On the stage and behind the scenes

The NarroWay Blog

Chapter 27: Two Thieves...and a Savior


two thieves sweatshirt

Spring 1997. The electrical work was almost finished. Audio and dmx cables were running through what seemed to be miles of conduit, under tons of concrete, all over the amphitheater.

The first equipment to be installed was the lighting. We decided to purchase ten intelligent lights rather than hundreds of conventional lights.

We had around fifty conventional lights from the ones we had salvaged.

Unlike conventional theater lighting, an intelligent light can move all directions, change to any color, cover anything from a small box on the stage to a large building, and has gobos to create special effects.

But intelligent lights couldn’t be installed outdoors in 1997. That would be like leaving your laptop outside on your deck year-round.

So, Eric Vonfange, owner of The Light Source, designed a specially-equipped acrylic shroud to encase each light. And NarroWay became one of the first – if not, THE first – to use intelligent lights outdoors.

One of my most exciting memories is the day they brought in the crane and installed those impressive lights!

eric on light pole
lights hanging in shrouds

As we renovated the amphitheater, we also had to prepare weather-proof areas in which to securely house our large EAW sub-woofers and speakers.

building speaker housings
speaker housings

Once the equipment spaces were built and the facility was made secure...

...well ... as secure as an outdoor amphitheater can be...

...we were ready to start rehearsals for TWO THIEVES AND A SAVIOR in the amphitheater.

It was finally time to bring our prized Olympic sound equipment out of storage and INSTALL!

We had spent $50,000.00 with the Atlanta Olympics to purchase top-of-the-line sound equipment, but it was valued more than double that amount.

bill of sale

Even so, we still didn’t have everything we needed. We lacked processors, playback, effects, and so on. The trouble was, we didn’t have money enough left to purchase all we needed.

On March 17, 1997 our super-excited crew of volunteers and sound gurus pulled up at the Grand Hotel where we had securely locked away the Olympic equipment in September, 1996. It was hard to believe we were really getting ready to install it!

It took a lot of muscle and several truck trips to haul the equipment to the secured amphitheater lobby. These guys had never seen the equipment. As they “WOWed” about it, I was like a new mom with her baby! I was so proud!

Our crew was meticulous, separating cables, plugs, types of equipment and cases and...well, I wondered how they would ever get all that stuff plugged up!

Everyone worked late to get everything perfectly organized. The next day we had rented a lift and volunteers had taken off work to install our sound.

Like a kid waking up on Christmas morning, my eyes popped open on Tuesday, March 18.

It was a five-minute drive to the amphitheater but I was up and ready in record time.

The rising sun was blinding on that beautiful day.

When we saw the amphitheater, something was wrong. At first, we thought it was the way the shadows were falling. But, it wasn’t. One of the large gates was broken and gaping open.

My heart dropped to my stomach.

I threw open the car door and ran in.

We were stunned. It was wrecked.

Thieves had taken almost everything we had..

It couldn’t have been more than two because they had only been able to drag our EAW’s to the door. They hadn’t gotten them. Maybe they planned to come back. And maybe we had awakened early – in time to catch them before their second haul.

We did all the stuff you have to do.
Paper work.

police report

We spent money we desperately needed for other things to reinforce the doors with thick steel, locking bars across the front and back of every heavy wooden gate!
Eleven gates.
Twenty-two custom-made steel bars and locks.
Then we got angry!

Two months until we open.

We already didn’t have the money to get the equipment we needed. Now we were looking at having to replace what we had.

We drove around the amphitheater that night. We didn’t walk the seven times, like usual. We were afraid.

It was hard to pray that night. But we did.

There was no music when the cast showed up to rehearse “Two Thieves and a Savior.” They really didn’t know us that well. I bet they wondered if we really were going to be able to “pull this off.” I guess it didn’t much look like God was on our side.

But God was teaching us a lesson out of our own playbook.

You see, a couple of days later the insurance company called. Turned out, when we insured the equipment we hadn’t insured it for the value we paid. We had insured it for REPLACEMENT value.

And replacement value was way more than DOUBLE what we had paid. With the insurance we received, we were not only able to replace everything we lost, but we were able to purchase everything else we needed but couldn’t afford.

Yes, indeed! There were two thieves...

But, thank God – there is a SAVIOR.

insurance claim

More photos

sound installationWe finally did get to install the remaining sound equipment, including those big EAW 850 speakers from the Atlanta Olympics!
installing speakers
sound installation
working at console
john in booth
preparing light shrouds
preparing shrouds
wiring shrouds
crane with lights
installing lights
installing lights
shrouds on poles

20 years later...

20 year old sgm fixtureNow indoors, eight of those original SGM Galileo IV intelligent lights (minus shrouds) hang in the NarroWay Theatre.
20 year old eaw speakersThose EAW 850 mains are being used now in the NarroWay Theatre....
eaw 850 subsas are those EAW 850 subs -- more than 20 years old!


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Chapter 28: The Animals Arrive
Chapter 26: What Were We Thinking!

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