The planning and construction of Northwood Baptist Church’s new worship center in North Charleston, South Carolina, took nearly four years – and the church couldn’t be happier.
“It took a little longer than we had originally hoped, but the patience paid off,” admits worship pastor Michael Bell. “But by taking the time to get it right, we got way more than we ever thought we could have. Our new Allen & Heath iLive-T console is a perfect example.”
Design-build integrator Signature Sight and Sound handled the audio, video and lighting for the new facility.
“When the T Series was announced,” recalls Mark Gladden, president and chief systems designer for Signature, “it had everything we had hoped for. It’s got that Allen & Heath sound quality, with great EQ and mic preamps, plus virtually all the capabilities and ease of use of the full iLive, but at a very comfortable price point. We approached the church and said, ‘this is what you wanted,’ and they agreed. After that, it was just a matter of timing.” In fact, the timing was so good that Northwood Baptist received the very first iLive-T in the U.S., with serial number 3 engraved on the back panel.
The new worship center, which seats 1,000, is a large square with a theater-style stage set in the back corner and seating arranged on the diagonal. Live video is projected on three large screens, while the primary sound system is a left-center-right system featuring three clusters of EAW AX Series loudspeakers.
Stage monitoring is a combination of truss-mounted speakers and floor wedges for the vocalists, with an Aviom in-ear system for the contemporary worship band.
The MixRack for the iLive-T112 resides offstage, handling 48 mic inputs from the stage and a dozen wireless systems. Auxiliary inputs for CD, DVD and computer audio are handled at the iLive-T control surface, FOH position. System outputs include three for the main PA clusters, 16 channels for the Aviom hub, four monitor mixes, plus a separate stereo output for video.
“We knew we had a huge learning curve with all the lights and video and everything else as well. But surprisingly, the console was probably the easiest transition for us,” notes Michael Bell. Training was provided by Sterling Coleman, partner and director of installation for Signature.
“Sterling’s an amazing guy,” says Bell. “Here we had a brand new console, the first one ever, and he seemed to know it like the back of his hand. I can’t say enough about all the things he did to make this project a success, everything from training to troubleshooting, audio, video and electrical. He’s so much more than an installation guy.”
Northwood offers both traditional and contemporary services requiring very different setups, something the iLive-T handles with ease.
“For our traditional service, our engineer is a school principal who had very limited audio background. She was so nervous about the new console, she was thinking about quitting,” relates Bell. “So we brought her in, taught her how to power the system, how to pull up the right scenes and presets, and what to do in an emergency, like if a wireless goes down, and she was ready. It took about two hours – amazing!”
For the contemporary service, head sound engineer David Geddings and his team have a more formidable task. With a full drum kit, four guitars, three keyboards and 6 to 8 vocalists, plus brass, woodwinds and strings, there can be up to 20 people on stage – not counting the choir. But with the iLive-T, the team handles it with similar ease. In fact, with its exceptional sound and virtually unlimited on-board DSP effects, Northwood Baptist Church now has a system capable of handling the needs of touring artists.
“In September, we’ll be hosting the group Rush of Fools,” notes Bell. The concert promoter looked at our new system and told us it would be perfect for them. We won’t have to rent any gear, and the band won’t have to bring anything but their guitars and amps. It was an awesome feeling to hear that.”