From its 80-acre campus in Cherryville, PA, Bethany Wesleyan Church combines an inspirational, contemporary worship style with a broad mix of community programs including sports, education and family oriented activities.
With a dedicated and rapidly expanding congregation, Bethany Wesleyan recently took the wraps off of a new 1,600-seat sanctuary and multipurpose room, equipped with a custom designed sound system based around the versatile Renkus-Heinz VARIA modular point source line array.
“The church wanted a space that would be versatile enough to accommodate everything from worship services to concerts and even sporting events,” explains Allen “Doc” Nagle of Orwigsburg, PA-based Events Staging. “It’s essentially a gymnasium with a stage at one end and removable seating.”
As any systems designer can attest, multi-purpose rooms often present some of the most challenging audio environments, and Bethany Wesleyan was no exception. The room’s high, open ceilings and concrete and sheetrock walls could have been a potential nightmare. But as Nagle explains, “thanks to good communication with the architect during the planning phase, we were able to take steps to reduce standing waves and reflectivity.”
For the sound system, versatility was key. The system needed to keep the sound tightly focused on the room’s key listening areas, which could change via a variety of room configurations. It also had to accommodate a wide range of program material, from spoken word to different types of musical content.
“VARIA was perfect because it provides the best options for placing sound exactly where you need it in the room, as opposed to spilling it all over the place,” says Nagle. “VARIA’s transitional waveguide allows you to vary the horizontal coverage from the top of the array to the bottom, which was perfect for shaping the coverage pattern off the reflective surfaces.”
The system comprises left and right hangs, each with five VARIA VAX101 series cabinets. Horizontal dispersion varies from 60 degrees at the top of the array, increasing incrementally to 120 degrees at the bottom. A center fill of two VARIA 90 degree cabinets adds a bit of psychoacoustical enhancement.
Eight PNX212-SUB subwoofers are bunkered, four per side, into the face of the stage. An Avid VENUE Profile at the front of house position handles the mix, while four CFX121M wedges provide onstage monitoring.
“The VARIA made all the difference in this installation,” adds Nagle. “It allowed us to easily pinpoint exactly where the sound should be in the room while avoid any unwanted interactions. It sounds amazing.”
An ancillary chapel and cafe incorporate the Renkus-Heinz IC7-II steerable array, with a pair of PNX212 series subwoofers providing a solid bottom end. Ashly Audio NE2424m matrix processors handle speaker management for the entire facility while providing a selection of easily recalled presets for the church’s all volunteer crew.
Visual impact is equally impressive, with three 16,000-lumen projectors firing at three, 20-foot screens positioned left-to-right across the back of the stage.
Finally, multiple HD PTZ and manned cameras and a Pro Tools system capture weekly services for distribution on DVD, with plans already in place to expand into Internet streaming and live broadcast.
With the system up and running, Nagle is pleased that his team was able to strike such an effective balance between usability and performance, while placing the church on a solid foundation for future growth.
“This is a really dynamic and active congregation,” he concludes. “They’re looking to entice national worship tours, as well as setting the stage for broadcast and streaming. The combination of the VARIA and Avid systems ensures them a level of sound quality and technical capability they’ve never had before. I’m confident they’re set for many years to come.”