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Solomon Awards 2019 – First Baptist Church Muskogee (Design and Installation of AVL System – Major Technology Upgrade [existing building])

  • First Baptist Church Muskogee.
A familiar challenge facing many traditional churches today, is maintaining the heritage of a revered church building while still providing much needed technological updates and upgrades for a modern congregational worship.

This was the very challenge that First Baptist Church Muskogee of Muskogee, Oklahoma was wresting with when they contacted Paragon 360. By the time of the opening service on Sunday, October 7, 2018, over a year of meticulous planning and calculated effort had gone into the renovation of this historic, 1,000 seat (approx.) sanctuary, particularly in the areas of audio, video and lighting which were all needed to deliver clear and effective messages across many platforms.

All of these updates were done while still respecting the significance of the original architecture. The audio system for First Baptist Muskogee was designed to provide amazing sound at every seat in the sanctuary, that would complement both a traditional and contemporary service.

The main audio system consisted of an 8-box hang of WorxAudio XL1 line array modules with two Presonus SL328A for out fill coverage. Sub bass was provided by a single WorxAudio TL218 “Super Sub” positioned directly behind the array. The under-balcony areas of the sanctuary were covered by 14 Vue audiotechnik e-352s, and a single WorxAudio XL1 was flown behind the main array for choir monitoring. The Front of House and Broadcast Audio consoles employed Soundcraft Si Performers connected to a mini stage box located just off the sanctuary platform.

Dante cards were installed for additional capability of transporting audio between the two consoles. In-ear monitoring for the musicians was provided by a Dante-enabled KLANG:Fabrick system, teamed up with Shure PSM300 wireless systems which allowed for seamless personal monitoring during worship, as well as any other musical events held in the sanctuary. The audio system was enhanced by the installation of extensive FabriTRAK acoustical treatments throughout the sanctuary. This helped get control of the room acoustically and greatly enhanced intelligibility.

The lighting system included RGBW houselights from the Chroma-Q Inspire series. The platform area was lit entirely by Chauvet products, including Ovation 910FC LED ellipsoidals, Rogue R2 Wash moving heads, and Maverick MK2 spots. All stage lights were rigged from motorized truss that utilizes an SSRC Pantograph cable management system on position. Paragon also included a power infrastructure using ETC Echo Relay Panels.

The entire system was controlled by a Hog 4 Hoglet and Hog 4 PC setup, as well as Doug Fleenor Design two-button and 10-button wall stations for easy lighting control when the console is not in use. This lighting system allowed the sanctuary to be bathed in multiple lighting scenarios while still incorporating the stained-glass windows around the top of the room to bringing together a perfect blend of modern and traditional lighting elements.

The sanctuary of FBC Muskogee presented a challenge for video presentation due to the large stained-glass windows that line the sides of the worship center. To help overcome the natural light in the room, Paragon replaced the existing projection screens with Absen Acclaim 3.8mm pitch LED walls. This provided a crisp display for lyrics and full screen graphics without covering the stained glass, while creating stunning visual imagery that could be seen throughout the sanctuary.

Paragon 360 designed and installed a production system that captured the room through five Panasonic HE40 PTZ cameras, complimented by a single manned Panasonic camera on the main floor. The video signal was routed through an AJA 16×16 SDI router, and streaming video was switched on a Ross Carbonite Black Solo switcher. Four Panasonic professional displays provided IMAG video and lyrics under the balcony. This allowed for state-of-the-art video streaming capability for any activity taking place in the sanctuary.

The transformation of First Baptist Muskogee’s sanctuary was furthered with the installation of new seating, extensive interior design changes, and custom fabricated scenic elements. In order maximize space for the sanctuary, the existing pews were removed and replaced with theater seating with elegant pew ends. This allowed for all the benefits of modern seating options, but the aesthetic value of the traditional wooden pews. All the AVL upgrades and interior renovation accomplished at this worship space were installed with the goal of being tasteful, yet notable improvements, particularly in the area of audio.

Johnny Derouen, Senior Pastor of FBC Muskogee remarked, “The greatest transformation here is the audio. We have people who have turned off their hearing aids and they hear better with them off. I can’t believe it. We are thrilled with the sound.” Paragon 360’s extra efforts to bring all of the technological elements together in such a tasteful yet cohesive, manner will allow this church to maintain its historical legacy while providing effective, multi-generational worship for years to come.

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