Smart Lighting Enhances Concert Hall Experience For All

The Massachusetts Cultural Council, in conjunction with Mass Development, recently awarded Groton Hill Music a $152,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Grant for improvements to the lighting array in the Concert Hall. The grant required us to raise matching funds, so we put the challenge out to our donors. Our community responded generously and we were able to move forward and complete this massive project — the purchase and installation of a highly advanced, intelligent lighting system in the 1,000-seat Concert Hall as well as the trusses and motors to support those systems.

“The architect and the design team for Groton Hill delivered to us an exceptionally elegant building and beautiful spaces — it’s absolutely gorgeous,” says Groton Hill CEO Lisa Fiorentino. “The lighting in our facility was designed to augment that beautiful environment. In the eight years it took to build this facility, though, technical standards for the touring industry and for the types of artists that we are presenting have been updated. Making improvements to what was initially specified for the building was required to bring us to the production aesthetic that artists are looking to create,” she explains.

Lighting in a performance venue impacts the operations staff and our budget along with the artist and audience experience. “We were dealing with additional staff time and rental equipment to adjust the lighting in the Concert Hall for each show,” says Matt Malikowski, Groton Hill’s Director of Operations. “The new intelligent lighting system — created by Ayrton Digital Lighting of France, a leading developer of intelligent LED lighting solutions for the entertainment industry — has significantly improved the overall experience in the Concert Hall and decreased our annual operational costs by allowing for much quicker and safer alterations to the stage lighting and customizing it for each performance.”

Matt explains: “These new lighting fixtures give us the ability to be agile and change up the lighting from a concert with an artist like Nickel Creek to an educational concert, theatrical show, or a classical performance with the press of a button. Many touring artists that we’re now presenting require lighting with a big footprint, using motion features and colors that the new fixtures provide. Plus, we don’t have to send technicians up a ladder or on a truss to manually move lights, which is a costly task with inherent safety risks.”

“We present all types of performances at Groton Hill,” adds Matt, “so this really allows us to do some different things on the stage that will enhance the concert experience for the patrons, the technicians, and the performers.” For example, our Vista Philharmonic Orchestra musicians are thrilled with the upgrade, as it has created a better performance environment on stage. We can offer additional design capabilities for the technicians who work in this space. And, we now have the capability to give our Music School students professional theatrical lighting for programs like our summer musical.

“Groton Hill is grateful to the Massachusetts Cultural Council for including us in this cohort of the Cultural Facilities Fund Grant program,” says Lisa. “With this upgrade we can further elevate the exceptional experience that we provide at Groton Hill.

Funding for our smart lighting system has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council.

Learn more about performances in the Concert Hall at Groton Hill

ABOVE: Groton Hill’s architectural lighting (foreground) and new intelligent lighting (background)
BELOW: Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter on stage at Groton Hill Music Center, February 2024