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Worship: A Tailored AV Bid for New Construction, Part 1

Jan 6, 2011 10:43 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

When your church tops out on membership in its present facility, it may be time to build a brand-new one and equip it with the latest audio and video system. Faced with that task Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn., called on Intermedia Systems Group, and Josh Jagdfeld is here to tell us the whole story. Coming up on the SVC podcast.

SVC: Josh, so glad to have you here on the SVC podcast from Intermedia Systems Group in Burnsville, Minn. How long has the Intermedia System Group been in business?
Intermedia Systems Group has been around since late 2007, when we started it here in Burnsville, Minn. [Timestamp: 1:03]

And we’re talking about a project at the Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn.
Yeah, correct.

And where in the development of the project did you get into it? In the planning stage for the new sanctuary or did you get into it somewhere during the construction?
The Hosanna Lutheran Church project was a little bit interesting in that there was a local contractor in Mankato, Minn. that did the design for the church early on in the project, and by the time that the church decided to send out the bid documents to all the other contractors that they wanted to bid on, the project a lot of things had changed, and the project schedule was actually a little bit further on than most contractors would probably be use to. What ended up happening is that the project was supposed to start in the fall of 2009, and it got held up for the winter and didn’t start instead until the spring of 2010 when everything hit after the ground had cleared up little bit. Things were a little bit further along than they probably should have been. So we got into the project pretty late. [Timestamp: 2:07]

Well I guess being held up for the winter is nothing special because probably everything gets held up for the winter up there.
Pretty much. It’s like fighting a war with Russian wrenches—you know? [Timestamp: 2:17]

What kind of a worship style have they got at Hosanna Lutheran?
I would say that Hosanna Lutheran Churches worship style is pretty mixed. A lot of churches today are either going one way or another it seems. There is a big focus on traditional, very liturgical worship with the Lutheran church or a very modified, contemporary worship, and Hosanna actually fits right in the middle. They do a lot of hymns sings, they do full band, so a little bit of it feels like it is one way, but it could also feel like it’s going the other way. Any service might have hymns mixed in with newer worship tunes, so it’s very, very blended, but there is a focus on music. In particular, the church has got a choir, they’ve got a hand bell group, they have the full band. They’ve actually got a couple of bands. A youth band and an adult band, and each one of those music groups has worship services that they run predominantly week in and week out. [Timestamp: 3:21]

And it looks like there’s a lot of activity as far as having a lot of up time for the new sanctuary. How many regular services do they have up there? It seems like they have several.
Yeah, they have at least four worship services a week and they, depending on Wednesday nights and things like that, can have more or less. It just really depends on the week, but they do have events in the sanctuary, especially the new sanctuary, probably at least every other day of the week. And then of course the huge lump of events on Sunday like most churches are used to. [Timestamp: 3:51]

How many people can they get in there? What’s the seating capacity?
The new sanctuary was designed to have built in overflow seating, so there’s a non-effects greeting area in the back that can be considered part of the sanctuary space though it does have the ability to be closed off with some sections of doors. So the main sanctuary itself without that overflow seating space seats about 800, and then the overflow seating space will accommodate maybe another 200-250. [Timestamp: 4:19]

So if it can be closed off, do you have a separate audio and video feed going back there?
Yeah there is. There’s a distributed system that feeds the narthex greeting area, and then there’s the point source boxes in the main sanctuary space that feed the general seating area. [Timestamp: 4:34]

You mentioned a lot of different music performances going on, it seems like that would be the primary challenge from the audio part of it anyway being able to handle the short turn around between all those with the stage monitoring and all of that. So what was the biggest challenge on this? Was it timeline or just the number of different musical performers?
I would say that there was probably two main challenges. Number one was the timeline and especially working with the church from a very educational standpoint to help flush out the bid documents to really fit their specific needs which had changed a little bit over that delayed time period and had evolved a little bit just over the growth of membership and what their music ministry is doing. So the first challenge was really trying to make what was a little bit of a vanilla bid situation into something that was really well tailored for the facility and all of the musical groups that were there in particular. Additionally then, the second challenge I would say was making sure that all of those musical groups and all of the pastors and the people who were going to be using this space day in and day out really had all the tools that they needed from not just an audio standpoint but from a video, projection, and recording standpoint to make sure that not really any one ministry was left out even though music is clearly important to the church. [Timestamp: 5:56]

And you went with an EtherSound network on this. Is there a particular reason you went that way with it or was that just the thing to do with the equipment you installed?
We did decide EtherSound on the project. In the original bid documents an analog snake, an analog mixing console, was specified, but as we were meeting with the church and really doing some of that up-front programming to frame a little bit of the design that wasn’t so clear, some of the things that they said really stuck out to us. They wanted to make an investment into the future. They wanted to be using technology that was going to be relevant in a couple of years that would be of high quality and that would be very flexible. And as a Yamaha commercial audio dealer, we’ve had a lot of experience with the LS9 and the M7CL consoles in particular for a lot of the houses of worship that we work with, and so the ease of pulling a single or two Cat-5e cables from the front to the back of the space was just so much easier than pulling all of those individual lines of copper&emdashespecially became useful when we found that during the installation, one of the conduits from the front of the room to the back of the room accidentally got filled with concrete. So if we would have been pulling individual copper lines, we would not have had all the conduit that we needed. [Timestamp: 7:17]

Funny how things like that happen.

Conduits end up where they weren’t supposed to be. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any being filled with concrete before, but I’ve been on the receiving end of surprises on the location of the conduits and ground connection surprises and so on. So on the speaker side of this thing you went with the EAW AX396 and the AX366, why did you make that choice?
We did. One of the things that we really like about the EAW AX in theory is that they are coaxial horn-loaded speakers, so the pattern control is really exceptional. Now the room itself is not overly reverberant. It’s large, but it’s not a situation where maybe like a large traditional Catholic church or large stone facilities where you have to really focus on reverberation time and really be specific about your pattern control. This was a little bit of a mixed situation. We obviously didn’t want to send a lot of acoustic energy at the side walls of this space. So with those AX366s, one on the left and the right side covering the sides of the sanctuary, we were able to get a nice tight coverage pattern for the side seating areas, while the 396 filled the center two seating areas without really having to excite the room too much. [Timestamp: 8:35]

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