The Lovejoy District is a diverse neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. It’s also the namesake of a growing church now located in nearby Lancaster, NY. The aptly named Love Joy Church started as a bible study group in the neighborhood in 1978. It has since blossomed into a thriving community, rooted in service and focused on local and global outreach.
Lead Pastor Jonathan Burgio explains, “Our goal is to give people a reason to come to church. We work hard to create a Sunday worship experience that people want to attend.”
To realize this goal, Jonathan and the entire staff place a strong focus on music.
“First of all, music is very biblical. There are 150 Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and many other places in the bible where it’s clear there were hymns to be sung together,” says Jonathan. “Second, music is a great engaging way for people to connect with God. We feel a great worship experience will encourage people to attend in person, and it opens their hearts to receive from God.”
The sound system they were using was 21 years old and falling apart. An entirely new system was needed, and so the church connected with Timothy Harris of TSH AV. Timothy recommended a complete overhaul of their sound and lighting system and brought in an acoustical consultant, Haverstick Designs.
“I was very happy to hear we would use an acoustical consultant. Why would I spend a lot of money on a brand new sound system but then not have the room acoustics properly tuned? I felt it was not only a good thing but a necessity.”
Jonathan and Timothy sat down to develop a plan for the system based on the style of service Love Joy desired. Once this was clearly communicated, the rest of the process went smoothly.
The first step was to address the acoustics. Timothy gathered the data that Haverstick Designs needed to get to work. Using computer modeling, they were able to predict the acoustical performance of the room before and after treatment. The goal was to strike a happy balance in the approach so that speech is clearly understood, and the music is powerful and enveloping.
The initial focus for treatment was the flat, reflective rear wall. The sound that bounces off a back wall from the front-of-house system can be very distracting for listeners in the audience, as well as performers on stage. Our FulFill™ Acoustical Panels were installed to mitigate this common issue.
For the side-walls, a different type of treatment was needed. While the side-walls are also reflective and needed absorption, some of these reflections can actually be helpful to the audience. They can help a congregation feel more comfortable singing along and participating in the service, as their collective sound also gets reflected back from the side-walls. The result of this blend is a more unifying experience.
To address this, our PERF™ Acoustical Panels were deployed in these locations. They have a reflective, perforated sheet between the panel core and the fabric-wrapped finish. This allows for excellent absorption in the low and mid frequencies while leaving the high frequencies relatively unchanged. They perform quite differently than our traditional FulFill panels while looking exactly the same to the observer.
All of this went on in the background while Jonathan and his staff carried on their work.
“The best part of working with TSH AV was that they handled everything. They even tested and set up the equipment in their warehouses before installing it in our church.”
So, after all the time and money invested in the upgrade, how did it turn out?
“We are in love with the final results. The biggest improvement is that we can have the volume up loud, and it doesn’t hurt people’s ears as our old system did. The acoustical treatments make a huge difference. Our sound quality is excellent. We went from complaints every single week to virtually none, and the service is actually louder. The quality is so excellent now, it doesn’t hurt your ears.
Not long after the installation was completed, COVID-19 disrupted the services for Love Joy Church, as it has disrupted all of our lives. They had to quickly move their services online.
“We were not prepared for this AT ALL. However, we now have multiple cameras and are successfully live-streaming our services. The new sound system and acoustics have really helped us deliver an excellent product. The new lighting Timothy Harris set up is making our live stream look professional.”
“The last thing I’ll say is that if you are going to put a sound system or lighting into your church, let the professionals do it. I am sure you can save on labor, I am sure you can find cheaper products, but in the end, the quality will not be the same. There are so many little details that you don’t see coming. It is not worth the hassle, work, and time, to save a few bucks and then still not have an excellent product.”
“We are delivering the most important message in the world, and we should do it with excellence. Any pro will tell you that you need an acoustical analysis of any room. Do it, it’s worth it.”