Let There Be Light

Concert Lighting: Goodbye Halogen, Hello LED

Great lighting of the Organ Pavilion has enhanced the online organ concerts during the past year, thanks to volunteer energy and creativity. Now, by switching to LED bulbs in the Society’s concert fixtures, they’ll be able to light up the facade of the Organ Pavilion with eight times less electricity, too.

When lighting designer Len Filomeo and Spreckels Organ curator Dale Sorenson realized that the Society’s supply of spare halogen bulbs was depleted, they discovered that they could easily replace the halogen bulbs with cooler, more efficient LED bulbs that consume an eighth of the power that halogens do.

Traditionally, performance spaces have used incandescent halogen lighting, but the hot halogen lights were a big draw on the Pavilion’s limited supply of onstage electricity. Occasionally this limitation has ruled out the onstage use of other innovative production elements.

Knowing that LED bulbs last longer and are significantly better for the environment, Len and Dale decided it was time to take the Organ Pavilion’s lighting in a more eco-friendly direction. “This simple change will achieve significant energy savings for a minimal investment,” Len says.

Along with electricity savings, the reduced heat of the new LED bulbs will make it safer to move them soon after a concert or video session. The reduced heat also means longer life for the colored gels that are placed directly in front of the lights to achieve color effects.

Spreckels Organ Society volunteer lighting designer Len Filomeo adjusts lighting instruments on stage at the Organ Pavilion. Photo: Robert Lang.

LED lights will allow the lighting team to create better colors to enhance the visual aspect of organ concerts. When it comes time to design the lighting for live performances once again, Filomeo welcomes the input of performers and concert photographers since their photos will live on long after the concert has ended.

“The lighting is nice, but it’s the music that matters,” said Filomeo. “I enjoy being a small part of the creative process. I like that I can do something that makes the Organ Pavilion more welcoming and a little more entertaining.”

The use of LED bulbs for stage lighting follows the conversion of the Pavilion’s distinctive Tivoli lights to LED bulbs during 2015. San Diego Gas & Electric replaced many of the lights around Balboa Park with color-customizable LEDs as part of the Exposition Centennial.

Thanks to Georgia Burgé for reporting and writing this story.

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