The Building Property Council in 2014 focused on the planned campaign upgrades to the sanctuary. The council has worked closely with the Music Committee to contract for the major organ components which are currently underway. Work also began last fall on the two other major components slated for improvement, the sound and lighting systems. Both systems date to the origin of the building or soon thereafter and are well past the expected useful life. Only through the dedication of our member’s time and ingenuity have the systems remained in service this long. Both systems now can be replaced with far more efficient and capable equipment to enhance the worship experience.
The determination was made to engage a sound consultant to guide the committee through the steps necessary to implement a new sound system. Today’s digital technology and engineering criteria for a state of the art speech delivery system is complex and coupled with the unique architecture of the sanctuary space requires professional assistance. A broad geographic search was undertaken to identify specialists in the sound and acoustic field. After locating these firms and thoroughly studying their capabilities the committee recommended the firm of Virginia Integrated Communications and Acoustical Design Collaborative, LTD to assist us in endeavor. Both firms have extensive experience including church facilities and complex modeling which will be required for the design of a digital sound system. The Board of Administration after its review approved their proposal on February 15, 2015.
Our goal in this work is to design and implement a state of the art speech amplification system maximizing intelligibility throughout the entire space. Once a contract is signed, we hope to proceed promptly with the anticipated four phases of the work. The initial phase will be investigative steps and measure of the acoustic environment; second, the firm will create a computer model of the sanctuary from which a design of the new system will be developed. Two proposed system designs are to evolve from this phase of the work along with specifications for the cost proposals for new components and installation. Included in the design will be enhancements to consider for audio visual recording/ broadcast as well as hearing assistance devices based on digital technology. The next step in this process will be to evaluate the component proposals and award the installation contract. The consultants fourth phase will be to utilize the model and newly acquired system output to confirm the resulting system performance. The consultant will be engaged throughout the entire process to assure the new sound system clearly meets both specifications and our expectations.
While there is often conflict in creating excellent speech and music environment in a church setting, we are committed to achieving excellence in both for our church. The church worship experience will be enhanced by this upgrade but be assured the integrity of the sanctuary space and the acoustics that make our music outstanding will remain.
Expect further reports as investigative work is undertaken on the lighting upgrade and the 2015 sound system project progresses.