A Production Team Moves to Digital
SFJAZZ Logo

A Production Team Moves to Digital

 Amy Heiden

Having a vibrant, seamless reopening of the SFJAZZ Center will only be possible with an investment today in our talented and committed staff members, like Amy.

Please consider a donation to the SFJAZZ Community Campaign today.

Donate

Amy Heiden
SFJAZZ Technical director

Renowned for its intimate space and superlative acoustics, the SFJAZZ Center was designed specifically so audiences could experience the music close up, and in a wide variety of configurations required by the breadth of artistry SFJAZZ presents. “It’s almost like being the other player at every show,” is how longtime Leaders Circle Member John Gordon describes it.

Each night, 700-plus audience members attend the Center to be encapsulated in awe by the performance on stage. Behind all this is a highly trained team working behind-the-scenes to make each concert flow seamlessly. Multiply that by 557 (the number of events the SFJAZZ production department produced last year), and you start to understand the amount of planning, hustle, and care that goes into a typical season at SFJAZZ.

It’s up to Technical Director Amy Heiden to coordinate with the Production Department’s 16 full-time staff and 45 experienced on-call technicians for each and every act scheduled in Miner Auditorium, Joe Henderson Lab, or the outside venues that SFJAZZ utilizes.

Together, they literally set the stage to each artists’ exact specifications, delivering audiences a seamless evening of entertainment and expression.

Amy Heiden at SFJAZZ

The production staff includes roles such as the lighting designer, audio engineer, stage manager and artist assistant, who handles the sometimes very specific requests for artists backstage.

“Basically, we handle all the nuts and bolts from start to finish for the production of the show, starting 4-6 weeks out and going until the artists are dropped off at the airport and fly back home,” says Amy.

How does one become a technical director for SFJAZZ you might wonder?

In Amy’s case, she always wanted to be a singer when she was young, but in college got curious about the work that went on behind the scenes. On a whim, she started taking electives in audio and sound production, and she’s been in the live performance and events industry ever since.

Four years ago, Amy came to us from The Exploratorium where she handled logistics for up to 3,500 people for clients like Twitter, Oculus, and the Super Bowl Host Committee. Prior to that she was producing events with six-figure budgets for clients like Neiman Marcus, the Oakland Raiders, and the San Francisco Marathon.

For Amy, nothing is more satisfying about her job at SFJAZZ than taking it all in on the night of the concert – especially her all-time favorite: the four-night stand by Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Lucinda Williams in 2017.

“That,” she adds, “and all the people at SFJAZZ – from the marketing team to the education team and the development team – and the artists, as well, it’s really satisfying having that kind of ‘work family’ there,” she says.

At a time when many organizations are forced to furlough staff, Amy reports that the production team has pivoted their roles in order to keep the team intact through this crisis. They quickly trained in new skills in audio and video editing; all done under the challenging work-from-home restrictions.

Currently, the team is perfecting and preserving audio and video recordings of past SFJAZZ events like the ones featured on the new Fridays at Five online series for members. Some have also pivoted into other departments helping to boost marketing and fundraising.

But live events are in Amy’s blood, and she can’t wait to get back in the building.

“It is truly a family vibe here, and much of the SFJAZZ production team has been around since the building opened,” she says. “We need to keep our production staff here at SFJAZZ because they know SFJAZZ better than anyone else. So, thank you for supporting SFJAZZ. My team and I are looking forward to being in the hall with you again soon.”

Having a vibrant, seamless reopening of the SFJAZZ Center will only be possible with an investment today in our talented and committed staff members, like Amy.

Please consider a donation to the SFJAZZ Community Campaign today.

Donate