Belushi Performance Hall Goes LED With ETC ColorSource Gear

Date Posted: 9/9/2022

McAninch Arts Center (MAC) has been the home of the arts at College of DuPage and the surrounding community in Glen Ellyn, Illinois since 1986. Since its opening, the arts center has welcomed a variety of events each year. On average, the venue boasts over 300 performances featuring a variety of art forms including: theatrical plays, concerts, dance recitals, art exhibits, traveling shows, and community outreach events. All events are hosted at the center’s three theaters, museum, or outdoor pavilion. Earlier this year, the first phase of theatrical LED fixture upgrades began on the main performance space, the Belushi Performance Hall.

A wide variety of ETC gear was specified for the 780-seat multipurpose space. Grand Stage Chicago won the bid to supply the venue with 44 ColorSource Spot Deep Blue LED Engines with Barrels, 44 ETC Enhanced Definition Lens Tubes, 44 ETC S4 LED Smooth Wash Diffusers, 14 ETC ColorSource Cyc Fixtures, five 5 ETC TR20AF ThruPower Modules, five 5 ETC NET3 Response Four Port Mark 2 Gateways, and four 7” ETC S4 Fresnels.

The space was outfitted with six areas of LED top lights on electrics 1 thru 4 over stage; each of the LED top lights was paired with an ETC Source Four 7” Fresnel. Three over stage ColorSource Deep Blue 26° specials were added across each of the venue’s four electricals so that the over stage specials would match the top lights in quality. All the upgraded LED lighting is chained together for data by ETC Four Port Mark 2 Gateways. Additionally, eight ColorSource Spots Deep Blue with 36° Enhanced Definition Lens Tubes were ordered to be used as spares.

When the MAC decided to make the jump to LED fixtures, Elias Morales, MAC Lighting Production Specialist, had to find a lighting system that could work for every event. He explains, “The change to LED technology must be very well thought out. It is important to understand that this is an investment that is expected to last. With our variety of performances, the package that I put together can’t just be about any one area; it ultimately needs to be able to serve them all.”

Elias attributes the choice of ETC products to a variety of things. “I know that my entire system is backed by a company that I trust, that will back up their products with support far beyond the life of the gear, and tech support that will have your back 24/7. I went with the ETC ColorSource line for their punch, quality of light, remote management capabilities, and quiet operation. The optics are really rock solid in the ColorSource Spots with the Enhanced Definition Lens tubes. The decision to go with ETC ColorSource products on such a long-term investment was an easy one to make.”

Looking back on the install, Elias says, “The biggest thing that excited me about this rig is the amount of new fancy tricks I can do by taking advantage of fanning color, FXs, and discrete timing across individually controlled lights. I was also excited by the fact that I would free up a bunch of dimmers, but have realized that that doesn’t matter because LEDs make it so much easier to isolate an area of the stage without always needing a special.”

With the completion of the first phase of theatrical LED upgrades, the McAninch Arts Center is set to continue being a hub for the arts in the years to come.