Belfast- and Dublin based lighting and rigging rental specialist Production Services Ireland (PSI) supplied lighting equipment and crew to the chart topping classical-popular crossover singer, Katherine Jenkins' two arena shows in Ireland, at Dublin's O2 and Belfast's Odyssey Arena.
That weekend and the preceding week were exceptionally hectic for the company, which also - unexpectedly and at very short notice - was asked to provide and install rigging and trussing to facilitate lighting of the church for Irish politician Garret Fitzgerald's state funeral.
The same weekend as the Jenkins shows, PSI supplied lighting design and equipment for the first Clan Wars cage fight to be staged in Belfast’s Ulster Hall (pictured), and a few days before that, lit the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards event.
PSI was asked to supply the Katherine Jenkins shows by Neil MacDonald of UK-based production company Clockwork Productions, to whom they had been highly recommended. With MCD being the promoter, PSI also supplied all the necessary rigging services at the Odyssey Arena, for which they are MCD's preferred rigging contractor.
For the lighting supply, PSI worked to the specification of Jenkins' regular LD Tim Routledge, which was designed to illuminate a full orchestra onstage, complete with a selection of dynamic specials and individual looks for Jenkins to reinforce the power and drama of her performance.
In Dublin, she was backed by the RTE Concert Orchestra and in Belfast by The Ulster Orchestra.
The lighting rig comprised three straight trusses - a 60 ft wide one at the back which accommodated Jenkins' touring Austrian drape backdrop, and two 40ft spans for the front and mid trusses.
On the front were eight Robe ColorWash 700E AT moving lights. On the mid truss were another twelve Robe ColorWash 700E ATs and eight Vari*Lite VL 3000 Spots. The back truss featured eighteen GLP Impression 120 RZ zooms, together with eight VL 3000 Spots, with four of each mounted on two drop bars either end of the truss.
On the floor upstage, skimming up the drape were another twelve GLPs, and downstage, in a V-shaped configuration were six more GLPs, concentrated around the centre vocal area. Behind Jenkins on the floor was a Space Flower, used for strategic moody moments.
Routledge and the touring production brought their own grandMA console, so all the lights were hooked in to that, and PSI supplied three crew to ensure everything ran smoothly.
"We were all very pleased to be involved in these shows which were very high profile and needed a lot of detail even though they were relatively straightforward to rig,” said PSI's Sean Pagel. “It was good to put a face to the name with Neil MacDonald and his team a few years after the last time we worked together".
On May 19th, popular Irish statesman and former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald died aged 85, triggering a massive operation to co-ordinate a state funeral three days later. PSI was asked to supply all trussing and rigging needed to install lighting into the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook, Dublin where the service took place. The whole event was broadcast live on national TV channel RTE1, with Irish President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny leading a throng of politicians and former colleagues, along with tens of thousands of general public who turned out to pay their last respects. LD was John Gallagher.
Additionally on the Katherine Jenkins concert weekend, PSI supplied a full lighting rig - designed by Sean Pagel - to cage fight promoters IFS for a Clan Wars event, which was the first ever to take place in Belfast’s Ulster Hall, inaugurating the Hall as an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fight hosting venue.
Pagel has the advantage of also having been the other side of the cage - as a competitor - and so knows exactly what is needed in terms of lighting, both to ramp the excitement and adrenaline levels of fans during walk-ins and between rounds - whilst ensuring that participants are not blinded when competing.
The lighting rig consisted of fourteen Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, twelve PixelPARs, four Pixeline 1044, twelve strobes, three Robe Robin 300 Beams, two Studio Due CS4s and eight bars of six PARs plus follow spots. Pagel programmed and ran the show on an Avolites Diamond 4 Vision console.
Just ahead of that same weekend, PSI supplied equipment and lit the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Belfast. The design was by Joe Byrne, who then headed off to Dublin to join the Katherine Jenkins crew.