The audio crew at the Apollo
Theater includes (l-r) Charles
Clifton (front of house engineer),
Tony Rollins (monitor engineer),
Shawn Norgriff (front of house
engineer) and Houston Bowen
New York (October 13, 2009)–The Apollo Theater is more than a historic landmark; it’s a source of pride and a symbol of the brilliance of American artistic accomplishment. With its rich history and continued significance, the Apollo Theater celebrated its 75th anniversary with a gala in June 2009, and the delivery of two Yamaha PM5D sound reinforcement consoles, one at front of house and one at monitors, installed by Boulevard Pro (Oradell, NJ).
No stranger to Yamaha consoles, Steve Jones, Apollo director of production and touring, said that nine years ago when he first came to the theater, they were using two PM4000 consoles which eventually would need replacing. In 2003, most of the sound system was upgraded except the consoles. “We were long overdue for a change,” says Jones. “I think the fact that the Apollo is celebrating its 75th anniversary helped to motivate our purchase, but it was not the main decision-making factor.”
“The majority of touring companies that come into the Apollo request Yamaha PM5Ds,” notes Jones. “The 5D has become an industry standard. We had been renting equipment from Boulevard Pro for many years, and they have come to be not only good friends of the Apollo but very helpful in upgrading our system. When we talked to them about buying new sound consoles, they referred me to Bob Quinones from Yamaha who was instrumental in the process of our purchasing the consoles through Boulevard Pro.”
The Yamaha PM5Ds were in use for the 75th Anniversary Spring Gala that was hosted by Steve Harvey and included performances by The O’Jays and Fantasia, with a special appearance by Prince. The evening also honored Quincy Jones and Patti Labelle, with awards presented by Jamie Foxx and Mariah Carey, respectively. A one-day tribute to Michael Jackson took place outside the Apollo Theater with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Spike Lee, and was covered by local and national TV, including a live CNN feed. Local radio stations WBLS-FM and KIIS-FM broadcast live during the tribute.
The Yamaha PM5D consoles also took part in two gospel programs held at the Apollo with Jesseye Norman as curator and co-produced by Carnegie Hall entitled “Carnegie Hall Gospel Honors.” Of the 5Ds on board effects, front of house engineer Shawn Norgriff added that “they are very easy to navigate in order to achieve the standard Yamaha sound, and for monitors, having 22 mixes makes the system very flexible and routing and scene storage easy.”
Next on the desks’ agenda is the touring production of Dreamgirls, which begins at the Apollo Theater in October.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.