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Gala Event

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Corporate AV worked with Stortz Lighting to create the Westchester Arts Council's annual fundraiser.When the Westchester Arts Council chose the theme of "Impressions" for its annual gala and silent auction, held on November 17, 2007, it needed a spectacular event space and event production to match.

Board Member and RPW Group President Robert P. Weisz suggested the Atrium of his newest property, 1133 Westchester Avenue, a dramatic 30,000 square-foot space with 36-foot soaring ceilings and a curved glass wall that is visible from the main driveway. Corporate Audio Visual Services (Corporate AV) took on the challenge of creating and operating the live production to match the setting.

The evening was attended by close to 650 supporters and raised over $500,000, making it one of the most successful events for the Arts Council. Westchester residents Ruby Dee and the late Ozzie Davis were honored.
"Our guests loved the new space and atmosphere," said Eric Siegel, Westchester Arts Council special events manager. "It looked fabulous and allowed intimate seating without being too crowded."

"The space presented tremendous challenges," explained Joe Guilderson, president of Corporate Audio Visual Services. "The atrium, by day the entrance and lobby of an office complex, is about 300 feet long, with a 36 foot high ceiling and full-length curved glass wall. Since the space was never intended to hold this type of an event, and had just been completed several days prior to the event, we had to build everything from the ground up. The four-story ceiling height prevented us from rigging any of the video or sound equipment, and so we went with a variety of ground-supported gear to meet our needs. Our goals were to deliver spectacular images in the event space, clear audio throughout the entire venue, a formal and beautiful set, and a flawless production. We had a fun night and were able to meet all of our client's goals for this very important fundraiser."

Because the glass-walled Atrium was long and narrow, Corporate AV mounted three screens for visuals, a 15 x 20 foot main screen lifted 8 feet off the ground behind the stage with a Genie lift and two 10 x 14 fot outboard screens on truss legs. Video was projected throughout the evening from two cameras, a wireless roving Sony DSR570 and a fixed Canon XL1. IMAG was projected via three Christie Digital projectors mounted on vertical truss and dressed with black fabric. Corporate AV used a Christie LX120 12K projector for the main screen and two Christie LX100 10K's for the outboards. The formal program included computer presentations, IMAG of stage and dancing, and DVDs of the guests of honor.

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Corporate AV mounted three screens for visuals, a 15 x 20 foot main screen lifted 8 feet off the ground behind the stage with a Genie lift and two 10 x 14 fot outboard screens on truss legs. Video was projected throughout the evening from two cameras, a wireless roving Sony DSR570 and a fixed Canon XL1.
In choosing the sound system, Corporate AV's staff audio engineer Steve Sherer used JBL VRX932 Line Array boxes on 16-foot high crank stands angled downward to prevent sound from hitting and bouncing off the glass wall. For the low end, Sherer placed JBLVRX918 Subwoofers left and right of the stage. For the band, Night Song, Sherer and his A2 set up a variety of Shure microphones on stage, and mixed monitors and PA from the front of house position. Corporate AV also positioned eight EV300 speakers on stands in the main foyer and two silent auction rooms so cocktail music and announcements could be heard by all guests throughout the night.

"The theme of the event was Impressions, and so appearances and a finished look to the set became very important. We set up a 24 x 8 foot stage complete with Lucite podium and 100 feet of black velour drape to help transform the new Atrium into a formal event space," explained Guilderson. "Our team paid a lot of attention to the details, like dressing the truss and crank stands, in order to blend the equipment into the background."

Lighting was handled by Brooklyn-based Stortz Lighting. "The location was a bit difficult to find so I positioned two 2,000 watt searchlights at the main entrance," said Chris Pouch, senior designer and production coordinator for Stortz Lighting. "The interior space needed dressing up with lighting on all four walls and the ceiling. We projected light onto the three solid walls and the ceiling using approximately 35 VARI*LITE VL3500 Wash luminaires and 25 VL3500 spot luminaires. Controlling color changes with a grandMA console, we bathed the space in dark amber light at the beginning of the evening and gradually progressed through the color palette to a deep blue night sky by event's end." Pouch brought in 80 conventional Source Four and Source Four Jr. Zoom lighting fixtures to illuminate the stage, dance floor, auction items, buffets and bars, and signage, and added interest to the glass wall by uplighting each of the 75 vertical support beams. Stortz worked with The Atrium's house engineers to tap into the building's power at three different locations, eliminating the need and cost for generators.

"Each year, the Westchester Arts Council chooses a different location and theme for its gala fundraiser," said Pouch. "This year's theme, Impressions, allowed us to use the great impressionist artist Monet's color palette to turn the Arts Council vision into reality."

"This is the third year in a row that we have relied on Corporate AV and the 11th year that we have worked with Stortz Lighting to enhance the look, feel, and success of our gala event," said Siegel. "We stepped up our requirements because this year's elaborate event featured more visuals than ever, and the team was able to successfully create the "impression" we envisioned."
For more information visit www.corporate-av.com.

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