Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trees with Panels

These huge 45 foot high Christmas trees now stand fully assembled and green in the First Baptist Church of Orlando. You might notice that only one panel is missing. This is because it was wired upside down but that will be an easy fix. The two 15 tiered trees were designed by Walt Keller back in 1980. Each will hold 150 Choir members who function as living singing ornaments. Both trees will have to support about 50 thousand pounds of weight when all the singers are lined up inside.
Bill Keller explained that each choir member has initials written on their legs and a yes or no. This leg marking is put in place for the tree rats who are in charge of arranging small wooden boxes which are used to keep all the choir members about 6 feet in height as seen from the audience. The yes or no is an indication as to whether the choir member would like to have their legs massaged since they must stand in one spot for so long. If the choir member snaps his or her fingers a tree rat will climb through the maze of beams and assist them by rubbing their legs. If someone is ticklish then they certainly will have "no" written on their legs. The last thing anyone would want is to have a choir member screaming out in surprise when a tree rat brushes up against their leg.
When the choir isn't the center of attention, it is also possible for a choir member to quietly sit down to take a rest and have a sip of water. The heat generated by all the Christmas lights can be oppressive. It was estimated that there were 111 miles of Christmas tree light wiring attached to the panels. If someone feels faint and has to leave then the choir members surrounding the spot spread out a bit and the audience never notices the difference.

2 comments:

Brian Feldman said...

This post makes me actually want to see this thing.

Joseph Hayes said...

I went to a Christmas choir once at Mystic Seaport. There was about 50 choir members of all ages, staggered very haphazardly in four rows on benches and tables for this 60 minute concert. Added to the regular stage lights were big banks of TV lights, and the heat was oppressive, even in December in Connecticut, and as the evening wore on I could see several singers at the back row starting to fade, and sure enough, one of the kids at the back swayed, swooned and finally passed out, stage-diving off the high board and taking out everyone in front of him. All captured on television.