Meet the New

Chicago’s THALIA HALL Goes CHAUVET Professional!

Posted on August 5, 2014

Local and national touring acts hit Thalia Hall frequently, and if you’re a rock musician in Chicago, chances are you’ve played Thalia Hall too!  CHAUVET Professional is proud to be a part of this historic landmark music venue built way back in 1892, and we’re glad that we can have some Q-Wash 419Z and COLORado 1 Tri Tours lighting up this amazing place!

From the Thalia Hall website, a little history on the venue — we love this stuff:

John Dusek built Thalia Hall with the hopes of bringing arts and entertainment from Bohemia to play for his bohemian neighbors.  Architects Faber & Pagel, who modeled the hall after the Prague opera house, completed the public hall in 1892.  For over 7 decades the Hall was a beacon of the neighborhood community.  Thalia existed as one of the most ornate theaters of its times.  This opulence, which differentiated it from more traditional interior theaters, was granted landmark status in 1985.  The hall was used not only to house a multitude of entertainment over the years, but was also used as a central meeting spot for the neighborhood.  In 1915, the hall was used to draft a bill paving the way for bohemian statehood and the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918.  Closed to the Public in the 1960′s, Thalia Hall has remained virtually untouched until the end of 2013, when we first began working on it.  Our goal is to restore Thalia to its original charm and character, to breath life into this community treasure, and to bring a wide array of music, community, and artistic events to the neighborhood it serves.

Photo by Clayton Hauck for Dusek's / Thalia Hall

Check out an article about the install, and next time you’re in Thalia Hall, now you can enjoy the music AND the lighting!

CHICAGO — To the college students and young urbanites who flock to it every weekend, Thalia Hall is one of the buzziest spots in Chicago, a place to kick back, down a local beer with friends, dine on some tasty food and enjoy national acts like Panda Bear and Goat as they perform on a stage illuminated by fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
That’s also pretty much how things stood when this four story Romanesque structure opened in 1893 to serve the city’s burgeoning Czech population as a concert hall and social hub –except musical styles were different back then and there were no LED fixtures! However, in between then and now was a dark period when Thalia Hall, which was modeled after the Old Opera House in Prague, stood idle for decades before being given new life by a couple of visionary Chicago entrepreneurs.

The “new” Thalia Hall is remarkably like its predecessor, serving as a mixed use building where people can eat, drink and socialize. Just as it had in the past, Thalia Hall is now buzzing with crowded restaurants and a tavern. However, also just as in the past, it’s the concert hall that’s at the heart of this community hub.

Music was crucial to Thalia Hall early in the last century, just as it is today, when an impressive lineup of national acts is bringing a new sense of excitement to the building’s resurgent neighborhood.  “Live performances are the centerpiece of Thalia Hall, and lighting is critical to those performances,” said Justin Wardell, senior account executive at Intelligent Lighting Creations (Arlington Heights, IL), which provided the stage lighting set for the concert venue.

Wardell was contacted by LD Tim Schoen to submit ideas on putting together a lighting rig for Thalia Hall. “We’ve worked with Tim before and were very excited about this project because of the importance of the building to the community, the historic nature of  Thalia Hall, and its importance to the emerging Pilsen community on Chicago’s lower west side,” he said.

This reawakening involves a diverse range of musical genres from the alternative sounds of artists like Panda Bear, to country to folk to pop and more.  Mindful of this diversity, Wardell and Schoen wanted a lighting rig that had the flexibility to meet the needs of a range of acts of different sizes, often with different visiting LDs.

“We wanted flexible LED fixtures and moving heads that could do different things so we could create a good show regardless of who was on stage,” said Wardell. “We selected 8 Q-Wash 419Z-LED moving washes and 20 COLORado 1-Tri Tour LED pars. The feature set in these products gives us the flexibility we were seeking.

Wardell was considering sourcing another moving yoke before deciding on the Q-Wash 419Z-LED, a decision he’s glade he made. “The Q-Wash has been a big hit; everyone is impressed with its brightness and speed,” he said. “It has a host of features like individually controlled LED zones and color macros that give us the sought-after versatility. We use the Q-Wash to wash the stage in a range of colors and sometimes to touch the audience with light.

For his part, lighting director Schoen praised the versatile 7°-25° zoom range of the Q-Wash for the added flexibility it brings to the front light systems. He was also impressed with the bold saturated colors and variable whites produced by the RGBW fixture and the way it enhances skin tones.

Schoen positioned four of the Q-Wash fixtures on FOH truss and four on upstage truss in his lighting design. The 20 COLORado 1-Tri Tours were positioned on trussing over the stage, where they provided a great deal of color and are often used to highlight individual artists.

The fact that the Chauvet fixtures are LED was important to everyone involved in the Thalia Hall renovation, because of their “green benefits,” according to Wardell.  The LED fixtures were also valued, “because power draw is a concern in a historic building.” In addition to the CHAUVET Professional fixtures, the stage set includes some spot andellipsoidal fixtures as well as a hazer, all controlled by a Avolite Expert Pro controller.

“Everyone has been pleased with the Chauvet fixtures,” said Wardell. “They’re creating a very richly colored immersive look on the stage.” In the process they’ve helped bring the music back to life in one of the city’s most historic and evocative concert venues.

Photo by Clayton Hauck for Dusek's / Thalia Hall

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For more information on Intelligent Lighting Creations  visit www.intelligentlighting.com

For more on Thalia Hall visit www.thaliahallchicago.com