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Bigbee wins Emmy award for lighting

Bluegrass Underground is now holding up a Emmy in triumph. The series was the recipient of the coveted award from the 27th Annual Mid South Emmy Awards on Jan. 26.
The Emmy was given for excellence in Lighting design and execution for Bluegrass Underground season one. Recipients included the nationally recognized lighting designer Allen Branton, gaffer Han Henze, electrician Wally Bigbee Jr., and the series’ production company, Todd Squared, LLC.
Bigbee, a Warren County native who currently lives in Nashville, refused to take credit for the win.
“I was really surprised when we got the award,” said Bigbee. “My first thought was that it was really generous of Todd Squared to include me, but Allen and Han did the real work. I did support work.”
Bigbee graduated from Warren County High School in 1976, studied electrical engineering at UT Knoxville, and has been in the touring sound industry offering technical support for sound and lighting. His work has taken him to England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, etc.
“I’m a roadie,” said Bigbee. “A lot of people prefer stage technician or touring sound industry. If you travel with a group offering support of some kind, you’re a roadie.”
Bigbee’s relationship with Cumberland Caverns began in high school and continues today.
“I was a tour guide at Cumberland Caverns while in high school. I came back from college and did a summer there, too. Roadies have a habit of adopting a home venue and Cumberland Caverns is mine. When they need something, they call me. I thoroughly enjoy being there.”
The Emmy for Lighting was one of five categories for which Bluegrass Underground held nominations. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) judges also honored the ‘underground’ series with additional Emmy nominations for Best Arts Program, Technical Achievement, Videography and Audio.
“The Bluegrass Underground Emmy recognizes the commitment to quality and excellence that this series strives to achieve,” said Todd Jarrell, one of the executive producers of the series. “We are deeply honored for this recognition and very satisfied to see the work of Allen, Han, Wally and the entire team recognized.”
The series is filmed 333-feet deep inside the Volcano room at Cumberland Caverns.
“Bluegrass Underground is a little bit Bluegrass and a little bit Underground,” says series creator and executive producer Todd Mayor, “literally and metaphorically an effort to shine a light on America’s finest export: It’s musical culture.”
Directed by Nashville’s legendary James Burton Yockey, the Bluegrass Underground series found wide acclaim in its first season and is now airing on PBS in over 200 U.S. markets. Currently midway through season two run, season three will premier nationally on PBS in September 2013.
Underwriters of the television series include the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Nissan of North America, Griffin Technology, French’s Shoes & Boots, and the city of McMinnville.
“Our partners believe in the series, and for their support we are truly grateful,” said Mayo. “Receiving recognition like these awards just adds icing to a very special cake.”
Also attending the ceremony was local resident Sarah Fryar. She was asked to present the Emmys to the winners during the ceremony held by the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

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