Founded in Tacoma, Washington in 1985 by Dr. Gordon Klatt, Relay For Life is an ongoing community-based global fundraising movement in support of the American Cancer Society. With local fundraising events in thousands of communities and around the world, Relay For Life has raised approximately seven billion dollars globally since 1985 to fund cancer treatment research and provide patients with essential services. Located in Los Angeles County, the Santa Clarita Valley community has hosted a Relay For Life annually since 1999. In addition to a main 12-hour relay, the Relay For Life of Santa Clarita Valley featured musical performances by local bands, solo artists and school choirs. In order to provide powerful, balanced audio quality for the thousands of attendees in an outdoor venue, event organizers needed a robust sound reinforcement system.
HARMAN Professional Solutions’ very own Everett Watts—a senior product specialist with JBL, AKG and Soundcraft—has volunteered to provide the sound system at the Relay For Life of Santa Clarita Valley since 2001. For this year’s edition, Watts was given permission to take brand new JBL SRX900 Series line arrays out for their first public deployment.
Based on JBL’s flagship VTX line, the SRX900 Series’ custom transducers, innovative horn and waveguide designs helped Everett and his team deliver top-notch sound quality and powerful coverage at the event typically associated with larger and more expensive three-way systems. The SRX900 Series’ built-in LevelMax technology, RMS limiting and long-term thermal protection helped keep transducer temperatures under control, ensuring reliable operation even under the hot summer sun at the outdoor event.
With the help of ACS team members, volunteers, and Everett’s JBL staff, the 2022 Relay For Life Santa Clarita Valley event raised approximately $175,000 to fund the mission of the American Cancer Society.
“I’ve been involved with various Relay For Life events for ten years, first as a volunteer and now as a staff partner,” said Abby Smith, Development Manager, American Cancer Society. “Relay For Life is a global movement. It’s more than just one day. We’re fighting cancer twelve months a year and it is really incredible to see communities and people of all walks of life come together for one common goal – to end cancer as we know it. Over the lifetime of the Santa Clarita Valley event—24 years since 1999—we’ve raised over $8 million in Santa Clarita alone to support the American Cancer Society and the global leader in the fight against cancer.”
“Everett Watts and his team of volunteers that come out every year are amazing,” continued Smith. “Everett’s a pro. He’s been doing this for so many years. He’s so passionate about fighting cancer. He handles everything from the pre-work of getting the system together and getting it to the site—he’s a first-class guy. He’s made everything easy and seamless, so we can really focus on the fundraising part of the event. We don’t have to worry about the audio. There was no shortage of sound reaching every corner of the event. There were a couple of times we actually had to turn it down, because it was almost too loud. It’s a luxury when the biggest audio problem is we need to turn it down. Everett’s an awesome team member and we’re so happy to have him at this event.”
“Ever since I started volunteering for the Relay For Life of Santa Clarita Valley 21 years ago, HARMAN has always allowed me to use any gear I wanted, as long as I didn’t take out the newest products,” said Watts. “I’ve used VRX rigs the past few times, but this year was special because it was the first time HARMAN asked me to test out a brand new product during the event. I had the pleasure of debuting the JBL SRX900 line arrays at this year’s event. With just twelve SRX906 full-range boxes (six per side) and four SRX918 subwoofers, we were able to deliver plenty of volume and coverage—it sounded awesome.”
“The SRX900 Series is completely weather resistant,” said Watts. “There’s a cover that goes on the back of the amp to protect it from rain, and weather-resistant power connectors to protect the AC input. You literally don’t have to pull them down if it starts raining. I was also nervous because the event was in the middle of summer and the speakers were going to be in the sun all day with no shade. I’m happy to report there were no hiccups at all. They worked perfectly and never went into standby, even though we were cranking 108 dB at front-of-house.”