Musician and rigger Scott Sloan, also known as “The Gong Guy,” plays a unique role in the Winter Solstice. His part is to ride about 70 feet into the air, strapped in a bosun’s chair, beating on the world’s largest tam as it rises, spotlit like the symbolic sun after the dark night of solstice. As an instrument, 8 feet in diameter, the gong poses its own particular set of challenges, swinging with each strike of the mallet. The venue for the show, the world’s largest cathedral, New York’s St. John the Divine, has a seven-second reverberation, meaning Sloan has to adapt his percussive part to the time lapse with musicians on the stage almost half a football field length away. In addition to suspending the gong for the show, riggers hoist the massive lighting truss, set up the 25 foot tall music tree, and float an inflatable “earth ball” 125 feet up into the cosmic vastness of the massive vault above the audience.