In my mid-twenties, my wife and I attended a Baptist church in a small town near where we still live today. This church was almost one hundred years old at that time and had dwindled down to an elderly congregation of around one hundred and fifty or so. The denomination had installed a young Pastor and many of the long time parishioners didn’t really like him. Oddly though, this church also became a refuge for a small band of Christian musicians and since I mixed for some of these bands, my wife and I became a part as well. One summer, we decided to start a Sunday night service called “Nite Life” for our generation. It would be for people who didn’t like church and for those of us who wanted to do modern music in church. We even advertised on local rock stations. The first night was packed with a younger crowd, many of whom were smoking on the front steps before they came in. We had hit our target and we were all pretty excited. Down on the front row walked Myron Lilly.
At most churches each musician brings their instrument of choice and the sound person is expected to mix and equalize all and any instruments into a glorious blend of celestial music. It is a true fact that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. In a later article I will address the need for the Music Pastor/Worship Leader to set and keep a standard for musical instruments that are onstage. As your congregation grows it is likely you will want the church to own the majority of key instruments you use on a regular basis such as drums and keyboards.
Like the sound system itself, room acoustics become a big concern when the first service comes around. Most “good” rooms are designed that way from the beginning. A room can be “fixed” to a certain extent, after the fact, with acoustic paneling, bass traps, and decorative wall treatments. Knowing how much treatment is enough for your room usually requires you to hire a qualified acoustical consultant to help you with type and placement. The room acoustics absolutely affect the ability to have good sound in a room. Remember you can’t “E.Q.” the room unless you physically change the room acoustics. Carpet, fabric covered chairs, and of course, people, can also dramatically change the way the room and the system will sound.