St. Michael and All Angels Church, Somerton

St Michael and All Angels Church is located in the heart of Somerton. Parts of the church building date from the early 13th century, whilst other parts have been added as recently as 2004. The building underwent a major internal refurbishment in 2012 and 2013.  This involved replacing the floor and heating systems, rewiring and roof cleaning, a glass partition door for the south transept and a comprehensive sound system with video distribution to facilitate more flexible use of the building.

APi Communications were pleased to be chosen to specify and install a full sound and vision system for both worship and performance enhancement. As well as worship, the church is also used for concerts and other community events.  As the PCC felt that vision was important but projection too intrusive in this ancient building, we offered the solution of mobile LCD screens with distributing video throughout the building giving highly flexible viewing arrangements to suit all congregation sizes.

Solution

The sound and visual systems were designed by APi Communications to meet the needs of the customer. We chose a 28 channel Allen+Heath mixing desk to control the audio sources as this is a reliable well laid out product, and a Behringer Digital graphic equaliser to provide a natural sounding flat frequency response, and a calculated delay for the rear group of the 12 loudspeakers fitted within the church.

A pair of 15” active subwoofers complemented the acoustics of our column speakers, resulting in full range reproduction, delivering excellent speech intelligibility and rich musical reproduction. The whole result is most pleasing acoustically, with many complimentary remarks so far received.

The entire audio and visual system hardware is encompassed within a custom piece of furniture, which was then clad with oak so as to resemble the pews alongside it at the rear of the nave.

It was a requirement of both the PCC and the Clergy that there should be the opportunity for the congregation to view images from PowerPoint, or DVD sources, from anywhere within the church.  With projectors and screens having been ruled out as too visually intrusive visually, we installed a network whereby computer signals, video and audio could be reproduced at a choice of 12 positions within the nave and chancel. LED display screens, fitted to trolley mounts, are then positioned at the chosen points within the nave to cover the congregation anticipated for each service.

Additional points adjacent to each doorway enable the congregation to “overspill” outside the building and yet still be involved in the service within and a discreet camera enables all assembled to enjoy the view of a wedding procession as it moves through the nave.

As a whole this system enables the building to be most flexible with regard to the many disparate roles for which a modern church building must be equipped.

Summary

A bespoke system, providing an appropriately camouflaged audio and visual system that enables the church to do the following:-

  • Full frequency audio support for a morning service
  • Full performance by musicians/singers/choir
  • Ability to play PowerPoint slides, films or dvds unobtrusively from anywhere in the church
  • Any overspill to the congregation outside the church can still be involved in the service through the use of the additional points that were set up
  • The ability to now see the whole of the wedding procession through the use of a discreet camera.

Testimonials

The Bath and Wells Diocesan Advisory Committee

“The Committee noted that this proposed installation will be a sophisticated, comprehensive and flexible system to enable full and up-to-date audio visual facilities within the main areas of the church. The proposal is well described technically.”

Alan at Somerton

“API have provided an excellent service throughout the design and installation, careful, neat, and considerate installers who have given us what we want. We are using the system with confidence having been given full instructions regarding its use and knowing that if we meet any problems API are always on hand to answer our questions and to offer advice.”