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A Night to Remember

Nook Schoenfeld • Editor's NoteFebruary 2020 • February 9, 2020

Nook Schoenfeld at the Parnelli Awards, Jan. 17, 2020

I gotta admit, I had more fun at this year’s Parnelli Awards than ever before. To see so many friends receive awards they will cherish the rest of their career pleases me to no end. Sure, it was great to see my older colleagues get their due as well. Folks like Paulie Becher and Roy Bennett received astonishing amounts of votes for their respective gigs with Paul McCartney and the Lady Gaga’s residency in Las Vegas. Sooner Routhier received a much deserved award for her work with Muse as well.

But the look on the faces of young guns like Tony Caporale, who won for Lighting Director of the Year for the Billie Eilish tour, was great. To see someone you helped mentor as a young person rise to such acclaim was heartwarming to me. Then watching Tim Rozner and Marc St. Louis win their first Parnellis, for Production and Tour Manager of the Year, respectively, puts a great bookend on some long distinguished careers. Tim considers himself honored to be mentioned in the same breath as Patrick Stansfield, who his award is named after. These cats have been renowned in our business since I started out. To be voted these awards by your peers, as well as all the others that look up to your guidance on the road, is quite the honor.

‡‡         Applause from the Artists

Never in the history of the Parnellis have so many musical legends attended the event to give back to those who gave so much to their career. Along with Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam and Brent Smith from Shinedown, who were on hand to dole out awards to Karrie Keyes (Audio Innovator) and Michael T. Strickland (Visionary Award), Garth Brooks came bouncing out from the backstage area with more than a few words to say about his love for the founder of Bandit Lites.

John Waite made for a great host, and legendary drummer Carmen Appice gave out awards in between telling great war stories of the past (such as an early show with Vanilla Fudge, lit with four colored floodlights that he removed from his backyard and brought to the gig).

Many folks attended in order to pay tribute to their friends, and in this category, Mark Spring (who got a video shout-out from Sir Paul) seems to excel. The number of touring veterans that showed up to pay their respects — Charlie Hernandez, Jake Berry and “Opie” (who attended his first Parnelli’s ever) for example, was huge. But then again, a Lifetime Achievement Parnelli is a pretty big deal. There were barely enough tables to sit everyone this year at this sold-out event.

It was nice to see friends like Chip Self, Bob Harmon, Bill Groener and Bob Morrissey among the Hometown Heroes regional winners who made their way to the awards. They are all worthy candidates, and we congratulate ECLPS on the win in the lighting category.

Each year I enjoy watching my friends that own these companies reaching out for votes on social media. This year Morrissey didn’t bother doing that, yet in the end he received the most votes. Strange how life works.

Company-wise, it was nice to see some righteous folks get their due. G2 Structures and Gallagher Staging were recognized for their staging and set-building capabilities, respectively. The Indispensable Technology Award for Lighting, meanwhile, went to Elation’s Artiste Monet which, coincidentally, was this LD’s favorite new tool of 2019.

‡‡         A NextGen Mentor

I was proud to hand out the inaugural NextGen Parnelli to Henry Bordeaux. Henry started his career early in life and is close to a 20-year veteran. Calling him a NextGen may not seem a perfect fit, as he has already made a career out of mentoring those younger than him, but it highlights the point that he is recognized as an undeniable talent in our business and should be a household name. He may already be in the top 20 in his field by now, and we appreciate him making time to come down.

On that note, PLSN is in the hunt for 2020’s Parnelli NextGen candidates. Should you know of a young lighting designer, director or tech, production folks, stage managers, riggers (even audio filth) that are doing a bang-up job and deserve some accolades, reach out to me with a quick email and we will look into featuring them in an upcoming issue. As Butch Allen says, “We’d like to read about some fresh meat.” It’s my job to find these people and report on them.

For Nook’s video intro to the Feb. 2020 issue of PLSN magazine, go to


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