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Let There Be Music and Light

Lamps and, perhaps more importantly, silent control gear has been supplied by Venture Lighting to a converted church in Everton, Liverpool, now being used as a rehearsal centre for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO).

St Mary of the Angels is a Grade II listed building with a strong architectural designed interior. Having previously had a strong history with the shipping industry of Liverpool, the building was originally purchased by the famous White Star Shipping Line as a gift to staff, rewarding them for their loyalty to the company. Over the years, as the shipping industry diminished and church attendance in the area hit an all time low, the building was no longer used for services and a new way of using the historic church had to be found. As part of a local heritage scheme, the church was given a £500,000 makeover to create a new rehearsal space for the RLPO. The orchestra had been forced to rehearse in church halls or hotel conference rooms when its Philharmonic concert hall was being used for other purposes. However, as it was important for the orchestra to recreate the correct acoustic concert conditions during their rehearsal, using St Marys provided the ideal location.

As part of the make-over, the lighting had to be re-designed to a strict brief to adhere to the building design and heritage society remit. Local designer, Jim Mott of Alpha Lighting was called upon to produce a scheme which would use the original wall mounted fittings, enabling the light to reflect towards a dark wood ornamental ceiling. The indirect illumination had to be of a high enough quality for the orchestra to read music easily, but of higher importance was the control gear that had to be silent so as not to spoil the acoustics of the building when the orchestra rehearses.

Alpha, worked in partnership with RZB Lighting who supplied its Retroflex mirror system reflectors. The highly polished square multi mirrored 1000m x 1000m reflectors have been installed in conjunction with wall mounted projectors fitted with Venture's 250W metal halide lamps. Venture's lamps offer precise optical control and, along with long life and excellent colour uniformity, are ideal for a wide range of applications including accent lighting. The fittings used in the installation at St Marys have enabled the projectors to produce a specific beam of light upwards onto the mirror Retroflex, providing exactly the right amount of light in the right place without the need for a complex lighting system. To overcome the acoustic problem, a remote mounted encapsulated gear pack from Venture was also employed due to its silent operation.

Jim Mott commented: "This was a complex, but very interesting project to work on and the listed building restrictions threw in some challenges but we were easily able to overcome these. Venture's control gear and lamps complement the reflector fittings and the overall outcome of the lighting has been very well received".

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