DiGiCo Sparkles at Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

A large and diverse array of performers shared the stage at the recent 96th annual National Christmas Tree lighting

On Christmas Eve, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse and pushed a single button to light a 48-foot Balsam fir—the first National Christmas Tree— while enthusiastic spectators looked on.

On 28 November 2018, however, there were a few more buttons to push for Monitor Engineer, Sven Giersmann who piloted a DiGiCo SD10 console, provided by Maryland Sound, for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Hosted by actor Antonio Sabàto Jr and aired on the Ovation and REELZ channels, the 96th annual production featured a diverse lineup of performances.

“The show has multiple performance spaces and was live to tape, so there was a lot to manage,” recalled Matt Snyder, Maryland Sound’s account executive on site. “Some of the artists performed on their own, others played with the U.S. Army Band, plus we had a number of different hosts on stage throughout the event, and we had a constant mix of both in-ears and wedge monitors. The SD10 was maxed out, but it handled everything flawlessly.”

The DiGiCo SD10 was used in conjunction with a pair of DiGiCo SD-Racks on an optical loop, clocking at a pristine 96kHz, to manage 34 handheld wireless microphones, 20 stereo IEMs, and even more floor mixes. In addition to 96 stage inputs, multiple stems and truck feed to performers were routed through the DiGiCo SD10 monitor console.

“None of the small format consoles in the inventory could handle the I/O capacity of this show,” Snyder added. “The SD10’s intuitive workflow was critical and, because of the remote location of the console, the iPad app was also an essential system tool. With only one-timed rehearsal before the broadcast, I had to generate and edit snapshots on the fly, and the SD console software let me do that easily.”