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Riedel Bolero empowers student shows with pro tools

Orange County School of the Arts, in California, has incorporated the Bolero system and used it for both a live sketch comedy show and its annual fundraising gala

Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) has integrated Riedel Communications’ Bolero wireless intercom system into their student-run productions. OCSA, a nonprofit public arts high school, in Santa Ana, California, recently utilised the Bolero system for both a live sketch comedy show and its annual fundraising gala.

The Bolero system, featuring three antennas, 18 beltpacks, and 18 headsets (10 Air and eight Max), provided the arts students with professional-grade communication tools. This setup allowed them to bring their artistic visions to life.

Bolero’s wireless flexibility enabled the expansion from a three-camera to an 11-camera setup. The system’s range allowed coordination for outdoor and cross-street scenes during the final sketch, which transitioned from live to a prerecorded scavenger hunt.

Morgan Ang, a senior and performance coordinator, OCSA, said: “Bolero’s multichannel capability connected our directors, camera operators, two studios with notoriously poor reception, and the control room, extending even to outdoor locations and across the street. This constant communication, even during lunch breaks, was indispensable. We are immensely grateful to Riedel for their support, which has helped us grow as artists and professionals.”

“Using the Bolero system, we expanded our show’s scope and incorporated more dynamic elements than ever before. It was essential not just for our show, but also when we faced unexpected challenges during the gala.”

The Bolero system also played a crucial role in the second annual “OCSA Unleashed,” a student-produced sketch comedy show inspired by popular formats like Saturday Night Live.

Broadcast live on YouTube from the school’s campus studios, this year’s event involved over 100 students from five of OCSA’s 17 arts conservatories: Film & television, production & design, creative writing, acting, and musical theatre.

“Discovering and implementing the Bolero system was a game changer,” said Willie Yao, a senior at OCSA. “The reply and push-to-talk buttons were easy to use, even for first-year students, and customisation features like renaming packs and setting party lines were fantastic… This experience has significantly enhanced our production quality and prepared us for future professional endeavours.”

Bolero was also used during OCSA’s annual fundraising gala, held a week before “OCSA Unleashed,” with back-to-back rehearsals. When the in-house communication system failed unexpectedly, students swiftly deployed the Bolero system within an hour, ensuring communication in a room filled with more than 500 attendees.

The journey to acquiring the Bolero system began with the students. Yao and Ang’s research into communication systems suitable for their productions led them to Bolero, inspired by its presence at sporting events and a local Orange County large amusement park.

Joyce Bente, president and CEO, Riedel Communications North America, said: “We are proud to be part of their journey and look forward to continuing our support for arts and education. This collaboration has not only enriched the students’ educational experience but also laid a solid foundation for their future careers in the arts industry.”