The Debut Of CSU: A New Training Program Providing The Essentials Of Worship Audio

Training curriculum specifically tailored to assist tech teams attain consistent sonic quality at every worship service and event.
Instructor James Stoffo leading an RF/wireless class at the inaugural Church Sound University in Reston, VA.

The first-ever edition of Church Sound University (CSU), held at Heritage Fellowship Church in Reston, VA in mid-October, attracted more than 150 sound techs for a new, innovative program focused on the essentials of worship audio reinforcement.

The sold-out event, created especially for the church sound market by the team at ProSoundWeb, Church Sound magazine and Live Sound International, was led by faculty who are long-time audio practitioners (most of them extensively experienced with worship audio) in addition to serving as educators. Their training curriculum is specifically tailored to address the key essentials for tech teams to attain consistent sonic quality at every worship service and event.

Subjects addressed in the “101” level training include Audio & Sound Principles, Stagecraft, Microphones & Loudspeakers, Mixing & Streaming, and RF/Wireless Systems Best Practices.

These subjects are presented in dedicated learning sessions as well as hands-on breakout sessions to provide more individualized group training – ensuring that attendees depart with far more knowledge than when they started. A companion workbook allows attendees to keep their new knowledge close at hand during their next worship services. CSU lead instructors include:

— Mike Sokol, long known for his dynamic, effective worship tech education, most notably as the instructor of the HOW-TO seminars held at hundreds of churches throughout the U.S.

— Samantha Potter, an active worship tech educator noted for a highly relevant and practical curriculum, and who also serves as a sound design consultant and IT media supervisor for the houses of worship market.

— James Stoffo, who’s not only worked as the RF/wireless coordinator for some of the largest events in the world, is also passionate about educating audio techs on wireless system best practices.

CSU instructors Samantha Potter, James Stoffo and Mike Sokol.

“Having a chance to help teams out with very specific problems and getting to start a dialogue with my fellow audio people proved incredibly rewarding,” Potter notes. “Shaking hands and looking people in the eye when you talk to them can communicate so much. It was an absolute blast.”

“James Stoffo did an amazing job, as always,” she continues. “He’s such a pleasure to work with and adds a ‘certain zest’ that really benefits the educational process.”

“What a great bunch of attendees!” Sokol adds. “I fielded non-stop questions all day long from the crowd about many aspects of running live sound for worship services. We’re going to take what we learned from this first program and ‘amp it up’ even more for 2020.” (Speaking of next year, six CSU events around the U.S. have been announced – see below for dates and locations.)

Allen & Heath, dBTechnologies and Sennheiser served as the primary sponsors for the event, providing gear utilized in all sessions. Allen & Heath also supplied seven SQ Series digital mixers for attendees to work with during the Mixing & Streaming sessions headed by Potter.

For more information about the program and schedule, be sure to visit regularly.

CSU 2020 Schedule
Feb 22: Orange County
April 25: Dallas
May 16: Kansas City
July 18: Charlotte NC
Sept 12: Crown Point IN
Oct 10: Philadelphia

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The specific host church at each location to be announced well in advance of the event. Again, check PSW and regularly for more.