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The biggest tech challenge for Cross Point Church?s Christmas event wasn?t necessarily the production side of things as they applied to the stage and the performances. That did present its own challenges, but the outdoor carnival-type event required a lot of support?especially trying to get power, lighting, and logistics set up. The parking lot had to be well lit, well powered, and everything had to look and sound great outside. That was an important part of the event?s atmosphere. After all, you can?t have A Merry Music City Christmas without music and ambiance. Thus, the outdoor logistics ate up a lot of the emotional and mental energy of the tech team.

Inside, the concert looked a lot like what they normally do on stage each Sunday, so there was a large degree of routine in that for them. Many of the elements of each night were core, internal things they developed themselves. They were music, video, and speaking elements that anchored the program together. That gave them a little break from the hectic nature of having different artists each night.

But that didn?t mean the concert was easy. They were dealing with a festival-style production. The concert happened four different nights with different artists each night?sometimes two per night, between the matinee and evening performances. That was a stretch for the team.[quote]They were dealing with a festival-style production.[/quote]

The Cross Point team wanted to produce a quality experience for the artists. Only two had actually attended Cross Point Church. So they focused on creating an excellent green room environment, quality production, and clear communication. They worked hard to provide:

  • production quality the artists were used to.
  • a technically surprise-free night.
  • clear communication on where and when to go on stage.
  • capacity for multi-track units.
  • microphones for horns and stringed instruments.

They even brought in a monitor board that they paid someone to run for them. They don?t normally run a monitor desk on the side during their services. The team normally relies on Aviom systems for their personal monitors. Obviously, this sort of multi-artist environment wasn?t conducive for something like that. So they worked with a monitor desk, a lot of extra RF systems, and an extra engineer to make it all run smoothly.

Rehearsals/Sound Checks

Each night, they didn?t have time to do a full run-through. And because these artists were largely volunteering their time, they weren?t able to meet before the event to run rehearsals. Thus the sound checks before each show were the only chance they had to get together. Sometimes the most they could do during each sound check was to run the guest artist?s material and get their ears right. The house band had their material practiced days ahead of time, and they even worked on pre-running the artist?s music so it was ready as much as possible. But it still was difficult. After the first night they went night-by-night for adding new content to the routine.

Fortunately, they structured the concert in a very modular way. Matt Singleton, who?s in charge of production at Cross Point, was also involved in programming the concert nights. And even though it wasn?t a traditional worship service, they still wanted a story arc for the event. The modular nature of the elements allowed them to move or even cut them in order to make the concert flow well with the guest artists.

Some of the elements were nostalgia. Some were secular songs. And some were more sacred. They moved these around until they ebbed and flowed, as well as flowed easily into Pastor Pete Wilson?s message. Obviously, it was much easier for him to springboard from sacred songs.

This allowed them to give attendees to the concert an accurate taste of what Cross Point is really like on a Sunday morning.[quote]This allowed them to give attendees to the concert an accurate taste of what Cross Point is really like on a Sunday morning.[/quote]

The Facilities

The festival-style concert was also a huge stretch on Cross Point?s facilities. The church had just constructed a new building a year and a half ago, and Matt Singleton and Matt Warren were involved in outfitting the technology for the space. When they designed the auditorium and production support space, they wanted to have a multi-tier festival support mentality.

Matt Singleton was part of a touring group, and Matt Warren did a lot of work with the CMA?s and ABC award shows. So they both tried to incorporate a lot of their experience into the AVL design.

These Christmas concerts gave them a chance to try out a lot of the systems they incorporated that don?t get much use on Sunday mornings. They swapped out in-ears one night, and wedges the next. They carted tons of gear on and off the stage to facilitate the bands.

Stage Set

One thing that really worked in their favor was Matt Warren?s connection with the CMA?s. The award show donated their previous set to the church for the event?a 20-40k dollar set, depending on who you talk to. It already had a bit of lighting built into it and was constructed to be easily pushed on and off stage during commercial breaks. This gave them a lot of flexibility in looks and stage setup.

Matt gave this and all their intelligent lighting to their lighting director, and it gave him quite a bit to work with.[quote]Cross Point chooses to use Christmas and Easter?to try new things.[/quote]

All of these things led to an exciting event that stretched the team. This is exactly what they were going for. While most churches stick to their tried-and-true methods for Christmas and Easter, Cross Point chooses to use those occasions to try new things. It?s their chance to expand their horizons and find new opportunities for their weekend services.

It was a big risk. But it was a big reward.

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