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Chris Tomlin Brings "Christmas Songs for Worship" with Bandit Lites and Forge Designs

Photo: Annette Holloway

Grammy-award winner Chris Tomlin recently completed his Chris Tomlin Christmas: Christmas Songs of Worship Tour with a sold-out concert at the Beacon Theater in New York. Bandit Lites worked with the Forge Designs team to supply a lighting system for the conclusion of his 2019 touring season, which included a 30-city, six-week spring tour as well as a 20-city fall tour.

"I sincerely look forward to the Chris Tomlin Christmas Tour each and every year, and this year was no different," says Bandit Lites vice president Mike Golden. "Chris Tomlin, his management, and the production staff make this show special in every regard with their attention to detail. From the minute you set foot into the venue, this team finds ways to make everyone feel special and set the tone for a very magical and beautiful show."

"With all the noise during the Christmas season, it is one of our goals to transform each theater into a winter wonderland from the time our audience enters the building until the final downbeat of the last song," says Forge Designs lighting designer Christian Hahn.

To accomplish this goal, the team placed Christmas trees ranging from 6' to 12', festive garland, and a modern lamppost on stage. Stage effects like low level fog and two to 60' wide snow cradles enhanced the ambiance, while the lighting worked to compliment the set in both the quiet, still moments and the bigger, more energetic ones.

"We felt that our final design allowed for big looks, smooth transitions, and saturated colors while keeping the night dynamic, visually interesting and entertaining," Hahn says.

Lighting for the Christmas season brought its own set of challenges, as the Forge team navigated a cache of songs that encompass an entire season.

"Our biggest goal was to tell a story through lighting that would ultimately create a less flashy experience and allow the scenic and musical elements to carry the majority night," says Hahn. "In order to accomplish this and have enough production to stand out when needed, we were very specific in our fixture choices and placement."

Those fixture choices included Bandit Lites supplied Martin MAC Viper Profiles, GLP X4S, Robe Robin 1200 LED Washes, and Robe PATT 2017.

"I think my favorite fixture within this particular design was the GLP Impression X4S," says Hahn. "These were not only used to light a total of seven Christmas trees, but also uplight our show drop and legs. With their small form factor, we were able to place them throughout the set without creating visual distractions, utilizing their zoom to wash the set as needed."

Due to Tomlin's extensive touring schedule throughout the year, the Forge Designs team was attuned to the logistics of prepping and packaging of this tailored rig. This design balanced both the need for the rig to fit in a whole host of venue types and provide consistent looks but also fit in a single truck shared by all of production.

"Pre-production, prep, and our road experience were as smooth as one could ask for," says Hahn about Bandit Lites. "It is always a pleasure for Forge to work alongside companies that care about making things right and don't mind putting in extra hours when needed."

"Christian Hahn is an excellent lighting designer/director, and this show lived up to every expectation I had," finishes Golden. "As much as I love watching his work, I equally enjoy the time we get to spend together working out the details and fixture selection. He is extremely focused and knows exactly what he needs to reflect the beauty of the show he is lighting, and he always remains flexible enough to achieve the looks he wants to deliver. Likewise, working with Zach Pierce on the budget and logistics is just as enjoyable. This camp is very devoted and diligent in producing a show that reflects Mr. Chris Tomlin, and we could not be any more honored to work with this entire organization." Lighting technicians included Jonathan "Kooz" Cousineau and Elizabeth "Nugget" Weller.


(29 January 2020)

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