NILES, IL, March 24, 2011 — Led by senior pastor Kenton Beshore, southern California’s Mariners Church is a thriving, multi-campus house of worship. Its main campus, located in the community of Irvine, houses a 3,400 seat capacity main sanctuary that features a contemporary Christian worship experience. Additional locations are found in Mission Viejo and Huntington Beach, with plans for expansion over the next few years.
To effectively manage this growing operation, the church decided to unify its technology choices across campuses. Its first move in that direction, the purchase of 12 channels of Shure UHF-R wireless, was inspired by necessity. “Our original motivation, if you could call it that, was the recent FCC mandate,” recalls Tom Lenton, production specialist for Mariners Church. “We had a mix of Shure and other brands, and most of it fell in the 700 MHz range. We wanted to settle on one brand, and to get the highest quality product. Based on our experience, there really wasn’t any question in my mind that it would be Shure.”
Working with CCI Solutions of Olympia, WA, the church took advantage of Shure’s 700 MHz trade-in/rebate program to obtain six dual-channel systems, with some extra transmitters. “We bought eight bodypacks and eight handhelds for the Irvine campus. The handhelds are split between KSM9 and SM58® capsules, and the bodypacks are used with either a lavalier or a Countryman E6 headworn mic, so we’ve got a lot of flexibility for different type voices and styles of presentation.”
The KSM9 capsule made an immediate and strong impression. “It’s just such an upgrade in terms of sound quality,” notes Lenton. “We had one worship leader who always insisted on using a certain high-end hardwired mic. The first weekend after we installed the new systems, I told him he needed to use a wireless KSM9. He reluctantly agreed, and then was utterly amazed at the sound of it. He’s never gone back to his old mic.”
The Mariners Church worship experience is contemporary in nature, with the main band featuring guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards. Lead vocals are performed by worship leaders, a team of backing vocalists and, several times a year, a choir. Additional instrumentation such as strings, brass, and percussion are incorporated as needed, based on the songs, themes, and style planned for the week.
“At a typical service, we use ten to twelve channels of wireless,” Lenton reports. “Since we’ve gotten the Shure UHF-R systems, there’s much better clarity in the vocals, and never a problem with frequencies. They’ve worked out really well for us.”
Recently, Mariners Church purchased even more Shure wireless for use at the just-launched Huntington Beach campus, a portable church housed in the theater facility at Golden West College. “We basically have the room for five hours on Sunday mornings,” explains Lenton. “It’s nice because we have a full live performance stage, but we have to work around their theatrical sets, and we have to work fast. Everything in the portable system is designed for fast and easy set up and tear down.”
The portable system includes six channels of UHF-R wireless microphones, four new PSM 900 personal monitor systems, and four PSM 600 hardwired systems. To minimize set-up time, the system uses a single mixing console instead of the dedicated front of house and monitor desks that the church uses in the main auditorium in Irvine.
Mariners Church plans to create additional campuses over the next few years; each starting in a portable facility, then moving into a permanent location after it is established. The portable gear rig will then move on to the next new location.
“Each new location will end up with very similar systems,” concludes Lenton. "By standardizing on the same Shure wireless system, in-ears, and consoles, it makes training our volunteers much more efficient. Everyone will be able to work at any of our campuses. It will make us a better team, and that’s our goal – to achieve excellence in everything we do. Shure wireless is a big part of that.”