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Elevation Church

Kevin M. Mitchell • December 2020Installations • December 10, 2020

L-Acoustics A15 speakers were an ideal solution for the wide and deep main worship space which has only 16 feet of trim.

SESI Integration Helps Transform North Carolina Superstore into Super-Sanctuary

Here’s a bright spot in an otherwise bleak time: things are hopping at SES Integration (SESI). “Our team has been busy helping churches streamline projects in emptied auditoriums as well as helping other clients create or improve their broadcast infrastructure for online services,” says Travis Aultman, SESI’s client relationship manager.

The company recently finished an interesting house of worship project for Elevation Church’s Concord Campus, which was converted from an abandoned K-Mart in Concord, NC. The space consists of the main worship area which seats 600, but 1,000 SRO. SESI was involved with the design and install of the lobby, control room, auditorium, and production for the children’s environments. Trey Blair, director of SES Integration, helmed the project.

“Our team has had a great relationship with Elevation Church, going back to when they were a church plant meeting in Providence High School in Charlotte,” says Aultman. “We’ve loved serving and supporting their technical needs as they’ve grown from a small mobile church to one of the most influential churches in the world.” The team at SESI has indeed enjoyed a long relationship with Elevation, having worked with them on 19 of its 21 campuses.

Elevation was founded in 2006 by its pastor, Steven Furtick. From his first service with 121 people attending that high school, he’s grown the operation to servicing over 20,000 worshipers weekly in person, and countless numbers of worshipers through the multiple online streaming platforms that they use. Almost half of the campuses are in the Charlotte area, also home to SESI.

Both organizations have grown together through the years, starting back when SESI was… well, just SES. “The core of our team has worked together for 20 years,” Aultman explains. “But they all migrated over from SES and established SES Integration in 2015.” SESI’s business has grown exponentially since then, and has expanded its reach and impact for ministries across the nation.

The organization selected DiGiCo SD9 FOH consoles for all its campuses.

‡‡         Raising the Bar — Even With a Lower Ceiling

“I started out doing audio at the age of 12 and have been at it ever since,” Blair says. “I started working with Elevation, mixing audio for them and eventually, that relationship grew into being their system integrator. My team and I have worked with them now for over 10 years and cover their requirements for audio, video, lighting, acoustics and architectural lighting controls. We’ve stayed pretty involved with them through almost all of their projects.”

Like the trajectory of many Elevation campuses, the Concord congregation started out meeting in a high school and SESI was even there for that, providing the simple portable systems called for in that environment. Its growth and the opportunity to get a deal on a large, defunct K-Mart store in the area lead to SESI getting yet another call to help them bring their vision for the new campus to life. “They went in and gutted the building to build out as one of their traditional campuses, but what made this project unique from the start was that it had a lower ceiling then the typical building they renovate,” Blair explains.

The SESI team proposed appropriate visuals, a low stage, and a new L-Acoustics A15 Series line source system. “This worked out well timing-wise, because the A15 was a new product from L-Acoustics with a much shorter speaker hang and that was really important. Typically, we have 30 feet of trim, but in this space, we only had 16 feet.”

The all L-Acoustics system includes four A15 Focus; two A15 Wide; four A15 Bump; and four KS21. The delay arrays include two more Focus, Wide, and Bumps. An X12 is employed as a single center fill. The subs are SB28, run with four 12-gauge Whirlwind NL4-050 cables. The amps are L-Acoustics’ LA12X and LA4X.

The organization is specific as to what console they want in all their auditoriums: the DiGiCo SD9 is the board of choice, and that’s what is found in this new campus. The wireless mic system is a Shure package.

“Another important piece we put in is the QSC Q-SYS Core 510i, which controls everything throughout the entire building,” Blair adds. “We have centered the control and management of the AV systems throughout the facility around the Q-SYS System and have even gone as far as to make the kids’ spaces run solely on the Q-SYS platform.

SESI’s Trey Blair

Blair says it’s been a “crazy busy year for us” but one welcome aspect of the shutdown was that the pressure of opening the space for service as quickly as possible dissipated. “It was somewhat nice to not be super rushed and use that more relaxed schedule to make everything absolutely perfect.” SESI is also working on Elevation’s offices and recording studio in addition to working with a few other houses of worship including Seven Hills Church. “A lot of places are using this time to upgrade, which is smart.”

The church is housed in a former K-Mart store

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