Wang Theatre, Citi Performing Arts Center :: Boston, MA

Fenway Park :: Boston, MA (Photo: Julie Cordeiro / Boston Red Sox)


“BL&S is a key partner of the Red Sox... These professionals have helped take the Fenway Park experience to new heights of audio enjoyment.”
– Dr. Charles Steinberg, Senior Advisor to the President/CEO, Boston Red Sox
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Fenway Park and Boston Light & Sound ::

Fenway Park is the oldest baseball park in the major leagues. As the unofficial sound provider for the Boston Red Sox, Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) has provided extensive public address and related system services at Fenway Park since 1986. In addition to installing a new permanent, distributed sound system in the ball field, BL&S has been providing hands-on support for live events for nearly 30 years. The BL&S team finds inventive ways to deliver the best sound quality for a wide range of events, from World Series games to special occasions that require inventive solutions.

Special Events at Fenway - mics at home plate
MLB postseason logo and BL&S jacket logo
Fenway Park sound booth

Special Events - Yoga at Fenway
BL&S crew at 2013 Playoffs
World Series 2013 logo on field

Special Events - Christmas at Fenway stage
Special Events - Frozen Fenway ice rink
Boston Red Sox - National Anthem performances

 


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Fenway Park Sound System Installation ::

BL&S’s partnership with Fenway Park hit a new high mark in the winter of 2005 as they implemented a new stadium-wide distributed sound
system over the course of a New England winter under a very tight
timeframe.

 

Providing sound reinforcement

Designed by WJHW in Dallas, the new sound system replaced a center field
loudspeaker cluster. It now utilizes more than 200 zones of EAW
loudspeakers, providing highly intelligible full-range coverage to defined

Fenway Park

(Photo: Julie Cordeiro / Boston Red Sox)


seating sections. The main grandstand’s upper and lower decks are served by groupings of loudspeakers, while the huge center- and right-field bleachers, along with specialty areas such as outdoor plazas and the seats atop the Green Monster, receive reinforcement via carefully selected and placed loudspeakers. The BL&S team also added sound reinforcement to the stadium’s new upper level club seats, as well as to concourses and walkways.

 

Integrating sound system technologies

QSC Audio QSControl.net is the crucial backbone tying the entire system together, integrating amplifier and loudspeaker management with configurable digital signal processing and digital audio transport. BL&S took the lead position with this key facet of the project, assembling and interconnecting the amplifier/processor racks at their shop prior to installation for troubleshooting and optimization.

 

Solving audio challenges

Fenway Park’s many structural anomalies presented a distinct installation challenge. No two sections are alike. To accommodate these differences, BL&S designed and erected numerous loudspeaker mounting brackets, and in some cases built entire steel structures for suitable mounting.

 

“Boston Light & Sound did this setup work as well as it could possibly be done,” notes WJHW’s Mark Graham. “With other DSP systems, there’s a crash or two as well as complaints about glitches, but not once have there been any network problems, lock-ups, or anything of that nature.”

 

By Opening Day of the 2006 season, the entire ballpark-wide system was ready to go—tested and optimized to supply dramatically upgraded performance for a sold-out crowd of Red Sox faithful.

 

Continually improving sound

Since 2006, the Red Sox have made numerous stadium improvements, including creating the Coke and Cumberland Farm sign seating areas, extending the upper level pavilion seats down the left and right field lines, renovating the control booth, and replacing the bleacher scoreboard and signage.

 

To support these additions, WJHW and BL&S collaborated in designing and implementing the additional sound needed to provide audio coverage to these areas. They selected loudspeakers, amplifiers, and processors, and carefully identified the proper aiming and time alignment to ensure that the new speakers didn’t affect the sound in adjacent areas.

 

BL&S continues to monitor the system from computers in its home facility to pre-empt any problems that may arise. They also make two yearly visits to Fenway to check out all components. Happily, all has continued to run smoothly.

 

(Adapted from original story by Keith Clark)


 

Fenway Park sound booth

Sound installation - sound booth view

 

Fenway Park sound booth

Sound installation - sound booth

 

Fenway Park sound booth

Sound installation - sound booth microphone

 

Fenway Park sound booth

Sound installation - sound booth technology

 

BL&S is a key partner of the
Red Sox

“Whether it’s an on-the-spot setup for the late Ray Charles and Lou Rawls, or an extensive installation, these professionals have helped take the Fenway Park experience to new heights of audio enjoyment.”

 

— Dr. Charles Steinberg, Senior Advisor to the President/CEO, Boston Red Sox


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Boston Red Sox, World Series and ALCS ::

Some of the world’s most renowned performers, including Ray Charles, Mary J. Blige, Steven Tyler, and Neil Diamond, have graced Fenway Park as World Series openers. Each time, BL&S is on hand to ensure clear, powerful sound before, during, and after the games.

 

Each performance brings its own unique requirements, depending on the
type of performer and the location on the field. To ensure everything runs
smoothly, BL&S works with other crews on site to coordinate every step.
This often includes full run-through rehearsals with each

 

2013 World Series logo on Fenway field

2013 World Series logo on Fenway field


performer, sub mixing the sound from the field and sending it to the house console so that the sound is evenly distributed throughout the ball field.

 

2013 World Series

Since the opening ceremonies for World Series games are broadcast live, BL&S only has a matter of seconds during the commercial breaks to get equipment set up. This was particularly challenging during the 2013 World Series. Typically performers can use wireless mics on the field, but there were so many media outlets transmitting RF frequencies, there was a risk that this would cause interference of wireless mics. To prevent these issues, BL&S used wired mics. Thus, they had just 30 seconds to get mics, monitors, and cabling out on the field, connected, and tested before James Taylor and his family sang “America the Beautiful.”

 

BL&S also supported the 2013 World Series After Party and Rolling Rally. With just a few hours’ notice, the BL&S team operated sound equipment for the Dropkick Murphys at a private party to celebrate the players’ amazing feat. To do so meant staging and swiftly installing equipment post-game, while steering clear of the celebrating crowds.

 

For the Rolling Rally, the Red Sox planned post-game speeches and a performance by the Dropkick Murphys on a flatbed truck that could then be driven away to kick off the parade. To support the unusual request, BL&S worked closely with a concert production team to handle all the band’s needs. They accepted an audio feed from a flatbed truck and connected it to the house system. This way, the truck could drive away with a self-contained sound system and instruments, all while being broadcast on live TV.

 

2007 World Series

For the first game of the 2007 World Series at Fenway Park, BL&S was asked to mic the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Williams, for their performance of the National Anthem in center field.

 

Skillfully preparing an entire orchestra with mics for entry and exit of the field within minutes presented some unique logistical and technical challenges. The solution: use a completely wireless microphone system. To ensure that no sound interference occurred with the performance and the broadcast, BL&S coordinated wireless microphones and in-ear frequencies with the local and national television networks.

 

BL&S’s recent major renovations to the park’s sound system positively aided in the end result: Fenway Park became a world-class symphony hall of its own.

 

2004 World Series and ALCS

During the previous 2004 World Series and ALCS, many performers, including Boston’s own Steven Tyler and James Taylor, treated 34,000 Red Sox fans to their renditions of the National Anthem. BL&S provided audio support for this pre-game entertainment.

 

In addition to installing and monitoring the audio equipment, BL&S overcame numerous technical challenges associated with live broadcast and performance. For instance, the lengthy time delay from the main loudspeaker cluster to the performer at home plate necessitated the use of in-ear monitors to assist the performer’s concentration so they would not become distracted by the echo effect.

 

This freed the performers to focus on entertaining fans during what was to be one of the most memorable championship series at Fenway.

 

 

2013 World Series

Fenway Park - 2013 World Series

 

Dropkick Murphys rehearsing at Fenway - 2013

Dropkick Murphys rehearsing at Fenway - 2013

 

2013 World Series

Fenway Park - 2013 World Series

 

BL&S crew at Fenway - 2013 ALCS

BL&S crew at work - 2013 ALCS, Fenway Park

 

Fenway World Series Robert Goulet

Robert Goulet – 2007 World Series

 

Fenway Park World Series Steven Tyler

Prepping Steven Tyler – Fenway Park, 2004

 

Fenway Park World Series Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler national anthem – Fenway Park, 2004

 

Fenway Park World Series BL&S staff

BL&S staff Celine Larimer and Mark Rowinski – Fenway Park, 2004

 

“I never have to worry”

“With BL&S, ballpark audio becomes the easiest part of the game. I never have to worry – they’re the best guys around.”

 

— Su-san Lancoon, Ipswich Associates Project Manager, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park


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Special Events at Fenway ::

BL&S provides pre-event planning as well as on-site support to ensure the sound system performs optimally during a wide array of special events at Fenway.

 

Opening Day

The Red Sox often have multiple activities, from ring ceremonies, to
individual performances, to marching bands, occurring within moments of
each other on different parts of the field. For these multi-faceted events,
BL&S helps manage logistics ahead of time and provides multiple

Opening Day - Fenway Park, 2014

Opening Day - Fenway Park, 2014


crews during the event so performances can flow from one to the next seamlessly.

 

Christmas at Fenway

Broadcast live on NESN every year, Christmas at Fenway gives fans a chance to enjoy holiday festivities, including music and player interviews, at the park and an opportunity to purchase tickets for the upcoming season. To support the event, BL&S provides sound systems of various sizes at different locations across the field, connects them together from their mix position, and distributes the audio to various media outlets. In addition, BL&S sets up an audio interface to enable NESN to conduct interviews with players who aren’t able to be on-site.

 

Red Sox Foundation Events

Each year BL&S donates audio equipment, including “presidential style” teleprompters, for several Red Sox Foundation galas. They also donate equipment and provide on-site support for the Foundation’s Yoga at Fenway fundraiser to assist financially disadvantaged students. The BL&S team sets up a wireless mic, connected to the house sound system, so that attendees can hear the instructor as well as background music throughout the park.

 

In addition to installing and monitoring the audio equipment, BL&S overcame numerous technical challenges associated with live broadcast and performance. For instance, the lengthy time delay from the main loudspeaker cluster to the performer at home plate necessitated the use of in-ear monitors to assist the performer’s concentration so they would not become distracted by the echo effect.

 

Frozen Fenway

Every two years, Fenway hosts exciting hockey matchups and community skating events at an ice rink built right inside the park. BL&S configures the sound system for these festivities. They uncovered an interesting conundrum, however. In an outdoor setting, it’s hard to hear what’s actually happening on the ice. To give fans the experience they were accustomed to hearing at an indoor rink, BL&S clamps omnidirectional microphones to the tops of the boards surrounding the ice so fans can easily hear all the skating and crashes.

 

Fenway Park’s 100-year anniversary

To commemorate the park’s 100-year anniversary, John Williams conducted a special “Fenway Fanfare’’ and Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart took the baton for the national anthem that was punctuated by a flyover of a vintage P-51 Mustang flying wingtip-to-wingtip with an F-16 fighter jet.

 

BL&S worked to ensure that everything went perfectly for this historic event. This involved coordinating wireless microphone frequencies with numerous other frequencies being used in the park, and organizing crews to provide hands-on support for multiple performances throughout the ceremony.

 

International Press Conferences

Managing audio for Red Sox press conferences can be a challenge, with myriad audio feeds taking place simultaneously. BL&S works on-site to ensure equipment is working smoothly. When Daisuke Matsuzaka signed on with the team, for example, BL&S was on hand to ensure that the 40+ live feeds were distributed to media outlets around the world.


 

James Taylor and family rehearsing - 2013

James Taylor and family rehearsing - 2013

 

Christmas at Fenway - 2013

Christmas at Fenway - 2013

 

Yoga at Fenway - 2013

Yoga at Fenway - 2013

 

Frozen Fenway - 2014

Frozen Fenway - 2014

 

Frozen Fenway sound on boards  - 2014

Frozen Fenway sound on boards - 2014

 

Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearses for Fenway’s 100th Anniversary - 2012

Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsing for Fenway’s 100th Anniversary - 2012

 

Chorus rehearsing at Fenway - 2013

Chorus rehearsing at Fenway - 2013

 

“I never have to worry”

“With BL&S, ballpark audio becomes the easiest part of the game. I never have to worry – they’re the best guys around.”

 

— Su-san Lancoon, Ipswich Associates Project Manager, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park



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