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Enhancing worship in the Heart of England Print E-mail

Nestled in the Parish of Salford Priors in the Heart of England, midway between the towns of Evesham, Stratford-upon-Avon and Redditch, stands St Matthew's Anglican Church.

Mentioned in William the Conqueror’s great survey of 1086, more commonly known as the Domesday Book, the Norman influence can be clearly seen in the architecture of the original church. The south side of the church features an unusual semi octagonal tower which may have been a beacon tower to guide travellers across the often flooded meadows and the rivers Arrow and Avon.

The church continues to be a beacon to the local community and beyond through various activities and services held throughout the week. Recent refurbishments have seen the South Aisle pews replaced with chairs to provide a flexible, inviting space and the platform area has been extended with ramped access included.

In addition the church was keen to upgrade their existing AV system to better suit their future needs and naturally chose church AV specialist Cunnings Recording Associates to carry out this work. The new audio system benefits from slim column speakers for the Nave and South Aisle with a single bass unit to provide full-range sound. A pair of smaller speakers provide a consistent sound coverage in the Chancel with a second pair providing in-fill for the front few rows of the congregation.

Control of the system is provided by a 24-channel digital mixer which handles the lectern microphone, wireless handheld and lapel microphones and takes the input from the digital stage box which, with 16 inputs, provides more than sufficient connectivity for the growing music group. Musicians can easily control their own foldback mix from a smartphone or tablet with settings conveniently stored and recalled for the next service. The new system copes equally well with smaller services where, at the touch of a button, the automatic microphone mixer replaces the need for an operator.

The visual system is no less impressive. The Nave screen is cleverly suspended behind the Chancel arch and automatically lowers into position when the projector is turned on from the main control panel.

Similarly the South Aisle screen is discreetly hidden on top of a new wooden screen – another addition of the refurbishments – and automatically raises up when required. The use of high brightness projectors and long throw lenses means the projectors can be installed out of view behind the congregation yet still provide a pleasing image on the screens. Musicians and service leaders haven't been forgotten as a 23” LCD screen mounted on the front pillar means they can clearly see what is being displayed on the main screen. Inputs from a computer, DVD player or one of the two cameras installed in the church are switched using a dedicated switcher scaler.

The equipment has been tastefully housed within a bespoke wooden cabinet which allows operators to easily access the mixer, laptop, audio recorder and other major components. At the end of the service the cabinet can be closed and locked to look like like a piece of quality church furniture. The attention to detail can be seen in the side panel of the cabinet which has been finished to match the pew ends.

The end result is a comprehensive audio and visual system which enhances worship services without detracting from the architecture of the building.

Cunnings Recording Associates provides design and installation of quality audio, visual and induction loop systems for churches and prestigious buildings.

For further information visit www.cunnings.co.uk. Call 020 8767 3533 or email info@cunnings.co.uk to arrange a consultation.

 
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