When Case Western Reserve Medical School approached Keith Steele, President of ProShow Sound, LLC, to supply a sound system for their annual fundraiser, Steele was happy to offer his expertise. The event production veteran with over 30 years of experience chose FBT for the job, and was thrilled with the results.
Doc Opera is an annual fundraiser and variety show that’s written, directed and performed by Case Western’s medical students each year, to raise funds that help the underserved population of the Greater Cleveland area to gain access to quality health services. The performances, which range from skits to musical performances, are all parodies and spoofs on the medical school and community. Because the theater was built in the 1920s and the full orchestra spanned the full length of the proscenium, Steele had a few challenges to consider when designing the system.
“The theater is a really nice space but, because it was built in the early 1900s it was designed to reverberate,” said Steele. “The room had no fly points and, because the ceiling was so high and the orchestra spanned the full length of the proscenium, we decided to put four 210 Muse LAVs on each side of the stage their carts, and aim them just where we needed them so there wouldn’t be a bad seat in the house.”
Minutes before the show, everything changed when ticket sales exceeded expectations. The balcony (initially closed) was suddenly opened for seating, and Steele and his crew handled the change, just in the nick of time.
“There are so many moving parts to our business, so many things that can change at the last minute, that you just have to be prepared to roll with those changes and adjust your plans accordingly,” said Steele. “We’d already set the rig up for optimal coverage to the back row of the lower level. I got on the radio and had two of my techs get up in front of the curtain and drop the back of the top box on the cart 5 degrees. We had to point and shoot at that point, but the sound FBT Muse offers and the ease of rigging makes quick changes really easy to deal with.”
Years of experience also help. Steele and his company have been providing audio/visual services since 1988, and have worked with such notable artists as the Original Wailers, Mickey Hart, Parliament Funkadelic, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley and G.E. Smith, among others. He has also worked with CBSN as live broadcast engineer for the RNC and is the audio provider for Cleveland Pride festival (the second largest in Ohio) which features nationally recognized artists’ performances. But big names aren’t what have earned Steele and his company their outstanding reputation; if you ask him, he’ll say that that came from treating his clients the way they want to, and should be, treated. ProShow has recently become the manufacturer of all IP65 power connections for the FBT Muse line arrays.
Steele explained why he chooses FBT and Italian Speaker Imports, the brand’s sole U.S. distributor.
“John Krupa and his staff at Italian Speaker Imports are really dedicated to their clients, to customer service and everything that goes along with it. As for FBT, when you’re a small or medium-sized company, you have to maximize your return on investment or you’re going to be out of business. Their speakers are in the middle in terms of price range, but offer performance rivaling more expensive boutique brands. Other brands in that range just don’t offer the same high quality sound. The Italians have been making loudspeakers since the advent of radio. You hear that in FBT products, every time you use them.”