In the competitive world of high school show choirs – brought to prominent attention by the popular TV series Glee – standing out and catching the eye of both audiences and judges is the key to success. That’s why the Zionsville Community High School show choirs use an ADJ AV6X LED video panel system to allow video clips, graphics and animations to be integrated into their competition performances to great effect.
Located in Zionsville, Indiana in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Zionsville High School has a rich heritage of show ensemble. Its mixed Royalaires group was founded back in the sixties, while the all-girl Choralaires choir also has a 20+ year history of competition. Each group consists of approximately 60 singers/dancers, which are supported by 13 student stage crew members and a 14-piece combo (band).
Each year the Zionsville Show Choirs undertake a full season of performances including local showcases and concerts as well as trips to compete in national competitions. For the 2017/18 season the Directors were looking for a new way to enhance the choirs’ already stellar performances and also help them to stand out amongst stiff competition at national events. They decided to look into the possibility of integrating video into their setup and fortunately one of the performers just so happened to have a father who works in the AV business.
That show choir dad is Joe Beck, who is the owner of Indiana Audio Video, a local business which provides AV solutions both for home theatre installations and commercial projects. It is through the commercial arm of the business that Joe has become an ADJ dealer, installing the company’s lighting and video products in venues such as restaurants and Sky Zone trampoline parks.
When he was asked to specify a system that the Royalaires and Choralaires could use to add visuals to their live performances he was quick to recommend the ADJ AV Series of LED video panels. Initially Joe suggested using AV3 panels, due to their low 3.91mm pixel pitch, however when it became clear that the available budget wouldn’t stretch to the high resolution AV3 units he was equally happy to endorse the 6mm pixel pitch AV6X panels.
A system was specified and purchased that involves 18 AV6X panels which are arranged across four separate screens in portrait orientation. The two outer screens comprise of three panels stacked vertically, while the two inner screens are double width and therefore each include six panels. These are then usually spread out across a performance stage, although they can also be positioned next to each other to create one large screen, which makes for a versatile setup that can be easily adapted for all sizes of stage. This gives the Choir Directors the creative freedom to seamlessly integrate video and graphic elements into the groups’ performances, which has proved immensely successful.
“Everywhere we went this season, over to Kansas City or up to Minneapolis, the judges’ comments were always along the lines of ‘this is amazing’, because it didn’t feel like the video panels took away from the performance but they really complemented the singing and dancing, giving an extra wow factor. Video panels are just so flexible, they can really be integrated into the performance much more naturally than any other kind of prop or effect.”
One of the main issues that had to be addressed when the video system was being designed was the lack of time for setting up prior to each show. When performing competitively, the choirs only have a matter of minutes to prepare the stage before going on. Joe dealt with this be specifying a Global Truss America setup that comprises four truss pillars mounted on wheeled bases. This allows the four screen sections to be rigged and tested in the wings and then wheeled out, positioned on stage and ready to go in just 30 seconds!
Due to his AV expertise Joe has found himself, along with other show choir Dads and the student crew, drafted in as official ‘roadies’ for the Royalaires and Choralaires, traveling with the group to setup and oversee the operation of the video equipment assisted by the team of student stage crew. This has given Joe the chance to experience the reliability and resilience of the AV6X panels firsthand.
“We’ve been touring with the AV6X panels all season, with performances most weekends, and they look just as good now as they did when they first came out of their boxes,” he enthuses. “They are very rugged and reliable – we really haven’t had a single problem using them – and the Choir Directors have been very pleased with how the screens look and enhance each performance. They’re even thinking about investing in another six panels to increase the size of the two smaller outer screens to match the larger double-width inside ones.”
The combination of this distinctive stage setup with creative direction and extremely talented performers has made for an exceptionally successful season for the Royalaires and Choralaires. They were named ‘Grand Champions’ of the Franklin Central Hoosier Show Choir Classic, the North Central MIC Competition and the Heart of America Kansas City Competition and are already looking forward to raising the bar even higher for their 2018-19 season when school starts again in the fall.
Zionsville High School Show Choir
Zionsville Show Choir Directors
Aaron Coates & Deana Broge
Indiana Audio Video
18 x ADJ AV6X LED Panels
1 x Novastar NX4S Video Processor
4 x Global Truss America Square Trusses
4 x Global Truss America BASE PLATE 24x30WC
3 x ADJ AV6FC Road Cases
2018 Royalaries Competition with the ADJ AV6X Panels:
2018 Choralaries Competition with the ADJ AV6X Panels: