The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left only five public buildings standing, one of which was the Holy Family Church located on the west side of the city. The church escaped destruction again in 1984 when the Holy Family Preservation Society was established to save the church from the wrecking ball and restore it to its original glory. Holy Family Church was orginally built in 1857 and represents one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in this country. Its 15,000 square foot interior provides 1,000 seats for services and has a 65 foot ceiling throughout the sanctuary. In 1994 the church opened for its first Sunday Mass in 10 years using a temporary, feedback prone PA system.
Pentegra Systems was brought in to design a permanent audio system that would be aesthetically pleasing to complement the beautiful architecture of the church. Moreover, the system needed to have optimal sound quality and easily controlled by multiple users.
Working with architect Ward Miller, we designed a system that would meet all of the clients needs. We decided to hide the loudspeakers behind a skylight 65 feet above the tabernacle, offering a solution both visually attractive and able to distribute sound as needed. We chose to use Renkus-Heinz CT series large format loudspeakers with long throw characteristics to avoid potential feedback problems for the main speakers and compact, color matched Renkus-Heinz SR series loudspeakers for supplemental sound reinforcement throughout the church. Two speakers were even cleverly disguised inside the tops of ornately decorated confessionals on either side of the main entryway. A Biamp VRAMeq Auto-Mixer is coupled to a pair of MSP22s signal processors and the entire system is controlled using a user-friendly Xantech 598-00 keypad.
The system Pentegra installed uses a variety of Shure, Electro-Voice and Audio-Technica wired and wireless microphones to meet any need, while maintaining the integrity and architectural beauty of Holy Family Church. Continued client satisfaction is guaranteed, as Pentegra Systems maintains and services the system as needed for the greatest audio performance.
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