Stage Designs

Throwback: It’s Raining. Really!

Patrick Gourley from Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, California made in rain during their worship services. Really. Rain. (Originally posted July 2013)

For their Good Friday services they wanted to juxtapose the idea of desert and dryness with water and life. So they first made a background out of crushed aluminum screening stretched onto frames. The upper center panels were on a counterweight system and raised to reveal a cross during the climax of the service.

Then they installed two rain pipes – one upstage and one downstage of the band. That left the band in the middle of the rain nice and dry. The pipes were made out of ABS with holes drilled every few inches. They hung them with turn buckles to make sure the pipe was level the entire length for consistent flow. Regulators were installed to control intensity of the rain throughout the service. The rain fell into troughs on the floor that were lined with black plastic sheeting. The troughs were built on a slope so water would pool at one end were pumps were located to pump the water outside to a drain. They also filled the troughs with left over screen material which cut down the noise and limited water from splashing out.

They were not able to make it a closed system where the pump would circulate the water due to the height and the pressure that was required to get it to the pipes in the ceiling.

They also took great care and caution with all of the power that was required for band and lighting.





Advent in Boxes Bubble Back

10 responses to “Throwback: It’s Raining. Really!”

  1. Matt Groves says:

    Nice! Love the effect!

  2. Nate says:

    Wow! That is an impressive undertaking. Are there drawings of the system?

    • Patrick Gourley says:

      Hi Nate,
      Unfortunately we don’t having drawings of the system, we had some concept ideas but it took a couple trips to hardware store to get it all figured out. We built a mock 8′ section in our back lot and used one of our lifts to test and figure out the right spacing of holes and flow. Once installed we found the most important part was to make sure the pipe was level the entire distance. That provided the even flow across the width of the stage.

  3. Patrick Gourley says:

    Hi Jake,

    It wasn’t noisy, we lined our troughs with left over screen scraps, that helped keep down the noise and the splashing. We ended pulling some of the screen out during rehearsals to actually make it louder since the service was about water, the noise added a nice effect.

  4. Gary Aanerud says:

    I’ve tried the crushed aluminum screen before with no success. Can you tell me how you made it work? I’m assuming it’s just your standard screen door screen from a Home Depot. thanks!

    • Patrick Gourley says:

      Hi Gary,

      Yes the screen can be picked up at Home Depot. I actually order from them online to get 4′ wide sections by 200′ it comes on a roll. You want to make sure to use aluminum screen. Aluminum will keep the texture, then all you have to do is crumble it up to your desired texture and pull back out to attach to your frames. The fiberglass or synthetic screens will not hold shape. Hope that helps.

  5. JR says:

    Cool idea. Can you tell us what the diameter and spacing of the holes needed? Also, what size of ABS pipe and did you just use a garden hose to put water in the pipe or did you use something else? To make a closed system, potentially you might be able to run it out the door and into a barrel and then put in a heavy-duty submersible sump pump – they are available with lifts to at least 40 ft (depends in part on your budget).

  6. Steve says:

    What kind of water pumps were you using?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
24 − 22 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.