Professional Lighting & Production - Summer 2017 - Page 34

IN FOCUS Al Paquette By Megan Beam T he crack of a snare drum first striking the air in sync with a loud, open guitar chord. Brilliant arrays of colour washing the stage and swirling over the elated audience. It’s these types of moments that lighting designer Al Paquette most fondly remembers from his youth, and that ultimately sparked his passion for music and live production. That passion developed through his time in high school, playing with a variety of bands over the years. After his stint at Queen’s University in his hometown of Kingston, ON with a major in English and art history, Paquette found himself still wanting to pursue music. It wasn’t until his 30 th birthday, though, that the opportunity to work with lighting for a production company in Kingston fell into his lap. “I started doing lighting because that’s why I always enjoyed going to concerts growing up,” Paquette recalls. “I like to think that I just changed my instrument from guitar to lights. That’s sort of how I look at it.” It didn’t take him long to earn a reputation in a close-knit industry, as his next call came from well-known Pickering, ON firm Apex Sound and Light. “They were after a lighting guy, so I moved to Toronto and started working with them,” says Paquette. “When you’re working raves and programming from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. in some cases, it gives you a lot of time to learn the craft. That’s really how I got my start.” Soon after, he began working with Canadian alt-rockers Headstones – with whom he continues to collaborate to this day. Never wavering from his goal of finding the next opportunity to get behind a console, Paquette took part in a number of Canadian Idol tours before his journey eventually took him to the United States for a stint with the violin theatre show Bowfire. It was while travelling through the U.S. with the Idol crew that he met Blue Rodeo’s touring camp and was later tapped to tour with the band, with whom he’s been working for nearly seven years. Paquette says his favourite aspect of his work is knowing he’s part of enhancing and delivering those same exciting experiences he had growing up for audiences around the world. Then there are the lifelong friends he’s made working with acts like Blue Rodeo, Saga, and former Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson and their respective crews. Paquette is very much looking forward to what’s on the horizon for 2017, which he’s calling his “best year on the job so far.” He’ll he heading over to Europe for some major shows at some of the biggest and most iconic venues he’s ever played. “I’m just getting prepared to do two shows at Royal Albert Hall in London, which is kind of freaky, but it’s really cool. The calendar is filled for the rest of the year, which is nice. Working freelance, you’re always concerned with where your next gig is going to come from, and so I can look at my calendar now and know I &[H[܈\YX\'B[]8&\X[HH[YۚYX[ۙ[[[HHX\¸$]YX[H[X\[؜ZH[ܙ\\[\[ܝ\[\\Y\']8&\HXH\X]\8'HH^\]HXK'ܚ[]HوY\[\\]8&\Z[H\H[BYYH[[HYYH\H[\^Z[\[]][ HY\]8&\\H\XوY\[[و[\Y[\B[Z[]Z[XH[[x&\HYYY 'BۈH\[ HXX[[\YۈYHو\ܚ˜Y\]H]\[H[K8'X[K]8&\\X[H]H؝[\›YHH[YH]\܈X]\\\܈\x&[Hܚ[ۋ8'HHYZ]˂]]]HZ\\H[YHH\\H^\\]Y]H\˜H]XHؘY\]Y\[H\K8'H[^HZ]\[XX[KHݙH[ˈH[Hو[YH[] ۈ\[H][\HHوH\[Hܛ[HZB[[YHوHYX\XYH]YK'BۙHوH[\ܝ[[]\]Y]HY\\HZ[[Z\[[H[\HY\[Z[\[^\˜Hܚ[Yˈ]\۸&]X]\]]\8$ۘ\ ۝[[ۋܜܘ]H][8$Y\\K][[ۋ[ܛ[\]ܚ˂'[\HHH\ۋ8'HHYˈ8'؛H[H]ۈ\^H[[^H] ][\˸'BHZ[[^][ۘ\HH[[[[HYHHH\[H܋\]Y]x&\\Y\\Z[BZ[؈Y\؈Y\؈[Y\[H]]H]˂'\H\H[Y\H[YX]HY][Z[[[]\۸&][XY[]\K8'HHYZ]8']HX]][ [وHY[]YH^ܝ[]K]8&\[وx&]BY[XH\ܝ\ݙ\HYX\˸'BYY[X[H\HY[[Hܚ]\[ܛY\Y]ܚX[\\[]ٙ\[ۘ[Y[ X[ۋ8(ёTSӐSQS PS