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Jennifer Lucas Reflects Spirit of Taylor Family Christmas with Chauvet Professional
USA – There is a touching beauty to the power of Christmas traditions. Even with the passage of time and sometimes hardships, they are passed down through generations serving as a source of strength and hope. Jennifer Lucas has a first-hand appreciation of this power as the director, programmer and lighting design of the Taylor Family Christmas tour.
The annual series of concerts was started in 1994 by B.E. Taylor a founding member of the popular ‘80s progressive rock band Crack The Sky, as the “B.E. Taylor Christmas Show.” Taylor, who became a Christian music star in the 90s, brought a distinctively warm and engaging style to Christmas classics, ensuring that the show became a beloved holiday tradition for fans throughout Pennsylvania and the eastern Great Lakes.
At the time Lucas joined the tour in 2005, it included 14 dates in four states. As the tour continued to grow in popularity, Taylor sadly was stricken with brain cancer. After he passed away in 2016, the Christmas show stopped touring. His family tried to revive the tour, but then COVID happened, forcing its cessation again.
But The spirit of Christmas traditions has a way of coming back! This year, Taylor’s son and brother, BC Taylor and Dan Taylor, along with a group of other talented musicians revived the annual event as the “Taylor Family Christmas” tour with four dates in December.
As a designer, Lucas reflects the loving emotional aura of the show by creating warm, friendly and engaging looks on stage. Helping her accomplish this is a lighting rig from Star Design Event Services that features seven Maverick MK 2 Spot and ten Rogue R2X Wash fixtures from Chauvet Professional.
In addition to using her fixtures to colourise the stage with inviting seasonal palettes, Lucas relied on them to accent the musicians who made the show special. She positioned two of the Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures on upstage truss piped down, four on mid-stage truss, and held one for backlighting the keyboard player.
Adding an extra dramatic element to the lighting design were the rig’s Rogue R2X Wash fixtures. Lucas had four of them on the upstage truss at different heights and six on the mid-stage truss. “I kept the R2X fixtures zoomed in tight for more of a beam effect,” she explained. “I could do this because I achieved adequate overhead wash coverage from the ambient light present around the focus.”
Lucas created a sense of depth on stage by artfully introducing gobo patterns at different times in the show. “I always strive to achieve a good depth of field,” she explained. “One of the key factors influencing my choice of gobos is that they be very open and transparent creating dept in movement.”
Flying the rig was not an option for Lucas on this tour, as all the trusses and side lighting were ground supported. This presented a challenge, especially since, as she put it “when approaching a design my priority is attaining as many fixture positions as logistics allow.”
Nevertheless, she was able to achieve a rich level of diversity in her show, thanks in part to the help of her team: Christopher Robin, John Nichols, Barry Hinchliffe, Amanda Plum, LeRoy Kromer, John Scott and Lisarae Koch.
“We had many special moments in this show,” said Lucas. “One of my favourites is what I call my wide look which sends the majority of the fixtures to the sides of the stage creating a frame around the talent, and allowing the floor lighting to build the back drop off the cue.”
There likely will be even more special moments next year, as plans call for the number of dates in the Taylor Family Christmas tour to be increased from four to six. Proof again that holiday traditions built on love and family never fade away.
4th January 2023
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