Sometimes the tranquil leisurely pace of a small town can belie a tradition of change and innovation. At least that’s the case in New Stanton, home of New Stanton United Methodist Church, a house of worship with a new campus that has a state-of-the-art audio system and a versatile all-LED lighting rig made up of CHAUVET Professional fixtures supplied by Good Sounds.
The dynamic church’s forward-looking sound and lighting systems are in keeping with the history of New Stanton. Tucked away in southwestern Pennsylvania, this picturesque community of 2000 has seen its share of trend-setting developments. Over 200 years ago it was the site of some of America’s earliest commercial grain mills. In 1978, when Volkswagen opened a facility outside of town, it became home of the first mass production foreign automobile plant in the US. Today companies making a variety of high-tech products like energy storing sodium batteries have set up shop in New Stanton.
Given this local tradition, it isn’t surprising that the New Stanton United Methodist Church’s vision team had their eyes fixed firmly on the future when they put together lighting and audio plans for their newly built campus. They wanted a lighting system that would be energy efficient and versatile and also one that could eventually support multimedia activities. They knew, too, how important it was to find a skilled vendor who shared their vision.
The church’s vision team interviewed three candidates before selecting Good Sounds. “There was an excellent connection between the vision team and our team on the way to go forward once they saw our design for the new sanctuary,” said Dwight Brown, owner of Good Sounds. “We not only wanted to give the church a very advanced lighting solution, we were also committed to making sure that our system reflected its needs. New Stanton UMC conducts a contemporary service with a large praise and worship team, so we felt that theatrical lighting would help with the overall presentation.”
Brown installed an extensive collection of CHAUVET Professional LED fixtures to achieve this goal while still holding down costs and energy consumption. His system includes six COLORdash Par-Quad 18 par-style fixtures, four Rogue R2 Washes and four COLORado Batten 72 Tours. The coverage area of these fixtures, combined with their affordable prices, was critical to keeping this project within a reasonable budget.
“We placed all of the Par-Quads and all of the Rogues on a rigging pipe, flown from the ceiling about three quarters of the way back in the house,” said Brown. “The primary reason for this was due to a main support beam that could handle the load of the light rig. This arrangement also presented a good position relative to the stage that allowed nice, even coverage across the area. The Batten 72 Tours were put on the upstage floor, where they’re used to uplight a beautiful cherry wood accent feature that includes backlit stained glass. They were extremely easy to set up and control.”
Although some churches might be hesitant to install a moving fixture like the Rogue R2 Wash, the fast, high output LED fixture fit right in with New Stanton’s forward-looking vision. “Mike Pilyih, my lighting designer, felt the RGBW color mixing of the Rogues was superb,” said Brown. “The pan-tilt speed is very fast and accurate and the very large 12° to 49° zoom range makes them great for washes, specials and aerial beams, which increases their versatility for services and events.
“Also, Mike recognized that these lights were not going to be easily accessed once they were installed, so along with some fixed lighting, the R2s gave us the opportunity to cover the stage evenly and allow for refocusing when needed,” continued Brown. “The church is able to focus light in areas where it’s needed without requiring a lift or a ladder. Mike and his associate lighting designer Evan Hauth, along with rigging assistance by Herman Sayre of Janson Industries, were all instrumental in this project being a success.”
In addition to the lighting fixtures, Brown and his team installed a PTZOptics remote controlled HD camera, with plans to add two more units. “Video recording is not a priority at the moment because of all the tech investment in audio and lighting, but it’s in the future for this church and it was a factor in our design,” said Brown. “The church vision team was planning ahead as we did this design.”
One would expect nothing less from a church in this forward-looking small town!