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Higher Stakes: Safe rigging for arenas
Wenger Corporation Continues Growth With Acquisition Of SECOA
December 5, 2016
When Wenger Corporation acquired the assets of 45-year-old SECOA, it did so with an eye toward the future.
“What we can benefit from this acquisition of the assets is that we have an opportunity to grow and pick up sales and their book of business, as it were,” said Chris Simpson, president and CEO of Wenger. “We have an opportunity to really leverage better resources. That’s an important point to this purchase. We’re adding some of their key team members and their related experience. We are able to take on a couple of their products that fit into our portfolio. That’s really a key element to what we’re doing.”
Simpson came on board at Owatonna, Minnesota-based Wenger five years ago, and has led a dynamic growth spurt for a company that provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage.
“The genesis of even thinking about this goes back to what our base strategy is and what our vision is,” Simpson said. “It comes back to Wenger Corporation’s overall vision, which is to be a leading provider of products and services for the performing arts and education businesses on a global basis. That’s a big, broad vision. We understand what we have to do to go out there and do that. One of the things you have to do is grow. We clearly have a very aggressive growth strategy for the performing arts business.”
Wenger, which started in 1946, acquired J.R. Clancy five years ago, which put the company in the rigging business.
“Our product portfolio has expanded significantly with where we were pre-J.R. Clancy,” Simpson said. “We have audio, seating, acoustical, rigging and I could go on and on. The point is we have a broad and deep range of product offerings in the industry.”
Simpson said that while he has looked at what might make sense from an acquisition opportunity, the SECOA deal happened when he was approached by that company’s owners.
“I thought the similarities of business models was strikingly similar,” he said. “Therefore, we looked at how buying the assets of the company might make sense. That is one of the things to be clear about in that we didn’t buy SECOA, per se, but bought the assets of SECOA. That said, SECOA as a separate entity really will no longer exist. We have the rights to the SECOA brand and in fact we plan on using that on some of the select products that transferred over, but the business will be rolling up into the Wenger/J.R. Clancy business model.”
Simpson believes that the combination of retaining some talented individuals along with the business model he has purchased means only a positive future to build upon.
“There are some talented individuals we have coming on board who have long-term experience,” he said. “They are actually going to help us accelerate some of the abilities to really project manage and be a total integrator of more solutions for the performing arts space. SECOA has a business model that they’ve been running forever that we have had just over the last couple of years. That will help us jump-start even faster. But we just feel that the assets that we are acquiring as part of this deal clearly fits very well with what we’re doing.”
Wenger and Lexicon to Highlight Active Acoustics at IAVM’s VenueConnect Show
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — The International Association of Venue Managers’ VenueConnect show is coming to Minneapolis July 23-26, 2016. There, attendees who visit the Wenger/J.R. Clancy booth (#323) will be able to hear about the transformation that active acoustics technology made to Neumann Auditorium at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa (pictured here).
More details from Wenger (www.wengercorp.com):
How can performing venues stretch their acoustic potential, to better host a variety of events? Attendees to the International Association of Venue Managers’ VenueConnect show in Minneapolis, Minnesota (July 23-26, 2016) can hear firsthand about advancements in active acoustics technology.
Representatives from Wenger and Lexicon will discuss a world-premiere installation at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, on July 25 at 11:00 a.m. This new system has transformed Wartburg’s Neumann Auditorium from a dated, problematic facility to a showplace for Wartburg’s renowned music programs.
The new active acoustics system also offers something that traditional acoustic treatments can’t do: the creative flexibility to create music programming that simply wouldn’t be possible with conventional technology.
“You can simulate any acoustic you want. It’s virtually limitless,” said Lee Nelson, Wartburg’s Director of Choral Activities. “You could create a choral/orchestral performance setting, a choral setting for cathedral performances and a setting for a piano concerto—all within the same concert if you wish. And, all settings can be stored and recalled at any time.”
The new active acoustics system has also become a selling point in the battle to attract talented student performers, events and concerts. Prior to the installation, Neumann Auditorium’s less-than-ideal acoustics were a drag on recruiting efforts, and made it impossible to host concerts by certain artists and bands.
Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., recently purchased an active acoustics system, which will be installed in 2017.
Get more info on this July 25 performing arts session here. If you’re planning on attending this show, please visit the Wenger/J.R. Clancy booth 323.
One Stage, Two Looks: Custom J.R. Clancy Hoist System Assisting
Project profile from director of engineering at Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA.
(from Technologies for Worship, January 2016)
Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA is a multi-generational church that currently runs three services every Sunday. The first two at 8:00 and 9:30 am are traditional in nature, featuring both a choir and full-piece orchestra. Our 11:00 am service offers a contemporary worship style to our congregants, featuring a typical worship band, and more theatrical lighting than our traditional services.
We recently completed a full sanctuary remodel, including stage and congregation seating areas, to enable us to more easily delineate between both service styles; showcasing a full-stage with choir loft and orchestra pit for the first two services, and transitioning to a smaller, more intimate stage for our contemporary service.
To put this in perspective, our stage is roughly 60’ deep by about 80’ wide and about 4’ high. When we did our remodel, we actually raised and leveled the floor in front of the stage on the main level of our sanctuary, as the stage had been about 6’ high to allow people sitting in our balcony to see the pastor. The new remodel brought our pastor closer to our congregants on the main level and created an easier viewing experience for them, while at the same time maintaining the sight lines needed for those in our balcony.
During our remodeling process, we knew we wanted to create an environment where we could easily change from our traditional stage setting to a contemporary stage setting in the 15-20 minutes we had between the end of our 9:30 am service and the start of our 11:00 am service, without having to worry about pushing the 11:00 am start time back.
For our contemporary worship, we wanted a way to make the stage smaller and more intimate for our praise band. We knew the best way to do this was to have a backdrop that could come down and hide the orchestra pit and choir loft. To assist in this look transition, we replaced our older projection system with two 18’ x 10’ LED display walls made by Aeson that would be used for all services. This is where JR Clancy came in. Our system integrator, Idibri, and installer, Pacific West Sound, approached JR Clancy about creating a gantry system for our LED screens that would allow us to easily move them 30 feet downstage and lower them to eight feet above the stage for our contemporary worship. We needed the screens to work at both an upstage and downstage location, so JR Clancy designed a custom hoist and gantry system using components of their PowerLine® line shaft hoist, which allows the screens to be recessed in an alcove against the back wall of the stage for the traditional services and moved forward in front of the scrims for the contemporary service.
Once the screens are in position for our contemporary worship, we’re able to drop seven large Mechoshade scrims behind and beside them to hide the orchestra pit, choir loft, and cut the size of our stage in half.
Clancy’s SceneControl® 5200 control console serves as the controller for the LED gantry system. The SceneControl® console provides programming for up to 24 axes, with the ability to start and stop an axis multiple times within a cue. The graphic touch-screen display shows the operator the position of each batten and all of the targets, and an emergency stop system and hold-torun function make the SceneControl® a good choice for facilities that may use volunteers to run the rigging.
We also installed three Varion® hoists to add lighting positions above the stage, and a PowerLift® hoist to add key light above the house.
With our remodel, we’ve added 26 ETC Source 4, 14 degree ellipsoidals, 48 ETC Color Source pars, and 12 Vari-lite 770s. We use our Color Source pars primarily as backlighting, along with the VL-770s to put pattern and color on the stage to help enhance the worship experience and light up the scrims. The scrim backdrop provides a neutral canvas that allows us to create a variety of different lighting designs for the stage. A High End Systems Hog 4 lighting console is used to create the lighting elements for both our traditional and contemporary services.
With the JR Clancy system in place, we can now strike most of the orchestra pit, hide the choir loft, do an audio changeover and make the stage smaller between services in about 15 minutes. We were able to get exactly what we wanted – two different stage looks for two kinds of services – and we couldn’t be more pleased.
Wenger Transcend™ Active Acoustics and Transform™ Acoustical Banners Win Best Product Awards
Groundbreaking Acoustics Technology Honored at Worship Facilities Expo
Owatonna, Minn. (November 19, 2015) — Wenger Corporation, a leader in stage, acoustic and storage solutions for worship and performance spaces took home three awards at the annual Worship Facilities Expo in Nashville, TN. Wenger’s groundbreaking Transcend™ Active Acoustic System won the award for Best Other Audio Product, while the Transform™ Motorized Acoustical Banner brought home two honors: Best Acoustical Treatment Product and the prestigious Best Overall Building Treatment award.
“The judging panel responded to the versatility of Transcend for spoken word and music. The system has very appealing qualities for churches,” said Jim Wagner, Managing Director of Worship Facilities Expo, adding, “The Transform Motorized Acoustical Banner could provide flexibility to a wide variety of church spaces. The judging panel was impressed with the versatility of applications and placement for churches.”
Both products are significant breakthroughs in acoustics technology, and show Wenger leading the charge in creating acoustical solutions that are more effective, more versatile and more affordable. Developed in partnership with the legendary audio company HARMAN, Transcend uses digital processing technology to optimize the acoustics of any worship or performance space, while Transform replaces traditional acoustic panels with motorized banners that can be adjusted to suit a variety of performances.
Chris Simpson, President and CEO of Wenger Corporation said, “We are extremely honored that the Worship Facilities Conference and Expo 2015 has chosen the Transcend Active Acoustic System as Best Other Audio Product. We believe that Transcend is a revolutionary product that will make cutting-edge active acoustics technology accessible to worship facilities and venues around the world, and we’re glad the WFX judges agree. We are also honored by their recognizing our versatile Transform Motorized Acoustical Banner with two awards: Best Acoustical Treatment Product and Best Overall Building Product.”
If you’re a member of the media who would like to learn more about Transcend or Transform contact Matt Helgeson at Strother Communications Group (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stacy Hanson (email@example.com) at Wenger Corporation. If you’re a church or venue manager who would like to inquire about an installation of Transcend or Transform, contact Denny Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About Wenger Corporation
Wenger Corporation (wengercorp.com) provides innovative stage, acoustic and storage solutions for performing arts, music/theatre education and athletics programs around the world. Our Wenger®, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss® brands are dedicated to flawless performance in all our products and solutions. For nearly 70 years, Wenger has been listening to customers to produce the durable and functional products they need. For 130 years, J.R. Clancy has been producing exceptional rigging and theatrical equipment. Since joining forces in 2011, these two time-tested brands deliver advanced products for the highest levels of acoustic excellence, comfort and versatility for any performance venue. GearBoss brings the same level of design expertise and commitment to athletics. Visit our YourPerformancePartners.com blog to learn more.
Currently celebrating its 10th year, the Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (http://www.wfxweb.com) is the leading event for church facilities and technology teams. Presented by Church Production Magazine and Worship Facilities magazine, WFX offers churches of all sizes education and training on new tools and technologies, meaningful networking, and exposure to innovative ideas for ministry and management.