Nov 25th — December came early this year! We were still November and it was time to decorate for the first Sunday of December! We tore our previous set down as soon as the Abraham Epic was over, and it was time to put up our December stage design before Thanksgiving even came around! Little did I know I would have a terrible accident!
This stage design was born out of desperation. After spending 20 hours designing another stage design (click the link if you want to see something totally ridiculous!), in the end it was totally unworkable. We came down to a few days before it was time to put up the design and had to come up with a totally different plan!
We had already purchased a star LED curtain for 1/6th the price of other places (Glen is really good at finding deals!) and Peter put the curtain up. It was so awesome. We are low budget church when it comes to tech so blowing half my budget for this set on this curtain was a total luxury. But it was totally worth it. (Not to mention we will reuse it in the future!)
The sheers on the sides and Christmas lights behind the sheers were part of the original plan as well. But then we had a problem.
The star curtain was too short. There was a big gap between the bottom of the curtain and the ground. It looked totally lame.
Thankfully, I had anticipated such a problem and had set aside the two Christmas trees we usually put on the front of the stage. We stole the office lobby Christmas tree. This made three trees. Unfortunately, our stage was too wide and the trees did not cover the entire gap! (Here’s a picture of Peter, Glen behind Peter, and my sister Corrie who came to help!)
Glen went to the local thrift store and God totally provided a tree that was hidden in a box on the side. Glen’s daughter Gracie was the only person who noticed it and they were able to buy what was essentially almost a new artificial tree for $6. Then the stand cost another $6. So we spent $12 on a 7-foot Christmas tree!
Ashley and Corrie helped string up lights in the trees. By the end of the project, my hand looked like it had been attacked by the pine needles.
We also used zip ties to create criss-crosses with the lights because the lights going straight up and down looked a bit on the blah end.
Then we looked at the stage and it totally lacked a big star, which was the metaphor that had sprung the whole stage design in the first place! The series was “Journey of the Magi,” which was about how God used a star to bring them to Jesus. Our stage had a star curtain but no star!
Glen said, “I know!” He ran off and returned with a large metal star. He had spray paint and glitter and after doing some work on it, it looked fantastic!
Here’s how the stage looked after being lighted, thanks to Peter’s help.
We configured the lights a couple different ways… white only…
Blue only (blue were par cans on the floor)
Green only (fresnels in ceiling)
Blue and green.
Here’s a view from the front row.
I wish we had LED lighting to be able to create a color wash on the entire fabric, but we were limited to PAR 64s on the floor and Fresnel lights that are only about 12 feet from the fabric, too close to color the entire fabric. Given our situation I think the lighting came out about the best it could have with what we had.
Unfortunately the photos do not give a really great representation of the view. In person, the lights were much more “glowy,” as opposed to the pinpoints they look like in the above photos. In the close-up picture below you can see the lovely bokeh (glowing circle) effects the lights create in the background.
A funny note was that the star Glen used was an old star his wife used to own that they gave to a friend. Glen asked the friend to “borrow” the star but did not give details. On the first Sunday that people saw the star, the friend sat in our worship center and texted Glen saying, “Did you paint my star???????” Glen texted, “Maybe????” Good thing the friend was very forgiving!
The accident? I was a terrible model for work safety. As I was zip tying the lights together, someone was on the other end steaming the fabric to get out the wrinkles. I was not paying attention and put my hand right up against the steamer and received a nice second-degree burn. It actually did not hurt that much at first, but started hurting more and within a few days had blisters and was swollen and bright red.
I made the photo below really small so I wouldn’t gross people out — my hand was in a pretty nasty state for weeks. (Even now, 1.5 months later, I can still see discoloration on my hand!) I know it was a dumb idea to be doing that while there was a steamer being used, but we were in a crunch because we had our Thanksgiving Eve service happening on Wednesday and we could not start working on the set until Monday.
In any case, I’m very thankful the Lord provided the inspiration to take what started out as a discouragement into one of the best stage designs we’ve done! And I loved that besides Glen and Peter, the additional people who helped on the stage design were a junior higher, a high schooler, and a person from another church (my sister)!