KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – More than 82,000 individuals and corporate donors gave to the University of Tennessee’s 1.1 billion dollar Join the Journey campaign, which focuses on making the overall cost of earning a degree more affordable, with funds going towards undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, athletics and other university initiatives. Bandit Lites was honored to donate the lighting for the sophisticated soiree, which culminated with a private event at the Knoxville Convention Center.
On campus, LED Light cubes gave each individual college program a modern and fresh look to highlight aspects of the school along the concourse, from nursing students with lifelike babies to law students holding court with judges and juries selected from the audience. Additional lighting was provided for a small reception honoring Peyton Manning, with an elegant, traditional stage wash and up lighting from Freedom pars. The Hall of Famer and UT Communications graduate made remarks to the school’s biggest donors in addition to receiving an award of distinction.
For the celebratory dinner, Beth Gladden, the Head of Special Events for the university trusted Bandit’s Director of Philanthropy and Production Designer, Allison Burchett, with creating a unique look for the space. Building on Gladden’s original idea of video panels in the ceiling, Burchett recommended illuminating Spandex shapes with different colors and patterns.
“Once we got the structure in the air, she just said, ‘Yes! That’s what I’m talking about!’ And I knew we had hit the mark,” said Burchett. “We had an opening look as the Pride of the Southland band marched in playing Rocky Top, with enough light for everyone to be able to find their seat. We then livened up the room with movements and patters on both screens and around the room while Drew Holcomb serenaded the crowd with his song, Tennessee. During the campaign launch video, we went to a very deep and moody feel with only patterns of a deep orange glow, with slow movement and changes throughout the evening while we were having dinner and conversation.”
Bandit hung 52 motors to cover two distinct elements with the first groups’ trusses holding Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite Moving Washes and VL 3000 Spots providing backlight for the 24-foot diameter circular stage, along with general front light, backlight and textured looks.
The second group was used to fly three truss structures that held the Spandex which was lit by GRNLite Moving Washes and VL 3000 Spots to accentuate the stage in addition to streaking the ceiling with color washes and gobos.
“The Spandex grid flew directly below and was hung with eight 30’x30’ Spandex panels, two 20’x30’ Triangle Spandex and various other small Spandex Triangles,” said Bandit General Manager Giff Swart. “It was a challenge to try and cover this much surface area within the low trim height of the room, but the excellent zoom of the Vari*Lite 3000 Spots and saturated punch of the GRNLite Moving wash really did the trick!”
After the main celebration and dinner, Bandit Lites also provided lighting for the “After-Glow” tent on the plaza, with GLP X4 Atoms lighting the stage where Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors performed. Chauvet Min E 10WW LED Lekos illuminated the lounge and tables along with a spectacular eight-foot-tall ‘Power-T’ made up of flowers suspended from the apex of the tent. Outside, Knoxville’s iconic Sun Sphere was washed in the University of Tennessee’s official orange and white colors using sixteen Bandit supplied Iluminarc Ilumipanels, before the evening closed out with fireworks and a rousing rendition of Rocky Top.
Following a motto of one of the university’s biggest patriarchs, Jim Haslam Sr., of “We Must Learn, Earn, and Return,” Bandit Lites Chair and Founder and UT alumnus, Michael T. Strickland makes every effort to give back to the school he graduated from more than 40 years ago by continuing to foster its success through working with students, volunteering on numerous committees and boards and lighting every basketball game, volleyball game, along with hundreds of academic events on campus, including graduations, galas, recitals, plays, fundraisers and award ceremonies at no cost to the school.
“Michael’s generous donation of his time, equipment and vision to move the University forward is always done in the hopes that through his efforts, others in the community will become more engaged and involved as well,” said Burchett. “I don’t think he’s ever turned down an event!”
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com