Today’s post is inspired courtesy of another selection from 365 Days Of Writing Prompts
Google and rescue operation What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?
The last thing I searched for online was a Peavey RQ 2314 14 Input Reference Quality Compact Console. It is the make and model of the soundboard at our church.
Why was I looking that up, you ask? Well, because our worship leader asked if I would be interested in learning how to use it.
Every Sunday we have a group of musicians up on the stage leading worship. Usually, there are two electric acoustic guitars, a harmonica, two singers and a piano player.
This Sunday there will be a piano player, a harmonica, two singers, two electric acoustic guitars, an electric bass guitar and a set of acoustic drums.
There are two people in the sound booth, one to run the laptop that puts the words to songs and other messages on the drop down screen via a projector suspended from the ceiling.
The other runs the soundboard that takes what the musicians do on the stage and amplifies, modulates and tweaks the signals from all instruments and microphones.
These signals are then broadcast through speakers also hung from the ceiling so that the congregation can hear a strong, clean sound with which to sing along.
Also on this soundboard is a channel used for a hearing system we have in the church. Assistive listening devices are available for anyone who need them to help hear the spoken word.
Into these devices; only the lapel microphone the Pastor wears and the handheld microphone, that gets passed around the congregation when it comes time for prayer requests and praise reports, are used.
I was more than a little nervous taking on this challenge and thought that a little research was in order before actually trying to use this piece of equipment.
I wanted to make a good impression since it is an honor not bestowed on just anybody. Only those with a good ear for music and sound are asked; hence the honor I spoke of.
The laptop duties are passed to anyone who is interested in helping but the program pretty much runs itself.
Timing is the only key to successfully running the laptop. Are the words on the screen at the proper time? Do the announcements appear on the screen when the Pastor is saying them?
Using the soundboard, though, that person is in control of what everyone hears; the congregation in the house and the musicians listening to their monitors on stage.
My biggest fear as I take this duty on this Sunday is not messing up with the handheld microphone or with the signal going to the hearing assistance system.
The handheld microphone is the most tricky to stay on top of. Too much on a dial can mean feedback screeching through the entire church, too little on the dial means a muffled voice that no one can understand or hear.
Adding to the complexity with the handheld microphone is how some people use it. When handed to them everyone holds it differently which means a lot of constant adjusting.
Some hold it farther away from their mouth and the gain has to be turned up. Some almost eat it which means the gain must be turned way down or there will be a great deal of feedback.
The pastor is the main one we want to hear and his lapel mic should pick up his voice and broadcast it properly with the right tones so he doesn’t sound too high pitched or too low pitched.
We had a practice last night with the musicians on stage and I was in the sound booth for the first time ever. I was given a basic rundown of the board and shown how to adjust sounds for each person or instrument.
I don’t think I did too badly…the worship leader playing up on stage told me it sounded all right to him but he could not hear what was coming through to the house.
We would need an independent person sitting in the pews to listen and give their opinion but on practice night, of course, there was no one to fill that role.
Of course last night I was also not able to practice with the handheld mic, the lapel mic or the hearing assistance devices. This is really making me nervous.
So Sunday is going to be nerve-wracking for me until I get either compliments or complaints from the congregation.
What is going to make Sunday even more nerve-wracking is that there is both a baptism taking place and communion afterward. These two occasions do not usually happen at a normal Sunday service.
All I know is that I have been and will continue to do a lot of praying that I do everything correctly and the service goes off flawlessly.
I know, there is the perfectionist in me rearing it’s ugly head again. I can’t help it, though; this is too important to me.
My husband will be one of the musicians on the stage with his acoustic guitar and I really don’t want to mess up the sound and make him sound bad either.
I really am happy to be chosen for this job. I want to be able to help out at the church. My husband and I clean the upstairs part of the church each week and now we each have a part in the service as well.
This will not be an every week duty either; only when this worship leader is on stage. We are part of his crew; his hand-picked set of people to work with.
Some weeks we have guest musicians up there and some weeks there is another worship leader with their own crew.
Wish me luck guys; those of you in the faith, please pray for me. 🙂 Thank you all!