A behind the scenes look at the people behind the scenes: THHS’s Tech Crew

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Last month, S!NG concluded with the traditional revelation of the winning team by way of the screen at the center of the stage. It is, however, the work of Townsend Harris High School’s Tech Crew that makes this cherished moment possible. On the balcony in the back of the auditorium, a team of students has everything ready to go to ensure the winner is released in dramatic fashion. This is the culmination of months of work by not just the students performing in S!NG but the Tech Crew itself that helps make each show possible. The Classic spoke to the members of this team to learn more about how they get S!NG ready for audiences and what other projects they support throughout the year.

Senior Brian Judge is  president of the Tech Crew. He oversees the departments of sound, stage lighting, and projection. Brian said that while he’s in charge of the team, he’s interested in lighting most of all. “I do help out more with stage lighting as it’s one of my stronger fields,” he said. The lighting tech members help directors write cues, and make sure spotlight and lighting cues go smoothly. 

If the president works most with lighting, the Tech Crew’s Vice President, Junior Abby Chang, is all about sound. In the sound department, members mic up actors, make sure everyone is heard, make sure there isn’t feedback, and play sound effects. 

“There are a lot of components to tech,” Abby said. “It requires a lot of work and time to make sure everything goes smoothly. I always try my hardest to make everything perfect.”

As for that dramatic moment when the S!NG winners are revealed, there’s more to it than might meet the eye. The members of the Tech Crew are among the first in the school to be notified of the winners. During S!NG 2020, there was an unfortunate event where the winner was accidentally revealed before the countdown, spoiling the surprise. To avoid such a mishap again, the crew creates two countdown videos, one that leads to a Semore victory and one that leads to a Freshior victory and they make sure to run the winning video only.

Since that system worked so well previously, they did it again this year. Once told which team won, they get the video ready and put it on standby until the time is right, giving them one of the most important jobs in this production.

Although members of Tech Crew said they enjoy their job, there are many challenges members face during performances and shows. 

Sophomore Kyle Zheng said, “The hardest part of Tech Crew is the amount of work that we have to do to keep up with everyone’s needs. Sometimes at the start of rehearsal it’s pure chaos, trying to get everyone mic’d up and making sure everything is in place. The actual work isn’t too hard depending on what you do, so it’s mostly us trying to keep up with everything that’s the hardest.” 

Brian said, “I think the hardest part in the Tech Crew is staying very late after school. For the [last] few weeks [of S!NG], we have stayed back late to cater to both teams for S!NG. Now, for me personally, I’m used to staying back late because I have been doing it since my Freshman year when I first joined Tech, and I did it during my Junior year as well. However, this year, we have stayed back late on more days, come in on Saturdays, and have come in on off days/holidays as well.” 

Beyond S!NG, the Tech Crew works at FON, the spring musical, concerts, movie nights, award ceremonies, Keeper’s Day, Senior meetings, Key Club meetings, Election Sim debates, and more. When at these events, turning one’s attention from the stage back to the balcony a familiar sight will usually be seen: members of the tech crew hard at work making what’s on the stage possible.

Photo courtesy of THHS Tech Crew