Elation lights Illuminance on Bannerman Island
Thursday, 29 October 2020
bannerman-island3Illuminance featured performances by the Daisy Jopling Band, Michael Feigenbaum, Sal Lagonia, and local youth musicians
USA - Some of the only ticketed live concerts in New York State in recent months took place 30 September - 4 October on Bannerman Island. Illuminance, a fundraising concert by the Daisy Jopling Band, received special permission from the State of New York to hold five nights of open-air concerts amid the natural surroundings and magical ruins of Bannerman Castle.
Daisy Jopling is a classical/rock violinist who tours with her own band and also runs a music mentorship foundation. Illuminance featured performances by the Daisy Jopling Band, Michael Feigenbaum, Sal Lagonia, and local youth musicians with proceeds benefiting the Daisy Jopling Music Mentorship Foundation and the Bannerman Castle Trust. Five days of sold out shows, two shows per day with 20 lucky guests per show, were lit by New York City Lites using a lighting package of Elation Professional IP-rated luminaires.
Deke Hazirjian and Jimmy Lawlor of New York City Lites served as lighting designer and associate lighting designer respectively on the project. Hazirjian, president and senior lighting designer at the company, was approached by the Bannerman Castle Trust to light the concert series. Having worked on Bannerman Island before, in 1998 and 2007, he knew well the difficulties working on the island presented.
“The island is literally a rock in the middle of the Hudson River and poses a number of challenges,” he said. “The terrain is rugged and there is no electricity on the island so the only way to get power is to bring in a generator. Weather can also be a big problem and storms can blow in with little notice. I had worked there before and knew what I was in for so we made sure we had the right gear.”
The weather issue proved one of the easier challenges to overcome as Hazirjian and Lawlor went with Elation’s range of IP-rated lighting, notably the company’s multi- environmental Proteus series. “With a limited crew and two sites 300ft apart with a vertical elevation of 75ft between them, we knew there would not be time or manpower to cover and uncover lights so equipment with an IP rating was a must,” said associate LD Lawlor.
Besides lighting that wouldn’t get ruined in the weather, Hazirjian says they needed lighting that was functional enough to use for multiple purposes - wash, spot, and beam – but also something that could light architecture as well as band members. “It was a challenge to work in that environment and we needed lighting that could be adaptive. We would start with one plan and change to another. We had to adapt and change to the environment and to the challenges we had before us. We did very well and folks were very pleased. People were wowed by the show but also amazed that we got that much equipment up the mountain.”
Proteus series luminaires chosen for the project included Proteus Hybrid, Proteus Beam and Proteus Rayzor 760 moving heads, along with IP65-rated Fuze PAR Z120 IP LED Par lights. All of the Elation gear was provided by BML-Blackbird except the Rayzor 760s, which came direct from Elation.
The lighting system was used to illuminate three areas: the Bannerman Castle, a ruin on the north side of the island that once served as a military surplus warehouse; the castle residence (now a museum) that lies higher up on the island; and the performance stage itself with five-piece band and dynamic lead violinist. The original thought was to hold the concerts at the Bannerman Castle but after a site survey, the decision was made to move the event closer to the residence and use it as a backdrop.
One of the major challenges was to get equipment and power distributed on the island and working to those three areas. All gear was transported by barge, unloaded and hauled to the castle and residence sites through a forest and up a crumbling stone staircase.
The power issue was solved by crane-loading a generator onto the barge and tugging it down the Hudson to the island. After lights, trussing and cabling were unloaded, the barge with generator sailed to a different part of the island and could only dock at high tide. Leader cable runs to distribute power totalled over 1000ft with considerations made for the island’s 3ft difference in high and low tide.
Hazirjian reports that the five days of shows went well with the cameras getting the content they needed for the film and Daisy and the band very happy. He sums up. “This wasn’t an easy project but it was also quite rewarding. The logistics of just getting there, loading the barge with gear, putting a generator on it, having a tug take it down river, and hand carrying every light and cable onto the island and to the top of the mountain, was incredible.
“The amount of work for five days of shooting was tremendous but we were glad we could do it. None of us had worked in a while, the band was thrilled, and it was the first time our crew were hands on with lights since March. We were exhausted in the beginning because we weren’t used to the work but it felt terrific.”
The Daisy Jopling Band Illuminance film from Bannerman Island will premiere 13-15 November at bit.ly/IlluminanceStreaming.

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