Valley Baptist Church in Bakersﬁeld, CA is a multi-generational church that currently runs three services every Sunday. The ﬁrst two at 8:00 and 9:30 am are traditional in nature, featuring both a choir and full-piece orchestra. Our 11:00 am service offers a contemporary worship style to our congregants, featuring a typical worship band, and more theatrical lighting than our traditional services. We recently completed a full sanctuary remodel, including stage and congregation seating areas, to enable us to more easily delineate between both service styles; showcasing a full-stage with choir loft and orchestra pit for the ﬁrst two services, and transitioning to a smaller, more intimate stage for our contemporary service.
To put this in perspective, our stage is roughly 60’ deep by about 80’ wide and about 4’ high. When we did our remodel, we actually raised and leveled the ﬂoor in front of the stage on the main level of our sanctuary, as the stage had been about 6’ high to allow people sitting in our balcony to see the pastor. The new remodel brought our pastor closer to our congregants on the main level and created an easier viewing experience for them, while at the same time maintaining the sight lines needed for those in our balcony. During our remodeling process, we knew we wanted to create an environment where we could easily change from our traditional stage setting to a contemporary stage setting in the 15-20 minutes we had between the end of our 9:30 am service and the start of our 11:00 am service, without having to worry about pushing the 11:00 am start time back.
For our contemporary worship, we wanted a way to make the stage smaller and more intimate for our praise band. We knew the best way to do this was to have a backdrop that could come down and hide the orchestra pit and choir loft. To assist in this look transition, we replaced our older projection system with two 18’ x 10’ LED display walls made by Aeson that would be used for all services. This is where JR Clancy came in. Our system integrator, Idibri, and installer, Paciﬁc West Sound, approached JR Clancy about creating a gantry system for our LED screens that would allow us to easily move them 30 feet downstage and lower them to eight feet above the stage for our contemporary worship. We needed the screens to work at both an upstage and downstage location, so JR Clancy designed a custom hoist and gantry system using components of their PowerLine® line shaft hoist, which allows the screens to be recessed in an alcove against the back wall of the stage for the traditional services and moved forward in front of the scrims for the contemporary service. Once the screens are in position for our contemporary worship, we’re able to drop seven large Mechoshade scrims behind and beside them to hide the orchestra pit, choir loft, and cut the size of our stage in half.
Clancy’s SceneControl® 5200 control console serves as the controller for the LED gantry system. The SceneControl® console provides programming for up to 24 axes, with the ability to start and stop an axis multiple times within a cue. The graphic touch-screen display shows the operator the position of each batten and all of the targets, and an emergency stop system and hold-torun function make the SceneControl® a good choice for facilities that may use volunteers to run the rigging. We also installed three Varion® hoists to add lighting positions above the stage, and a PowerLift® hoist to add key light above the house. With our remodel, we’ve added 26 ETC Source 4, 14 degree ellipsoidals, 48 ETC Color Source pars, and 12 Vari-lite 770s. We use our Color Source pars primarily as backlighting, along with the VL-770s to put pattern and color on the stage to help enhance the worship experience and light up the scrims. The scrim backdrop provides a neutral canvas that allows us to create a variety of different lighting designs for the stage. A High End Systems Hog 4 lighting console is used to create the lighting elements for both our traditional and contemporary services.
With the JR Clancy system in place, we can now strike most of the orchestra pit, hide the choir loft, do an audio changeover and make the stage smaller between services in about 15 minutes. We were able to get exactly what we wanted – two different stage looks for two kinds of services – and we couldn’t be more pleased.