The Summit - The Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6

2015 to present

 

In 2015, I was given a rare opportunity.  The Manhattan Transfer, a jazz vocal ensemble with over 40 years of performances, was doing a joint performance with Take 6, an equally prolific vocal ensemble.  The merging of these two artists seemed completely natural.  I was asked if I would design lights for this first performance.

 

Prior to my involvement, the two groups had met to discuss what they would do on their show.  I was called by Alan Paul to discuss their lighting needs.  The venue for this first performance was the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City.  The performance would feature songs where both groups would perform together, and then each group would sing some of their own song before joining together again for a few more songs.

 

With this first performance, the groups recognized the potential of this show.  It was decided that the show needed to be properly staged and organized.  Both groups made the journey to Norman, Oklahoma in April of 2016 to rehearse on the OU stage for a couple of days.  During this time, songs were organized and rehearsed, choreography and stage movement were determined and taught, and lighting looks were created and cemented.  This proved to be a great foundation for the show.

 

It was later decided that the show would go on a multi-city tour.  In October of 2016, the groups met on the campus of the University of Massachusetts to spend a couple days rehearsing and organizing for the tour which would begin after these rehearsal days were done.  During this rehearsal time, the organization of the songs were firmed up, and the basis for the lighting was set.  We were not travelling with any lighting gear, so we would have to use whatever lighting was available at the tour stops.  My lighting supervisor would journey with the tour, focusing lights and performing additional duties for the performers.  I would advance the show throughout the tour.  This put the show in so many different venues, including modest café halls and huge performance centers.  It was an incredible challenge to adapt the design to fit all these venues and reflect the true nature of the sound.  My lighting supervisor did an amazing job, keeping everything up and running all these shows, allowing for when performers would swap songs in and out.

 

After a 2-month tour in the fall of 2016 and a month and a half tour in the spring of 2017, the show is now done about 6-8 times a year in different venues.  Each time I advance the lighting for the show, and I get to run lights for almost all of them.  It’s a great journey, seeing my lighting design appear in different performance halls and seeing it evolve with the show.  Both artists have released new albums since the tour first started, and the new songs work their way into the lineup regularly.  The design requires me to be flexible and creative, ready to respond to the music at each moment.  It is one of my favorite stretches of my design abilities, always challenging me to be ready for anything and still achieve a successful design that maintains the integrity of the show.

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Summit Performance Venues to date:

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - Kansas City, MO

The Gracie Theatre - Bangor, ME

Cary Hall - Lexington, MA

Blue Ocean Music Hall - Salisbury, MA

The Park Theatre - Cranston, RI

Monomoy High School Performing Arts Center - Harwich, MA

Pullo Performing Arts Center - York, PA

Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT

Bergen Performing Arts Center - Englewood, NJ

Music Center at the Strathmore - Bethesda, MD

Maryland Hall - Annapolis, MD

Scottish Rite Auditorium - Collingswood, NJ

City Winery - Nashville, TN

Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center - Bowling Green, KY

Norton Center for the Arts - Danville, KY

Manchester Craftsmen's Guild - Pittsburg, PA

State Theatre - Cleveland, OH

Wilson Theatre at Marcus Center - Milwaukee, WI

Weidner Center for the Performing Arts - Green Bay, WI

The Touhill Performing Arts Center - St. Louis, MO

North Shore Center for the Performing Arts - Skokie, IL

Weil Center for the Performing Arts - Sheboygan, WI

Virginia Theater of Champaign - Champaign, IL

Wentz Concert Hall - Naperville, IL

Hoyt Sherman Place - Des Moines, IA

Orpheum Theatre - Wichita, KS

Lincoln Center - Fort Collins, CO

Mackey Auditorium - Boulder, CO

Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center - Parker, CO

Val A. Browning Center for the Arts - Ogden, UT

Ellen Eccles Theatre - Cache Valley Center for the Arts - Logan, UT

Cox Performing Arts Center - St. George, UT

Galliard Center - Charleston, SC

Gallo Center for the Arts - Modesto, CA

Sunset Cultural Center - Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Valley Performing Arts Center - Northridge, CA

McCallum Theatre - Palm Desert, CA

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts - Cerritos, CA

Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts - Wickenburg, AZ

Centennial Hall - Tucson, AZ

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Sarasota, FL

Broward Center for the Performing Arts - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts - West Palm Beach, FL

Florida Theatre - Jacksonville, FL

Newberry Opera House - Newberry, SC

High Point Theatre - High Point, NC

Ferguson Center for the Arts - Newport News, VA

Pantages Theatre - Tacoma, WA

Catalina Jazz Trax Festival - Avalon, CA

Ripley Performing Arts Center - Meridan, MS

Lied Center - Lincoln, NE

Belcher Performance Center - Longview, TX

The Clarion - Lake Jackson, TX

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts - St. Paul, MN

The Paladium - Carmel, IN

The Grand 1894 Opera House - Galveston, TX

Hancher Auditorium - Iowa City, IA

McCain Auditorium - Manhattan, KS

Wharton Center for Performing Arts - East Lansing, MI

Goshen College Music Center - Goshen, IN

Oxnard Performing Arts Center - Oxnard, CA

The Rose - Pasadena, CA

Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater - Chautauqua, NY

Detroit Jazz Festival 2021 - Detroit, MI