Tech Crew talks new lighting upgrades as spring musical approaches

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The spotlight on the main character as they make a big decision. The colorful lights flashing as dancers fluidly paint the stage. The explosive special effects that yield a collective gasp from the audience. These are all things that would not be possible without Townsend Harris’s Tech Crew, a specialized team of light and sound operators who discreetly inhabit the auditorium balcony whenever a major school event takes place, including but not limited to S!NG, FON, and the musical. 

This school year, Tech Crew gained access to an array of new equipment upgrades, most notably new lighting equipment and smoke machines. Brian Judge, senior and president of the THHS Tech Crew, spoke about his excitement about the new additions: “Last year we only had 15-20 lights working, and this year we have over 40 working, which was a big improvement and something we got a lot of use out of during this year’s shows.” 

Since receiving the new lights, the Tech Crew has demonstrated new technical elements with each production. Particularly, this year’s production of FON demonstrated the use of the new lighting upgrades. Brian said, “FON was my favorite production to work on thus far this year since we got to work with 21 groups and with the upgraded lights had the ability to explore more with different colors, effects, and scenic designs.” 

In addition to the new lights, many new members joined the Tech Crew this school year. Senior Pierre Marbid spoke on his experience of his first year in Tech Crew: “After being in school productions for the past four years, I wanted to see how the technical elements worked behind the scenes, so I decided to join. The new lighting equipment this year helped make the shows truly outstanding.” 

“New members are another upgrade this year, and the collaboration between old and new members allowed us to explore more skills and apply them to the annual productions of S!NG, FON, and the spring musical,” said Brian. 

With the upcoming production of Into the Woods for this year’s musical, the Tech Crew has much to look forward to and prepare for. “For this next production, I’m very excited for the special effects we’re going to use since we are planning to have some woodsy effects, smoke machines, and new lighting that we’re going to be installing specifically for the musical, which I can’t wait to use,” Brian said.

Drama teacher and co-director of Into the Woods Kevin Schwab spoke on his goals for the technical aspect of this show with the new upgrades. He said, “We’ve given a lot of freedom to the students to create technical design on their own terms and show how they represent the moods and emotions of this piece, and how they imagine the woods where most of the musical takes place.” Mr. Schwab is excited to see how the Tech Crew’s visions come to life with “one of [his] personal favorite musicals.”

Other Tech Crew members are also anticipating the approaching production. Pierre said that since Into The Woods “is such a complex story, we need to exemplify the characters, moods, and different settings. Using the new lights and effects is something that we’re definitely looking forward to with this production.” 

Brian said, “staying very late and coming in on Sundays to work with the new lighting on the productions can be very difficult, but it is very rewarding once you see the outcome of the productions. This past year particularly, the upgraded lighting has gotten us a lot of praise, and I’m very excited to use our upgrades on this upcoming production and future productions.”