Monday, September 18, 2006

Running Sound

I've mentioned before some of my adventures in running sound at Otter Creek, both in the previous building and the new one. The last seven days have been a new adventure in that. Last weekend, I worked the Glory Bugles concert at the building. To say there were complaints would be an understatement. People complained about the level of sound, the inability to hear punchlines, specific decibals that the system needed to be lowered. Now admittedly, the crowd was quite a bit older than our typical group, but there were definite problems on my side. Mistakes I made that should never have been made. And of course, that night, I went home with the Bugles' song "Heaven Yes, Hell No," running through my head, rehashing the problems and Sheryl trying to convince me that the sound wasn't that bad. Of course, I dreamed about feedback going through the song.

Wednesday went ok for Vespers. No significant issues.

Sunday morning... Yikes. We started the sound check with a really, really good team, but the system just felt dead and BST was getting pretty frustrated. Now, Brandon getting pretty frustatated can actually be slightly amusing because the color of his forhead can match the roots of his hair, but it's not fun when it's sound and it's right before the auditorium class begins. Fortunately, Stephen Vail was running sound that morning and knew some tricks to work out and restarting some software got the system live and bright again. However... as we started service, something incredibly wacky started happening with the subwoofers and we were getting an awful bass thump from any b or p or m or d or really any hard stop letter. We worked on that and lessened it some. Then, Doug Sanders' mic was giving some kind of hiss as he was preaching and I felt really bad because I believe so strongly in what Doug is bringing to Otter Creek and I wanted people to hear about those opportunities without the distraction of sound issues. At any rate that was Sunday morning and all the problems with it.

The offshoot of all of that was that it's been really hard for me to worship recently because I can't worship if I'm worrying about sound problems. I'm trying to make it better for other people to worship.

Sunday night... Celebration Sunday. The Sanctuary band that used to meet at OC's previous building and now is at Woodmont Hills played. I was stressing, of course, because I wanted it to go well for them and the worshippers. I get there at 4:30 with Stephen Vail. As I'm hooking up the band, he's playing some CDs trying to figure out where the trouble spots in the room are, doing some tweaks. We get going in the sound check and I'm not hearing problems.... We get going into the worship and I've got to turn the vocal's up and a guitar down some. No issues. People downstairs are worshipping. The band sounds great and they're leading worship and for the first time in several weeks I'm starting to worship too. I'm worshipping and listening for issues. And the worship is wonderful and I'm allowing myself to not worry about things (because they're going well, naturally). It was a great night and one I badly needed.


Tony Arnold said...

I think you do a very good job when things are going well Phil.

I think you do a great job when things go wrong. That is when real expertise shows up. You handle the problems in an efficient, professional manner and usually very quickly. You always find a work around and you stay calm under pressure.

And that my friend is bringing glory to God. Doing your best in the trying moments.

Now, I will jab at you a bit here based on a past conversation (that only you and I were involved in so none of your readers are going to get it). The better understanding you have of how the equipment works and even understand how it is designed, the easier it is to diagnose and correct problems on the fly.

OC is blessed to have you and Sheryl upstairs on the board. Having done this job for many years in my youth at OC, I know how blessed we are.


Phil said...

So what play is To Be or Not To Be from, Tony? ;-)

Tony Arnold said...

Hamlet, but I used our wonderful technology to Goggle and verify the answer. :-)

My unchecked answer was Hamlet or King Lear.

Although I love literature and I am fairly eclectic in my reading, I have never read any Shakespeare. I don't care for the style and it was never required in any of my high school lit or English classes (believe that?).

I did take AP English and passed the test getting 3 hours college credit at Vandy which was great for an Engineer who only needed 12 hours total of humanities & social science electives. I also got 3 hrs from History AP, so I only took 6 hours of H&SoSci classes: guitar at Blair and Military History.

BTW, back in the '80s Vandy required these basics from any student regardless of major: english or lit (3 hrs); physics (3); chemistry (3); calculus (3).


Phil said...

You went to Vandy and never had to read any Shakespeare? Wow, maybe it's not the school I thought it was.

I highly recommend renting Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing for a taste of what Shakespeare can truly be.

Rachel Keller said...

Man I wish I would have gone to the same school as Tony! My senior English teacher (and all of the other English teachers as well but I like to pick on the guy who taught Senior English) had a thing for Shakespeare. =) I must admit that the books I had to read in HS did provide a great start to my library.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine guitars in worship. It seems so low class. They should be reserved for a country music hoedown in my opinion.

Phil said...

Anonymous, would you prefer a pipe organ?

fabricsnob said...

Phil- I don't say this enough-THANK YOU for what you & Sheryl do every week. I take for granted the wonderful tools we have at OC but I forget at what price it comes for some. I sincerely hope you get to take a break soon.

Tony- too bad, dude. A little Shakespeare enhances life. (Plus I got to say "damn" w/o being chastised.) (Macbeth)

Anony- was that serious? Are you slamming all guitar players or just those who play worship music? If, by chance, my initial impression was correct, I must submit for anti-hoedown guitar prowess: Eric Clapton, BB King, Lindsey Buckingham, PHIL KEAGGY! & Tim "IWishICouldPlayBarChordsLikeYou" England. It's too bad Tim won't see this. If I have it all wrong, I am sorry.

Jennifer Thompson said...

On subjects completely unrelated to the original post...

Tony, I recommend watching Shakespeare, not reading it. One of my pet peeves is that they are plays and were meant to be performed/watched, not read. Rent any version with Kenneth Branagh; that man even made Henry V interesting, which I was very much not expecting after attempting to read the play. Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet are also great.

FS: Does Tim "IWishICouldPlayBarChordsLikeYou" England have an album in the works? :)

fabricsnob said...

JT- he played on the Brianna the Ferret world tour of '04, but has been in seclusion ever since. Seriously, please tell my baby bro that you wish you could play bar chords like him. Chyldz Play rawks!
(fyi. CP was not Tim's band name but that of the one wishing he had such mad guitar skills)

Tony Arnold said...

I think you missed something there Phil. I didn't have to take any such classes because of the AP credit. I don't know what I would have been required to read if I hadn't tested out of the English requirement.

I have to defend my Alma Mater.

Nothing against Shakespeare, just have not read it. I was surprised our high school AP teacher did not require any Shakespeare. Although it may have been required in the first half of Jr. year. that it was done. I only took AP last of half of my Jr. year and my Sr. year because I transferred from a school that did not have AP at all. David Lipscomb did not have AP then. That was just one reason I left.


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