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Granger Community Church Hears Candlelight Services with Meyer Sound
Located in Granger, Indiana, only blocks from the Michigan state line, the fast-growing Granger Community Church recently opened an expanded auditorium space expecting to host over 10,000 people for Christmas services. The church celebrates Christmas each year with a special candlelight service. An original multimedia worship program incorporating music, drama and interactive video vignettes, titled Letters at Christmas, is presented six times, taking full advantage of the facility's 100-foot stage, three large video screens, and a concert-quality audio system from Meyer Sound.
The Letters at Christmas program combines traditional holiday hymns with contemporary music, while the dramatic and video presentations relate the church's spiritual message to relevant contemporary themes. Butch Whitmire, Granger's Executive Director of Creative Arts explains: "Our goal is to create a special spiritual moment for people to take home with them for Christmas, something they can relate to their lives. So we program around that."
The church reached out to Clark ProMedia (CPM) of Alpharetta, Georgia, for help designing a sound system to enable those special moments. CPM specializes in creating high-impact performance environments for contemporary worship centers. Clark ProMedia founder and head of engineering George Clark knew that the challenge with the Granger facility was its layout: while the room approximates a rectangular footprint, the stage area is centered on the long wall, creating a space that is far wider (roughly 200 feet) than it is deep (80 feet). The need for wide dispersion from the loudspeakers and the desire to maintain maximum sightlines to the video system were both key design parameters.
"'Line array' is the buzzword today, and we install a lot of them," says Clark, "but with this layout, it just wasn't appropriate. This is one of those situations where a horizontal array just works better."
Using Meyer Sound's MAPP Online Pro multipurpose acoustical prediction program, Clark designed a loudspeaker system based on three hanging clusters. "We used MAPP Online Pro to ensure good sightlines," Clark notes. "When it comes to Meyer Sound applications, MAPP is essential." Each cluster consists of three MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers and two DS-4P horn-loaded mid-bass loudspeakers, augmented by two DF-4 dedicated downfill loudspeakers.
To create stereo imaging across the soundfield, the right channel signal is routed to the center speakers, while the left channel is routed to both the left and right clusters, creating a stereo soundfield throughout the main seating area. "It's a pseudo-stereo design," says Clark. "The way we've done it is to kind of split the room in half. It's not traditional, but it's a very effective yet cost-efficient way to get stereo imaging to everybody in the room."
Because the seating area ranges across a full 180 degrees, a pair of additional small clusters was added to provide coverage at the extreme corners of the room. These each consist of a CQ-1 wide-coverage main loudspeaker and a UPA-2P compact narrow coverage loudspeaker, hung at the far sides of the stage. On the ground, four 650-P high-power subwoofers are located at each end of the stage to provide a big low frequency presence. The final touch was the addition of several CQ-1 cabinets about 30 feet from the back walls as delay loudspeakers to ensure intelligibility.
Clark feels strongly that the contemporary church market represents a different challenge than traditional worship facilities. "(Contemporary churches) want great intelligibility and they also want to be able to do high-impact rock music, so the reverb time is shorter in those rooms – from one to 1.2 seconds depending on the volume of the room. Our philosophy for more contemporary churches is to take these big rooms and design them so that they feel and sound more intimate, almost like a living room environment."
Whitmire feels this approach succeeds. "In a church, the most important thing is for people to hear the message," he notes. "So when we expanded, having excellent sound was our first priority." Whitmire expects the church's new audio installation to lend high impact to the worship team's Letters at Christmas presentations. "We perform a very diverse range of music and this Meyer Sound system now allows us to create concert-quality sound. There's a richness that we have not had in the past, and we're getting low end that has people going, 'Wow, what is this?!' I feel like we now have one of the best sound systems of any venue in our area."