BUENA PARK, CA--The Young Americans teach music, dance and performance to young people throughout the world. The organization, founded in 1962, is a non-profit corporation and number more than 250 college age performers from nearly 40 states and seven countries with one agenda, to keep music alive in schools. Each fall, new cast members move to The Young Americans’ home in Southern California where they spend one year studying, training and performing in preparation for The Young Americans’ International Music Outreach tours. They attend college level classes in subjects such as Music Theory, Voice/Choral Techniques, Dance and Stage Craft. They also receive training in Teaching Methods, Child and Adolescent Development, and other subjects that prepare them to work with school age students.
Among its many other productions throughout the year, The Young Americans® offer special performances such as The Magic of Christmas. Each December, the YAs return to La Mirada Theater (California) to entertain entire families and celebrate the holiday season. This performance is the only time of year when the entire cast of 250 Young Americans perform together with over 150 costume changes, beautiful choral music and dances ranging from hip hop to the Nutcracker Suite. For these performances, they have chosen to use a Yamaha LS9-32 digital audio console including a Yamaha MY16ES-64 16-channel Ether Sound network I/O card along with an SB168-ES Stage Box.
The YAs travel on six International Music Outreach Tours each year visiting North America, Europe, Australia and Japan, in addition to convention and concert performances in southern California. The Young Americans have also purchased a new NEXO GEO S rig to support their two 10-week domestic tours each year. The system consists of three GEO S1210s and one GEO S1230 per side with two T5n amps and two P7000 dual-channel amplifiers, two NEXO RS15 dual subwoofers, an NX242 processor, and six NEXO PS10s.
“We love the versatility of the NEXO system,” states Drew McGarity, chief audio engineer for the Young Americans. “The capability to be flown or ground staked has been invaluable as no two workshop venues are the same. The light, compact nature of the Yamaha LS9 console makes for quick and easy setup since mix position is normally located at the top of high school gymnasium bleachers. We've retired the heavy, bulky post rack that was required to support analog boards. With built-in dynamics, effects, EQs, and delay, the LS9 is a one-stop shop.”
The group purchased a second Yamaha LS9 for their European tour dates and is about to purchase a third to take for tour dates in Japan. “I chose to use our LS9 for this year's Christmas Show at the La Mirada Theatre, but was concerned with taking up audience seats since we couldn't move the theatre’s house console,” says McGarity. “Instead, we were actually able to place the LS9 on top of that console because it’s so small and light. For us, a great benefit of a standard digital platform is being able to set a baseline configuration to be used for all tours. This will give less experienced FOH mixers a definite head start compared to the analog days where they'd reinvent the wheel with respect to console layout, EQs, dynamics sweet spots, etc.”
The NEXO PS10s are used as monitors and front fills. “What an amazing sounding box given it's small size,” adds McGarity. “Often, we'll have to do an impromptu assembly show on a high school campus, but don't need the throw of the line array. We'll put up four PS10s in five minutes and have more than enough SPL.”
Regarding the SB168-ES and it's partner MY card, McGarity said the crew is often load-in time challenged. “Keep in mind our performers/teachers are also our setup and strike crew, and any energy spent on load-in and strike is energy not being spent teaching kids from the town. Once a cast has had a few towns to hone their skill, it's typical that from opening the truck door to hearing playback through the line array is under 20 minutes. The Yamaha SB168-ES cat5 snake is a major asset here. One quick connection and we're ready to roll. And no more heavy copper snakes; one skinny cable is all you need.”