Ohio’s Kettering College, just south of Dayton, is a private university at the forefront of medical technology learning. Chartered by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the school also has a growing community of students, faculty and others that gather on Saturday mornings at the Kettering SDA Church for Sabbath worship services, which are now a bit brighter thanks to new elektraLite and Avolites lighting gear installed by local integrator Scenic Solutions.
Earlier this year, Kettering SDA expanded its building with an adjacent wing allowing the church to run two simultaneous services: a collegiate-geared worship service known as Ascent, held in the new space, and a multi-generational “blended” service in the pre-existing 600-seat main sanctuary. With Ascent’s space equipped from the start with modern AVL technologies, the church called upon Lighting Designer Tom Sellars of Eagle Eye Design who brought in Scenic Solutions to provide a fresh, contemporary look for the main sanctuary.
“Kettering’s stage, choir and organ area is almost 1,700 square feet and the par/spotlight system they had in place simply wasn’t meeting their needs,” recalls Sellars. “The church really needed a better solution to provide better coverage, especially for their video facilities, so I designed a system that would give them much more versatile and even lighting for both their in-person and web-streaming audiences.”
That solution came in the form of 30 elektraLite Stingray Profile Warm White 300-watt COB LED fixtures, equipped with 19-degree lenses for washing the entire stage, and four elektraLite Paint Can COB RGBW Washes to light up the pipe organ area. With assistance from Active Electrical, Inc., the project’s electrical contractor, Sellars and the Scenic Solutions team mounted these onto four arches in the house and over the stage.
“I had done testing with various fixtures and the Stingray Profile Warm White best met the needs for the design I had in mind,” Sellars notes. “They have a very bright white light with no deserting yellowing around the edge of the light image and were ideal.”
The church’s simultaneous upgrade to an Avolites Titan Mobile console, now located in the lighting/FOH mix position at the front center of the balcony and running the latest Titan v15 software, was equally beneficial to their luminary experience. “Kettering had previously been using two separate lighting controllers,” he says. “The house lights and stage lights were controlled by a Crestron system that was on a laptop with just one preset, so it was basically just on and off with no creativity. Additionally, some of the LED pars were run off of a 24-channel dimming console, but they couldn’t control the lights individually—only in groups—so they weren’t able to use full mode on those fixtures.
“With their new Titan Mobile, they now have a fresh start to build looks for their services and create scenes suited to their various worship styles and seasons. They have the flexibility to create many looks that can be programmed and executed by their volunteer staff by simply pushing the ‘go’ button.”
Both the new console and fixtures were designed to be “future-proof,” Sellars adds. “This whole lighting installation was really made for expansion. Kettering hosts many concerts and outside events, and this setup is really the first step of a potentially bigger system that can be expanded in phases. They now have a scalable solution that can very easily be grown to encompass more fixtures and additional control options when the church takes its next step. The lighting products that they now have are very flexible, reliable, and will serve as the perfect base to build a larger setup on.”
Jeremy Winston, Kettering SDA Church Director of Worship and the Arts, had initially called upon Sellars on a referral from Chris Wingfield at nearby Ginghamsburg Church, where the LD had done lighting and video designs for their annual Christmas production. “I have always been impressed and inspired by the work of the entire Ginghamsburg team,” Winston says. “Their productions are top-notch and have given me much inspiration for my role at Kettering over my past four years here.”
With Kettering’s new lighting system in place, Winston notes that they are now achieving quality lighting in their services that makes the worship experiences, both online and in person, more meaningful and engaging. “Our cameras can pick up more of each person and we have so many options on how we can light and enhance the view,” he says. “Additionally, for those in attendance, using the lights to create different moods and looks for the varying parts of the services has become an invaluable tool thus far.
“In my opinion, our members are more engaged in the service. The colors we use highlight the pipes and our organ, which is a major centerpiece for our sanctuary. Also, on a practical level, it helps for our performance groups. Lighting in the past was very dim and we now can light the entire stage for people to read music and be noticed. Many of our congregants have told us that everything looks so beautiful. We’re all very pleased with what Tom and Scenic Solutions have provided for us with elektraLite and Avolites, and we’re joyfully appreciative for what it has brought to our services.”