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Church resurrects lockdown services with Avid S6L

The tight-knit community of the Shelter Cove Community Church in Modesto, California, has been challenged but not silenced by the pandemic of 2020, holding worship services that include live pop-rock performances to a limited in-person congregation and online.

Prior to the pandemic, the church had regularly enjoyed the attendance of around 1,600 at its weekly services. With only a limited portion of worshippers able to attend in person and a majority viewing services from home, the church front-of-house console became more than just an element of its infrastructure – it was the vehicle that brought the service to a majority the worshippers. The church production team was put to the test, however, by its failure.

Avid S6L at FOH in the Shelter Cove Community Church For Shelter Cove Production Manager Geoffrey Fusco, the solution was a new Avid Venue S6L system purchased through local A/V provider, Floodjay Productions.

The installation turnaround was quick as Fusco was able to begin preparing before the S6L arrived. ‘I spent a couple of weeks working with the Venue Standalone [software] offline editor to get it set up to what I needed it to do,’ he explains. ‘That way, when I got the console, I could just stick in a thumb-drive with the Venue show file, and be good to go.’

When the console arrived, the installation was completed in one night with Floodjay Productions owner Matt Robertson assisting with the installation: ‘I think the last pieces came in on a Thursday and, once it got there, we were like “okay, do we want to start it before the weekend?” and Geoff said “yeah, let’s go…” He really wanted to go for it, and we got it set up in a night.’

Fusco was also able to save time, with Virtual Soundcheck enabling him to prepare services without the musicians present. ‘I spent a lot of time on [Virtual Soundcheck] when I first had the console,’ he says. ‘We did a recording session not long after the console was put in and I used [Virtual Soundcheck] to dial-in the system.’

Geoffrey Fusco at the Avid S6L at FOH in the Shelter Cove Community Church S6LHe also uses this feature to help others practice their skills: ‘Whenever my co-worker wants to mix, I throw up a Pro Tools session and let her have at it.’

Fusco also uses S6L’s integrated Pro Tools functionality to record services, which are subsequently mixed, edited with the video recording, and posted online for the congregation to view on-demand – something that has been particularly important through the pandemic.

Having been accustomed to the Venue Mix Rack System prior to S6L, Fusco and his team were able to jump right in. ‘I didn’t find anything to be confusing,’ he says. ‘Everything was relatively in the same spot and easy to use – it was great. Anyone who knows a little bit about mixing could jump on and figure things out and quickly get something going – especially if someone else has an event and I’m not there.’

Since the installation, Shelter Cove Community Church has been back up and running thanks to the quick turnaround, delegation of tasks, and postproduction capabilities that have become achievable with their new console and the efforts of the production team.

And the congregation’s feedback has been positive – musicians enjoy having control over the mix of their monitors using the Avid Venue On-Stage app, as does Fusco, who doesn’t have to worry about monitor mixes anymore.

With services anticipated to return to full capacity in the near future, all faders are turned up for 2021 – except at the first service on Sunday mornings – because then, Fusco says, he tends to pull back the volume, so he’s not ‘running things too hot for the older crowd’.