Sunday, 18 September 2011

Master of None

Today I had a simply marvelous day at church. Yes, we still meet in the cafeteria, but God is good! Attendance has doubled. Over fifty people came to share fika--there was Elsa's baked mocha squares and homemade red currant cordial, among other things--and listen to our guest speaker Hans Sundberg, also known as my brother's father-in-law.

The most significant improvement  to our church has come in the form of a sound mixer board (that is what it's called, I assume). My father unearthed it from among the debris in the church's storage room, along with two portly speakers. Let it be known that I have no prior experience with sound systems, but arriving early and being the pastor's daughter and it being a small church, I have happened into the position of key sound technician. I am the one who runs most of the cables, and I spend Sunday afternoons among plug-ins and mono stereo lefts and reverbs and lists of microphones. Someone told me I looked very competent behind the mixer board; they did not hear the prior conversation between me and Denzel.

Denzel (pointing to the array of microphone plugs): Which one of these is mine? I need to check my mike.
Me: It could be this one. Or maybe this one. (I finger the plugs, pretending to look helpful.) Or maybe it's this one.
Denzel: Nevermind.

I wonder what this button does.

Good sound takes hard work. Not only does a sound technician have to gauge the best strength for amplified voices, but also measure it according to the size of the room, the instruments in play, and the gathered crowd that both absorbs and muffles sound. I cannot deny there has been a great deal of fiddling with buttons to see what they do and some needless running around and tripping over cords, but I do enjoy the challenge.

When the worship team stepped up to play, Elsa asked me if I wanted to comp with them, so I played djembe with Mike on the box drum, despite not having a rhythmic bone in my body. This may be the defining character of our church--we do not have the means, the location, the gear, the sound system, the musicians--but we have jacks of all trades who are willing help move desks into formation and set the fika table and usher and greet visitors and run sound checks; and until someone with more experience and madder skillz comes along, we will make things work and keep them together, provided there is enough duct tape.


peter.kraker said...

Congrats on your entry into the most technical world of audio! If you have any questions on what any one of those multiple knobs, faders, or buttons do, don't hesitate to ask me. I will do my best to describe their effects in the best way possible.

S.L. Gabriel said...

Thanks, Peter! Much appreciated.