Sponsor Spotlight: The Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric
As a long-time corporate partner and Intimately Yours Series Sponsor, The Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric has not only helped The Music Hall bring the brightest stars to our stage; they’ve also helped our “Old Lady”, the Historic Theater, shine (literally!).
The team at The Lighting Center designed the beautiful crystal chandelier and ten wall sconces that now illuminate the auditorium, as well as the light fixtures that adorn the upper lobby of the Historic Theater. The custom chandelier was made to their specifications by venerated maker Framburg Lighting, and unveiled at our 2013 Crystal Ball. We had been without a chandelier for more than 60 years after the original was sold; until Rockingham Electric stepped in, we’d been making due with a light fixture creatively fashioned from the lid of a trash can and six large bulbs (affectionately dubbed “the trashcandelier”).
From our archives we had an idea of what we wanted. The building, now known as the Historic Theater, was sold at auction in 1945, and the auction brochure (on display in the Upper Lobby) contains the only known image of the original chandelier. This brochure provided the foundation and inspiration for the work of the Lighting Center’s design team.
I was curious to learn more about this part of the Historic Theater’s transformation, and thought you might be too, so I asked a few questions of Jim Pender Jr, President and COO of The Lighting Center and Music Hall board member.
Allison Crosscup: Can you tell us a bit about the process of designing the chandelier? How does creating the lighting for an historic landmark like The Music Hall compare to, say, designing lighting for a dining room or other residential lighting?
Jim Pender: Designing the chandelier was a collaborative process involving discussions with board members. It was important to review historical documents and search for a manufacturer who could produce a product with the necessary high standards. We chose to work with Framburg, an “American Made” manufacturer since 1905. Several versions of the current fixture were considered and after many conversations regarding crystal style and fixture scale/proportion/finish we agreed on what is now in place. There is a feeling of goodwill…thinking about the history of the Music Hall juxtaposed with a manufacturer that has a long history in the United States.
Working with the Music Hall was no different than working with a residential customer…both are collaborative and includes a thorough review of options of style, scale, proportion, finish, and functionality.
AC: I know the chandelier can be raised and lowered and recently learned that while this process was originally done using a hand-cranked winch, it is now motorized. What other secret details might patrons not know about the chandelier?
JP: Each section of crystal on the chandelier has been secured with fishing line for added safety. And, energy efficient LED bulbs were installed in the fixture to reduce maintenance time.
AC: Will you give me some background on The Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric itself: its history, the scope of projects you work on, and the team you have?
JP: In 1969, The Lighting Center, our retail lighting showroom was added to Rockingham Electrical Supply’s Newington location to accommodate the growing homeowner trade. Today, we have an amazing team of lighting experts that includes three qualified lighting designers who specialize in both commercial and residential lighting.
AC: You’ve been a corporate partner of The Music Hall for several years, and a member of the Board of Trustees since 2015. What do you enjoy most about being part of the Music Hall family?
JP: Simply stated, being part of the amazing artistic community on the Seacoast that the Music Hall family has created is top of the list.
AC: This March we will host some major acts as part of the Intimately Yours Series: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Trey Anastasio, Solas, and Chris Botti. Do you have a favorite Intimately Yours performance?
JP: The one that completely caught me off guard the first time I saw him perform at the Music Hall was Chris Botti. I had no idea what an amazing performer he is. Now, I always look forward to adding his show to my calendar.