Features

EPCOR Centre is First in Canada to Install VL2500 Fixtures
 
Published Monday, January 24, 2005

To maintain its position as the most prestigious performance hall in Calgary, and in order to continue to attract top entertainment, the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts needed to make a change. Other venues in the area had recently upgraded their lighting systems, so in order for the EPCOR Centre to remain competitive in that upper echelon of entertainment venues, it too needed an update to the latest lighting technology.

When the new automated lighting system was installed at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, EPCOR Centre was able to boast of owning something no other venue in Canada or the rest of the world had - and automated lighting system that included the new VARI*LITE® VL2500™ Spot luminaires. EPCOR Centre was the first Canadian facility to take ownership of and install the new fixtures, which were introduced to the industry in October at LDI.

"When I originally placed the order, I had specified VL2000™ Spot fixtures," said Tim Koll, head electrician at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. "But when the VL2500 units were introduced with CYM color-mixing, I jumped at the chance to get those right away. I was looking to get the most features possible in a fixture, so that the fixtures will have the most longevity. I am familiar with the features and characteristics of the Series 2000 fixtures, so getting the color-mixing in the VL2500 units was an added bonus."

The Jack Singer Concert Hall is the largest of five venues that comprise the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. The 2,000-capacity space is home of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. The hall is booked 200-plus nights a year, and, Koll explained, there are certain stretches where the venue is booked solid for three months at a time with no open dates.

In addition to the VL2500 Spot fixtures, Koll also specified VL1000™AS units. Despite being the largest performing arts center in Canada west of the National Arts Center in Ottawa, the EPCOR Centre's previous lighting system consisted solely of conventional fixtures. The addition of the VARI*LITE luminaires was the final stage of a three-year lighting fixture replacement program.

"We added automated lighting because the EPCOR Centre is an upscale concert hall, and we have world-renown artists playing here," Koll noted. "We're starting to see the automated fixtures specified more frequently on the technical riders. Shows of all genres play the Jack Singer Concert Hall. It's not just a classical music hall. Our World Music Series brings in artists from all over the world. These shows have a great deal of production value, so usually they request moving fixtures. The addition of the VARI*LITE units will help us better serve our clients."

Until the purchase of the automated gear from authorized VARI*LITE dealer AllStar Show Industries, Koll would have to rent the moving fixtures when specified by a visiting artists. By owning the equipment, the concert hall has more freedom for when and how they can use the equipment. It also makes the venue more flexible in its scheduling since different acts can be booked back-to-back or multiple events can take place daily in the hall.


"The need to be able to refocus the fixtures quickly is important," Koll explained. "When we have a symphony concert in the house, you can't get a lift under the truss, so you have to climb the truss to re-focus the conventional fixtures. Sometimes there's just no time for that. The VARI*LITE fixtures add to the efficiency of the hall and out ability to turn over the hall from show to show. It just makes it a lot easier."

Because the Jack Singer Concert Hall is a symphony hall, many of the performances taking place in the venue are sound-critical. Finding the most silent fixtures was critical. The VL1000 luminaires are convection cooled, meaning they have no cooling fans. No cooling fans means no fan noise, which is perfect for the demands of the space.

"I was looking for an effects light for beamage, gobo projection and those types of things, but the lack of fans in the VL1000 units was key for me," Koll said. "I can hang the fixtures anywhere in the venue for any type of show and not have to worry about noise issues."

And now, due to EPCOR Centre's VARI*LITE automated lighting package it's the other venues in Calgary suffering from lighting system envy.

 


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