Adventures in Articulation and Acoustics

Church building design can encourage or discourage congregational song. There are plenty of articles addressing the topic of congregational song (like this one, this one, and this one) but I thought it would be interesting to hear the difference in a real live church setting.



Here’s the space: St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, Nebraska. Seating capacity around 1,000. 47 rank Schlicker pipe organ located in the balcony. The building was designed with congregational song in mind; unpadded oak pews, tiled floor, and a wood ceiling.

A variety of music was recorded at the 8:30 a.m. Sunday service on September 1, 2019. One recording was taken close to the source of the music (the balcony) and one on the opposite end of the room (the pulpit). The balcony recordings give an idea of what the choir and organ sound like at their source; the pulpit recordings show how the room blends and unifies the sound. Enjoy!