Monday, August 18, 2008

Offsite again

Yesterday our annual offsite service. We trek about 25 minutes to some property owned by some longtime church members, who graciously invite us in for the service. It makes for a very busy weekend for yours truly, since I mostly coordinate the audio setup. This year went particularly smooth, especially with respect to the great sound we maintained between Saturday rehearsal and Sunday worship. But I am skipping ahead.

The event starts about 9AM at church, when we load up the equipment. Fortunately, we do not have to dip into the Sunday equipment for this project. (Excepting personal stuff, like drums, guitars, etc, and easy stuff like microphones). This takes the pressure off for getting everything back to church and setup.

Next comes the fun part, and I mean that. The setup. There is no electrical power on site, so we start with generators, and lots of industrial-strength extension cords. The mixing board, and all the wiring comes next. Lots of signal paths, wireless devices, and monitors to straighten out. After all the channels are working, we bring in the musicians for a sound check and rehearsal. This is a little frustrating as it always takes a while to nail down the monitor mix. Singers react differently to hearing too much or too little of themselves or others. It is actually an interesting personality test, but that's another essay.

We spent a fair bit of time hanging the signal lines and the main snake around the edges of the tents, above the poles, just inside the rain flap. This kept the wiring off the ground, and completely avoided the dew that is always an issue. Dew creeps into everything, no matter how hard you try. I attribute the lack of Sunday morning crackling to this new wiring procedure. (Thanks for the brainstorm Dickie.)

As for the actual service, it went fairly smoothly. There are the usual issues, such as outside musicians who do not arrive for a sound check or rehearsal, and then stand up to sing. The soloist did a great job, but she would have been even better if we could have talked a few minutes about microphones, monitors, etc.

Off course there was often last minute pastor debugging the computer audio output during out opening music. For some reason this did not happen Saturday, so that setup was completed at about 10:25, after we started our first few welcome songs. And someone forgot to tell the praise team that they were responsible for the doxology after the offering. All in all the worship itself went very well in spite of the leadership shortfalls. I should be used to it by now, but I guess I am not.

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