HOW TO MICROPHONE 13 STEINWAY GRAND PIANOS - AudioTechnology
This year’s Keyboards and Carols at Christmas by the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) was a great success. The stage was filled with 13 Steinway Grand Pianos, one organ and a choir of over 180 adults and children, who performed holiday songs for the packed house at the 3,500-seat venue.
With the addition of the large choir, this year’s event featured a significant change in the setup from previous Christmas performances. The stage featured three pianos and the organ on elevated platforms, with the additional 10 pianos on the main level of the stage, a 70-person children’s choir positioned on the steps in front of the instruments and a 115-member adult choir performed from the choir loft behind the pianos.
Each of the 13 Steinway pianos will be miked with a stereo pair of d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones, with four wireless d:facto Vocal Microphones for the event’s soloists.
For the majority of the program, all of the pianos played simultaneously, occasionally with two pianists per instrument. One of the main concerns for an event of this magnitude is that the artists must hear each other separately and without delay, which was accomplished by miking each piano with a stereo pair of DPA d:vote 4099 instrument mics,and four wireless d:facto vocal mics for the event’s soloists.
Since the 4099s are designed to be heard and not seen, the tiny capsule size enabled the staff to position each mic where they wanted it, without any visible signs. The team ran the cables out of the back of the pianos, so they were invisible to the audience. The magnetic piano mounts and goosenecks also meant that they could mount the mics on the brass and then reposition the mics to pick up the exact area of sound they wanted to highlight from the instrument.
William Schaefer, assistant director of musical productions for the School of Church Music said, “The added benefit of using the small 4099 mics means that we can also keep the mics as invisible as possible, so people don’t notice that the music is being amplified.”
“We used a pair of the d:factos for vocalists at last year’s event and we loved the way they responded in the room,” explains Schaefer. “The off-axis rejection and their entire sound characteristic are just perfect for what we’re doing. What’s more, the overall design of the mics is also great; the black capsule with the black microphone body is a very streamlined, slick look.”
Among the notable SWBTS performers were Dr. Leo Day Dean of the school of church music, who performed a vocal solo of O Holy Night and Dr. Yoon-Mo Lim, who organized all of the musical details for the night and performed an organ Solo of Toccata on Veni Emmanuel. As well as children from Southwestern Music Academy who played two songs, Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger.
The event was run by Adam Covington, Matt Bennett, Cody Meuer, Cody Carroll, Mitchell Martin, Travis McNeely, Ryan Mulvaney, Brad Powers, Adam Tarleton, Jason Davis, Matt Vaden, Matt Miller and Neil Williams, who are all student employees of the school’s A/V Communications department and were key players in making sure the program operated effortlessly.
Excerpts from PR