From the Rector – January 9, 2020

Dear friends,

We have one last Worship Space Experiment coming up on Sunday, January 19th. It will be in the church (NOT downstairs) and you can sit in your usual pew! The purpose of this experiment is to try another location for our choir.

As you may recall, we have learned from the acoustical engineer engaged by the Organ committee that sounds in our sanctuary are best heard when the sound is coming from a location on the long axis of the room. That’s why the choir sounded so great in the balcony for our first experiment back in September. However, we didn’t like having them in the balcony because we missed their cheerful faces.  So… what if they were in front of us, facing the congregation? That’s what we’re going to try on January 19th

On that day, we’ll move the altar down to the bottom of the steps again, but this time, thanks to our property chair, Christopher Huggins, it will be elevated on a riser for better visibility. The choir will sit behind the altar, at the top of the steps. We’ll also have a speaker projecting the organ sound from behind the choir, towards the congregation. 

Is this how we’d have it in a future church?

Well, not really because we probably wouldn’t want the choir elevated up three steps as they will be for this experiment. But it will give us a good approximation of how the sound will work. We know acoustics are a real problem in our sanctuary and this will give us more data on how we might improve them.

The clergy and acolytes will also be sitting on the floor level, and the Liturgy Team will read lessons from a lectern on the same riser as the altar. Otherwise, our service will be as normal. 

Your feedback is the most important part of this process, so please once again fill out your notecards and give us your thoughts! Tell us what you notice, what you hear, and how the sound works for you. Also, let us know what you notice about having the choir behind the altar (or being behind the altar if you’re a choir member). 

Discussion about the results of these Worship Space Experiments and what we learned will be an important part of our Annual Meeting on January 26. More on that in next week’s newsletter!