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Willow Creek heads outdoors with L-Acoustics X Series

Willow Creek heads outdoors with L-Acoustics X Series

Willow Creek heads outdoors with L-Acoustics X Series


Constructing a large tent in its car park has allowed Willow Creek to gather small groups of people in a safe way with the help of an L-Acoustics X Series loudspeaker package. Known as an influential, non-denominational megachurch across the US, Willow Creek has had to switch its 7,200 Worship Center in Illinois into a streaming-only broadcast site, a change that is likely to continue until the end of the year.

To retain some sense of community, the HOW has set up a large tent to host nearly 30 congregational events between 19 August and 6 October, the main focus being the church’s hour-long evening programme of 16 prayer and worship gatherings comprising a live praise team, a brief message from new campus pastor Shawn Williams and a time of prayer for 100 pre-registered and masked guests. To ensure that guests can properly hear both the music and message, Willow Creek turned to Milwaukee-based Clearwing Productions.

“Our congregation has not been able to worship together since the state closed down in March. The tent was an opportunity to gather small groups of people in a safe way, to worship and to get back that essential feeling of community,” said Troy Bartholomew, who has served as Willow Creek’s weekend technical director for the past eight years. “Clearwing provided a solid L-Acoustics system from their inventory that fit within our budget, delivered exceptional coverage and clarity, and provided a professional-grade, weather-friendly solution, since these events would be continuing into the fall.”

To provide blanketed audio coverage to the full space, four L-Acoustics coaxial 12XTs are flown from a truss, while six short-throw X8s are spread out across the 7.3m x 2.4m stage. Ample LF reinforcement is provided by a pair of SB28 subs located under the stage, and the entire system is powered by a single LA-RAK housing three LA8 amplified controllers.

Because the band line-up changes, Willow Creek also opted for six more 12XTs to be used as stage monitors driven by an additional LA-RAK. “Even though all our musicians are accustomed to stereo in-ears with a dedicated monitor engineer, the transition has been seamless with no issues or complaints from our artists. That’s a testament to the quality of the 12XT as a wedge,” added Bartholomew.

“We’ve had a great response from our congregation and staff on the setup – everyone loves the tent,” concluded Bartholomew. “Having a history of high-quality production experiences here at Willow Creek, it’s nice that even in a tent outdoors during a pandemic we’re able to continue to hold that value.”

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