set up above the up center door where the
flowers ususally go. Borrow a long piece of coaxial cable (or multiple cables and femalefemale connectors) with BNC connectors from the sound department to run from the
camera down to the stage, in front of onstage storage to stage left, down to the floor,
around to the front of the stage, and up across the moat to the first bench. The Opera
department will provide two video monitors and a modulator. The Production Manager
should have BNC to RCA adaptors to connect to the video camera and to the modulator,
as well as an F-connector splitter. Run the feed from the camera into the modulator, out
to the splitter, and then to the two televisions through standard coaxial cable with Fconnectors which also comes from the sound department.
Old First Night is held once a year to commemmorate the orginal starting date of
the Institution. The Old First Night event is, among other things, a variety show in which
Chautauquans have an opportunity to perform on the Amp stage. In 1998, the Women's
Club sang and danced and the Boys and Girls Clubs showed off their three best air bands.
There are other aspects of Old First Night that happen every year, such as the generations
roll call, the roll call of years and the battle the states.
The stage setup is pretty much the same, year after year. The same bunting goes
up as for the Fourth of July. The big, old podium goes down stage right, and the new,
question and answer podium goes down stage left, both on 4x8 carpets. The organ
console goes against the rail stage right as for a Sacred Song Service. The dance ramps
go out in place of the stairs on the sides of the stage. Two arm chairs go against the rail
stage right behind the Q&A podium. One arm chair goes stage right between the big
podium and the organ console. One monitor speaker faces the stage right chair and two
monitors go on the front of the stage at the quarter-stage marks.
Both podiums will need lights for the MC's to read their scripts. There is a small
gooseneck light in the crew office which gets used on the grand pianos which can also be
used on the large podium. Lighting the small podium is a bit more complicated. Start
with a collapsable boom mic stand, one with two telescoping sections for the boom. Find
an old-style orchestra clip light, the large kind with two clips. Attatch the clip light to the
smallest-diameter section of the boom stand, and secure it with gaffer's tape. Then
position the light on the stand over the front of the podium.
Often there will be at least one performing group that wants masking onstage and
others that do not. The easiest way to do this is to just use the two large pieces of
masking with two jacks on each. When the masking needs to move, just remove the
weights, fold in the jacks, and move the masking with the jacks still attatched. The
masking can store in its ususal location and get dealt with after the show.
Because many of the performers are not classically trained, they will need as
much audio reinforcement help as they can get. The stereo mic should be lowered in as
far as possible and the two choir mics should be moved downstage to help pick up the
singing. In 1998, the mics were temporarily hung through the two downstage pick points
ususally used by touring shows.
The Program Office will provide a copy of the running order with performers'
names and groups. This should get copied and posted everywhere backstage so there is
no question as to which group is onstage when.
The most difficult aspect of Old First Night is dealing with the tech requests and
backstage crowd control needs of people who have little to no performance experience.
It will take two stage managers to run the show. One should be backstage at the center
door as usual for crowd control and entrance cueing, probably with one or two crew
members to serve as runners and herders. The second should be set up in the Vom with a
music stand and cliplight, chair, and Clear-Com to call the lighting and sound and cue the
entrances from somewhere with a good view of the stage.
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Conducted by Buddy Morrow
Use two levels of risers, 24' across. Their rider calls for 6' deep risers, so use the 4x8's
borrowed from the Central Lake Schools with the 2'-8" risers in the Amp inventory to
make 6'-8"x8' risers. The downstage edge of the first row of risers should be 12' up from
the edge of the stage. Put out all six pieces of masking upstage of the risers.
They bring their own music stands and clip lights, but the Amp provides chairs -- 5 on the
floor, three on the 8" risers along with the drummer and the bass player, 4 on the 16"
risers along with the bass amplifier. The Steinway goes down right, with the nose of the
piano centered on the drum kit. Remove the lid and the music desk from the piano. They
will need 120V AC up center behind the risers for their clip lights, one run from sound
power for the bass amp, and one run from sound power to a quad box just upstage of the
piano keys. Don't forget to put stair units on either side of the 16" risers.
It is tradition to hang a rented mirror ball for the Ball -- make sure that it is hung low
enough to be hit with a spot from the booth.
In order to make room for people to dance, nearly all of the benches are removed from
the orchestra section. Leave just enough to line the outside of the floor with benches. In
1998, all of the benches were gone in an hour, with help in the form of 2 guys from
Lenna Hall and about 12 guys from Buildings and Grounds. Try to take all of the
benches out in order so they can go back from whence they came, but it gets a little
chaotic at the end. To prevent more chaos the next day, put pink spike tape on each of
the outside (11') benches, and number the last four benches in the back on the outsides
since they are uniquely shaped to fit the curve of the Amp. Most of the benches go out
on the hill through gate six, starting down beyond the bridge. About twenty benches end
up on the grassy knoll behind the back porch, and two or three benches can go along the
side of the path into gate five. After the benches are gone, a large amount of dust will
suddenly appear and need to get swept up.
As with most Specials, the flowers should get struck to the back porch.
Buddy, the conductor, is diabetic, so make sure to have diet beverages on ice.
They will need a solo mic that was not on the '98 rider. Sometimes they bring their own
mic, sometimes an Amp mic is used, so be prepared. They will need two monitors, one
for the soloist and one for the singer, who will probably use a handheld wireless. It may
work better to use two wedges for the singer to cover him as he paces.
The sound system in the Amp, like any sound system, has three main components.
The inputs, the mixers, and the outputs. Inputs at the Amp include a large inventory of
traditional microphones, wireless microphones, and playback devices such as CD,
cassette, and DAT players.
The mixer/processing section consists of a Crest mixing console and various
processing gear, including graphic EQ's and a Sabine PowerQ (feedback eliminator,
graphic EQ, and auto-room-tuner), feeding into a Peavy MediaMatrix computer. The
MediaMatrix takes three feeds from the board (through the processing gear), stereo mains
and a mono mix. The computer performs all kinds of processing, including crossovers,
EQ's, compressor/limiters, and level control, and "breaks out" the signals to the various
The 1998 Amp sound system has 10 major output components. The stereo outs
from the board feed left and right main clusters above the front of the stage. The mono
feed from the board splits to: choir loft speakers, left and right side fill speakers, left and
right delay pole horns, left and right rear delay clusters, Bose perimeter speakers, rear
Bose bleacher speakers, backstage page system, and infrared listening system. All of this
distribution is handled by the MediaMatrix.
The MediaMatrix is powered through an uninterruptable power supply which
currently prohibits the use of the master sound power switch at the front-of-house
position. Until the sound power system can be rewired with additional switches, the
power up/down sequence is trivial. All equipment at front-of-house simply stays on all
the time, and the amps all get turned on and off individually in the dimmer/amp room in
the attic.
Ideally, one would be able to turn easily turn off the front-of-house processing
without triggering the UPS into battery mode. In general, the amps should be the first
equipment off and the last on, the MediaMatrix should be second, and the mixer and
processing should the first on and last off.
The Amp owns four channels of Shure UHF wireless microphones -- four
wireless lavalieres and two handheld Beta 87s. If additional channels of wireless are
required, an eight channel rack can be borrowed from Fredonia State University.
Two antennae for the wireless system get attatched to mounting flanges on the
front of the stage and cabled to the rack backstage via an installed patch system with
panels on the front of the stage at the antenna mount points and backstage underneath the
microphone patch panel.
While it would seem that using wireless would be easier than wired mics, that has
not proved to be the case at the Amp. Wireless lavalieres have been especially
troublesome. Part of the problem comes from the fact that the lavs have omnidirectional
mic capsules, making them prone to feedback. Another part of the problem is that the
wireless beltpacks have internal gain controls that cannot be adjusted from backstage. If
the gain is turned up too high, the mic will distort and sound horrible. In a situation
where the performer is using only a wireless mic and the beltpack gain is too high,
absolutely nothing can be done once the show is start to make it sound better. One way
to avoid this problem is to make sure that the gain on the belt pack is turned down before
the show. There are enough ways to turn up the mic to compensate for a low gain, but
nothing can be done to compensate for distortion.
When the stage is almost clear after a performance, one crew member can be sent
to start locking up. The sound staff should have turned off the lights in the attic and
sound office and locked the sound office after turning off the dimmers If the sound office
is open, the attic and sound office should be checked. All lights and fans should be
turned off in all dressing rooms. Be sure to check inside bathrooms, the air conditioner in
B-7, the window fan in the choir room, and all mirror lights in the choir rooms. The
doors from backstage to the choir loft should be locked, and the hallway lights turned off.
The Manger's office can usually be left for last.
Downstairs, the air conditioner should be checked in the Star Dressing Room, and
the window in the single dressing room should be locked. Again, all lights and fans
should be off in the dressing rooms. The doors from backstage right and left to the stage
and to the Voms should be closed and locked, as should the up center door. The night
lights should get turned on (the switch is behind the door to the stage right vom) and all
house and stage lights should go off. The lights in the Voms and public bathrooms need
to be turned off outside.
Coffee and water should get cleaned up and brought inside, and any equipment
that has been stored on the back porch should get moved back inside for the night. The
golf cart should get locked up and plugged in and the truck should be backed in and
locked up. Both truck and cart keys should be put on their hooks in the crew office.
All radios should be turned off and replaced on their chargers in the Manager's
office. All computers, fans, photocopiers, and lights should get turned off in the office,
and then the door can get locked and all remaining lights turned off upstairs.
When everyone is ready to leave, all downstairs lights can get turned off,
including the back porch lights. The two doors onto the back porch need to be locked
with the 101 key. The stage left door will latch on closing, but the stage right door needs
a small push after closing to engage the lock.
There are several different electrical systems in the Amphitheater. The house
lights, including the lights over the stage, are run through the large black Strand dimmer
rack in the dimmer room. The disconnect for this rack is in the electrical closet off of the
choir loft. The house lights are controlled by a pair of analog dimmer controls, one in the
booth and one back stage right. Either control panel can take control by pressing the
"Dim" button. The "On" button serves as a panic switch and brings all lights to full. The
houselights are grouped into six systems: house inside, house outside, perimeter, stage,
choir loft, and organ pipes.
There are seven racks of twenty four 1.2kW dimmers in the dimmer room. These
dimmers send power via socopex multicables to the stage lighting trusses. They are
controlled by DMX from the main lighting console and disconnect on breaker panels in
the dimmer room.
Also on the house light dimmer rack are six stage pin sockets on the sides of the
stage. These six dimmers are programmed to use the DMX-B input to the rack. This
allows the houselight dimmers (programmed to DMX-A) to be controlled from the
analog panels while the six stage pockets are controlled by the same DMX as the rest of
the stage light dimmers.
There is an air conditioner in the dimmer room which keeps the temperature and
humidity at safe operating levels for the dimmers and the sound amplifiers. This air
conditioner is vented to the outside by a blower in the attic, which must be on whenever
the air conditioner is on. The blower switch is outside the dimmer room on an I-beam on
the way to the stairs.
There are also several open disconnects to meet the power needs of incoming
shows. Shore power is available for busses under the bridge. There are three 60 amp
single phase disconnects, and the Amp owns two female range plugs which should be
installed seasonally. The breakers for this power are on a panel above the disconnects,
along with a breaker which controls a floodlight on the driveway. Also on this panel are
the breakers for some of the streetlights and for a 20 amp ground-fault-interrupt outlet
mounted next to the disconnects.
A 225 amp three phase feed is located next to the sweeper closet in the stage right
vom for touring dimmers. Two more 200 amp three phase feeds are located on either
side of the stage. These two disconnects have two separate grounds. The first, located
inside the disconnect box, is tied in to the rest of the building ground along with the rest
of the stage lighting. The second ground, run through #2 welding cable marked with
green tape to "bugs" outside of the disconnects, is connected to the integrated sound
ground, along with two circuits of 20 amp single phase on stage right, the dimmers in the
attic, and the sound console and processing gear at front-of-house. There is also an
additional panel up in the electrical closet which can be used if further power is required.
One additional lighting note regards the night lights. The night lights are 100 W
yellow light bulbs mounted on two of the poles supporting the ceiling. These lights
should be turned on at night when the house lights are turned off, and left on until the
sweepers come in the next morning.
In the basement of the Amp (accessed through the hatch on the back porch) is a
natural-gas fired emergency generator. The generator starts up in a self-test every
Saturday at 9:00am. In case of a power failure, the generator will automatically start
itself after a brief interval. It will power the emergency house lights, installed over the
stage and exit ramps. The generator also feeds a 60 amp three phase disconnect on the
side the stage stage right, two 20 amp single phase circuits beneath the disconnect, and a
20 amp single phase circuit in the follow spot booth.
If the power fails during an orchestra concert, the crew can quickly put out clip
lights and orchestra snakes and run them to the side of the stage. The Amp owns an an
AC distribution panel that lives either in the stage right stairwell or in the sound closet at
gate six, which can get tied in to the generator disconnect and provide power for clip
The Amphitheater is equipped with a Sennheiser infrared assisted listening
system. Compatible systems are also installed in Lenna Hall, the Hall of Philosophy,
Hall of Christ, and Smith-Wilkes Hall. For morning lectures and devotional, IR headsets
are available at no charge at the Screen House. For evening shows, headsets are available
at gates four and six, and the IR headsets from the Woods buildings (HOP, HOC, SW)
are brought back and used in the Amp. Any patron wishing to borrow a headset will be
asked to leave a gate pass or credit card as security, which will be returned in exchange
for the headset. If any passes or cards are left at the end of a performance, they should be
kept in the House Manager's desk and not mixed in with lost and found.
The stereo mic hung above center stage is always feeding the infrared and
backstage page systems, and any additional stage mics in use can also be routed to the
infrared transmitters.
Some patrons own personal headsets that they will use in the Amp. Anyone
wishing to purchase their own headset can contact
Theater Communications Group
in Buffalo, NY
(716) 353-4633
Sound Associates, Inc.
424 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 757-5679
Lost and Found is sacred at Chautauqua. Before and after each performance or
service, the Usher staff will sweep the house for any items left behind by patrons. Found
items are put in a box under the desk in the crew office. Found valuables, such as purses,
jewelry, gate passes, and credit cards, are put in the top left drawer of the Assistant
Production Manager's desk in the Manager's office. At least once a day, Sally Connor
will come down to the Amp and take the found items up to her office near the Market
If Patrons come to the Amp staff looking for lost and found items, first check the
crew office and Assistant Production Manager's desk, then refer them to the Lost and
Found Office.
C-SPAN tapes several of the morning lectures for later rebroadcast. Two benches
will need to be removed to make room for the camera crew, the seventh and eighth
benches from the rear on the stage right side of the center section. Also, the green vinyl
Chautauqua Institution banner gets hung on the black masking upstage. Feed a piece of
bottom pipe through the pocket in the top of the banner and tie it to the top pipe of the
masking with tie line.
When the house is open, the Amp Crew should wear long pants (not blue jeans)
and an Amp polo shirt. If the weather is extremely hot, shorts are acceptable, but as the
exception to the rule. White shirts should be worn for Orchestra nights and all morning
programs. Blue shirts should be worn for dance programs and pop shows. On Sunday
mornings, the sound operator should wear a shirt and tie.
When the house is not open, dress is for comfort and safety, within reason.
Someone has donated money to the Institution to provide fresh flowers for the
Amp. Each Saturday afternoon, four arrangements of flowers are delivered to the back
porch. One bouquet is labeled "C" or "Choir"; this goes in the Choir Loft above the up
center door. These flowers go in plastic tray to catch drips and spills. Two bouquets go
at the corners of the stage on yellow wooden "flower boxes", and the fourth bouquet goes
down center. For the mornings, the center flowers go on the stage in front of the podium,
and for orchestra concerts the flowers go on a yellow plywood square that rests on two
half cinder blocks.
For pop shows and dance performances, the flowers should be struck to the back
porch. The safest most convenient place to put them is on top of the stack of platforms
stage right on the porch. The flower boxes can go in the voms at the turn, and the center
flower board and cinder blocks can go in the stage left vom on top of the pillar.
Once a week, CSO programs will be delivered to the back porch of the Amp.
These should get moved to the usher closet. Also once a week, programs will be
delivered for the Sunday morning service and the Sunday evening Sacred Song Service.
These should get put backstage right between the unisex bathroom and the large closet.
MSFO progams are picked up on Mondays at the School of Music.
Keep the piano (and especially the uncovered strings) away from heat or light that will
change it's pitch.
Do not shine bright lights ona tuned piano -- the heat they bring will change the tune.
If a piano's lid has been removed, keep the soft cover on whenever possible to keep light
and heat off the strings
Never store the hinge-pins from a removed lid on the piano -- they can buzz when the
piano is played.
If a piano is dusty, use a slightly damp cloth to wipe it down -- nothing more.
When moving a piano, don't push by the lid or by the keys or the wood beneath the keys.
The lid is only held on by a few hinge pins. The keys are designed to slide out
and the mechanism can be jammed by pushing.
When removing the piano from the dolly, remove the pedal assembly first.
When the piano is in position to be played, turn the wheels parallel to the keys to prevent
When moving a piano any distance, remove the pedals, strap the lid closed, strap it to a
board, remove the left-hand keys leg, tip it down onto the board while lifting at
the remaining two legs, remove the last two legs, and transport it upside down or
on the side of the board in a case.
When opening the lid, be sure to open the small portion of the lid that flips back to reveal
the music desk first.
Never open the lid beyond "full stick" or the hinges could snap off.
Many soloists will ask for the music desk to be removed completely.
If a PZM or other microphone has been taped inside the piano or inside the lid, remove it
promptly after the performance and use the sticky-side of another piece of gaffer's
tape to remove the tape residue from the piano.
There is a dehumidifier in the piano box (onstage storage #3) that plugs in backstage.
The cord comes out of the sliding door in the rear of the piano box and into the
wall next to the hospitality closet. This should be plugged in and on at all times.
There is a plastic music stand that should always be in the piano box that can be placed
on the music desk of a grand piano if clip lights are required.
The Institution has two padded Artist Benches as well as two adjustable chairs.
Muriel, the CSO pianist, prefers the padded adjustable chair and likes to use a small
gooseneck desk lamp instead of the plastic stand and a clip light when needed.
There is an extra set of bass piano strings in the bottom right file cabinet drawer in the
manager's office. There is also a set of wheels for the Kawai grand piano in this
Empty trash cans
crew office
backstage main can
crew office
stage left hallway
stage right hallway
all the way out to the porch on
both sides
all stairs to the stage
pick up any loose trash
pick up towels and put in stage left
scrub toilet
clean the base
scrub the inside
empty trashcans
scrub sinks
refil paper towels
fill paper towels
refill soap dispensers/replace old soap
with new
replace toilet paper, leave extra on toilet
spray with Lysol
prop doors open
sweep out
empty trash
check floor, vacuum as needed
remove trash
clean bugs out of windows
clean outside ledges, too
check floor, vacuum as needed
empty trash
check floor, vacuum as needed
empty trash
check floor, vacuum as needed
empty trash
scrub toilet
scrub sink
replace soap with 2 new bars
wipe counter tops with disinfectant
dry, do not leave streaks
use glass cleaner if streaks
sweep all hard floors
into bathrooms, around toilets
star dressing room
both single dressing rooms stage
replace toilet paper, leave extra on toilet
clean mirrors, no streaks
check showers
replace soap
wipe down when needed
clean fixtures with spray
sweep stairs and landing
sweep bugs from window
remove all spider webs
check walls and all corners
empty all trash cans
sweep, including under benches
clean off trash, leaves, etc. from benches
pick up all garbage
empty cigarette urns
wipe down tables
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