Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has long been known as a modern, leading edge church. In 1990, the church revived the relevance of modern crusade evangelism by holding Harvest Crusades, which are gatherings in a non-church atmosphere where people could hear the gospel in a more relaxed environment. Harvest Christian Fellowship was also one of the first churches to broadcast its weekly services live on the Internet.
The church recently enjoyed other “firsts”, one in the form of an upgraded sound system in the main sanctuary for the first time since the building was built in 1979. The other “first” was the distinction of the first U.S. installation of the new d&b audiotechnik Q-Series loudspeaker. “We have had a relationship with Ken Porter of Spectrum Sound for years. He has provided sound systems for most of our Harvest Crusades. When it was time to upgrade, he was the one we called,” explained Mike Smith, Harvest’s a/v supervisor for the past ten years. “We had bounced around ideas over the years but due to weight restrictions on our concrete tilt-up building, we had problems finding the performance we needed.”
The visual and performance requirements led Porter to recommend a solution using d&b audiotechnik products; in particular, a system that is based on the Q-Series as a lightweight high performance loudspeaker. Performance would be a key factor since the 20-acre campus services approximately 15,000 people in a week. The campus features a kindergarten through 6th grade school, a Sunday school, the main sanctuary, a fellowship hall, and an amphitheater.
The main sanctuary is a rectangular room with fanned pew seating of about 2,900 on a raked floor with a balcony in the rear. The stage is 50 feet wide by 25 feet deep but only 3 feet tall. Activities in the main sanctuary include three contemporary Sunday morning services, a Sunday evening youth service with a rock band, a men’s Bible study, two women’s Bible studies, choir rehearsal, and a large mid-week service with a full band. In addition to this contemporary worship, Harvest hosts national Christian artists on a regular basis, so the new system also needed to be rider-friendly.
“Since the system is used seven days per week, it has to be able to handle everything from rock and roll to simple piano and vocal. We are a Bible study driven church that uses music and technology to reinforce that message,” said Smith. “Sure we had weight concerns but we also needed to rock. Sound quality was very important.”
In addition, the installation team faced an even bigger challenge. They had a tight timeline of three days to get the new sound system up and running. The team had picked a week when most of the activities were on break with the exception of a mid-week bible study. In order to minimize the installation time, rigging was fabricated from scratch but used existing steel. Electricians had installed new conduit from the amplifiers to the loudspeakers in advance. “The install team started early on Monday morning with tear down,” explained Smith. “The old PA was down by Tuesday morning and by the end of that day, the new PA was hung. We were able to use the system on Wednesday night (in incomplete form) for our bible study. Even so, everyone thought it sounded great.”
The loudspeaker configuration is five clusters hung above the stage and hidden behind a shark’s tooth scrim. The left-center-right clusters are one actively driven Q-SUB low compression bass-reflex loudspeaker over a passive two-way Q7 loudspeaker. These three clusters cover the floor area. The center cluster is also flanked by one array of three passive two-way Q1 loudspeakers on each side to cover the balcony area.
All five of the clusters are powered primarily by two two-channel d&b D12 amplifiers. The center Q7 loudspeaker is controlled separately by a single channel d&b E-PAC amplifier. An additional E-PAC power amplifier controls d&b E3 loudspeakers mounted on each side wall for side fill. Both the D12 and E-PAC are amplifiers with built in digital processing. Finally, two A1 mainframes power two B2 subwoofers are recessed in to the wall on the left and right of the stage.
On stage, nine d&b Max12 monitors were chosen for their versatility. “I liked the fact they are dual-concentric. We liked them so much we bought the demo box plus eight more,” said Smith.
The FOH console is a Yamaha DM2000 digital mixer with a Rane RPM88 processor for the distribution unit.
Future plans for Harvest Christian Fellowship include a youth center / overflow building. This summer, the sanctuary will also undergo a total facelift with new pews, carpeting, lighting and a new truss system on stage. They will also add a pair of d&b E3 and E0 loudspeakers for balcony fill. Two additional E-PAC amplifiers will be installed for the balcony system.
Plans for the renovation included bringing the in-house production of their Harvest TV program into the sanctuary. Harvest TV is a blend of worship and contemporary music featuring Harvest’s Pastor Greg Laurie that is syndicated throughout the U.S. The church has a video suite of four cameras and conducts the TV taping at a theater in nearby Anaheim due, in part, to a lack of quality staging and lighting.
Smith added: “Since it is a fairly live, reflective space we will also add some acoustic treatment in the room this summer. Every day we are looking to improve services. We also recently bought a new snaking system with a third ISO split for either a Pro Tools rig or to feed a video truck.”
Overall this church has undergone some major advancements, structurally and technologically. Harvest Christian Fellowship can be found on the web at www.harvest.org