News of RSCM Winter School, Sydney, 2019

NSW Chair, Ross Cobb, writes in the NSW newsletter Newsclef (July 2018):

“I’m so excited about our RSCM Winter school, ‘SydneyinSpires‘!
Running from July 6-14 2019, and assembled from across Australia and New Zealand, our celebration of all things wonderful in church music will be led by:

  • our old friend, the inspiring Dr David Hill, Director of London’s Bach Choir and Yale University’s Schola Cantorum;
  • London’s pre-eminent church musician, Professor Noel Tredinnick from the Guildhall School of Music;
  • Sir Stephen Cleobury, Director of the Choir of King’s College Cambridge;
  • Anne Marsden Thomas, director of the Royal College of Organists’ training programme;
  • St Eustache Paris’ Maître Thomas Ospital,

with many other experts from round the world, and with the National Youth Choir of Australia (NYCA) as ensemble-in-residence.

All participants will sing in the performance of Bach’s immortal ‘St Matthew Passion’…conducted by Dr David Hill.
Throughout the week, lecture-demonstrations, services, seminars, recitals, ‘flash choirs’, workshops, and concerts will be held in our finest churches and Cathedrals. Come and sing Evensongs with King’s College Cambridge’s Stephen Cleobury.”

Exciting stuff, indeed! Stay tuned for more information. RSCM members can read more in the Newsclef magazine, linked in the Members page.

Calling Queensland organists of all abilities: Organ workshops kick off soon!

Are you an organist? Do you play regularly or have you not played for a while? These sessions are for you!

RSCM is committed to assisting church musicians at every level, and these workshops are designed to equip intermediate and/or advanced organists with skills in playing hymns, voluntaries and improvisation. These workshops will be of interest to organists who wish to improve or reinforce their skills. You may be renewing your acquaintance after time away, or you may already be playing for services regularly.

Workshops will be conducted by Dr Phillip Gearing, Director of Music at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Kangaroo Point. He has had extensive experience in liturgical music and as a teacher.

The first workshop is taking place at Nazareth Lutheran Church, Woolloongabba on Saturday 7 July from 9am -11am.  There will be a further five workshops in the series occurring over a three month period at times most convenient for those registered.

RSCM Members & Friends – $120
Non-RSCM Members – $180 (includes membership)
RSCM does offer scholarships in some circumstances.
Please contact us if you would like more information.

Hurry! These workshops begin on 7 July and places are limited! 

Position Vacant: Director of Music, Christ Church St Lawrence

The Anglican Parish of Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney seeks to appoint a suitably qualified and experienced Director of Music. The position will become vacant in September 2018. Christ Church St Laurence is renowned throughout the Anglican Communion for the quality of its music and liturgy. The Parish Choir sings a wide range of repertoire, has undertaken several international tours, and has produced a number of acclaimed commercial recordings of sacred music.

The Director of Music is responsible for training and conducting the choir, planning repertoire in consultation with the Rector and music staff, and the ongoing development of a large and vibrant music programme. The music department includes a professional organist, organ scholar, choral scholars and a choir management team.

The position of Director of Music is a part-time appointment, equating to approximately 3 days per week. Stipend, conditions and a detailed position description are available on request. Applications and expressions of interest may be e-mailed to the Rector, The Rev’d Dr Daniel Dries or telephone 02 9211 0560 for more information. Applications close Monday 25 June 2018.

Position Vacant: Organist, West Epping Uniting Church NSW

West Epping Uniting Church (located on the corner of Carlingford Rd and Orchard St, Epping in Sydney, NSW) is urgently a seeking a new organist, as their regular organist is no longer able to play.

This organist is required to play in West Epping’s traditional Sunday worship service that takes place every Sunday morning commencing at 8am. There are normally four or five hymns selected from Together in Song (or the Australian Hymn Book) together with the need for music shortly before and after the service.

This service has a strong tradition of traditional hymn singing and the pipe organ is greatly valued.

This would suit either an established organist or a student.  The church is able to offer remuneration in line with established scales or offer payment according to accepted levels.

The organ is described here:

Enquiries may be made of the minister,

Rev John Barr

Church Office:  (02) 9868 3574
(Office Hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 3.00pm; Friday 8.30am to 12.30pm)

Peter Godfrey Memorial Service

From the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul Facebook page:

The memorial service for Peter Godfrey will be broadcast on RNZ Concert on Thursday 28 December at 7pm. Thereafter it will be available from RNZ website.


Over six hundred people filled Wellington Cathedral of St Paul on Sunday evening, 12 November for the Memorial Service celebrating the life and work of Professor Peter Godfrey, long-time patron of New Zealand Choral Federation. Two hundred were singers in any of the seven choirs Peter had conducted in Wellington during the nearly forty years since his retirement from Auckland University, and for the massed items they were joined by another fifty or more former singers of those choirs as well as many who’d attended Wellington Region’s NZCF May Workshops.

There were also many Cathedral parishioners, vocal soloists, orchestra players, music administrators, and many whose lives he had touched while giving so much to New Zealand’s choral life since the late 1950s. The service was conducted by the Cathedral’s Dean Digby Wilkinson and Christine Argyle filled the role of presenter introducing each item. Individual choirs each sang a piece of their own choosing – and all music was either from a work or by a composer that they knew Peter admired – there was Pearsall’s Lay a Garland, Fauré’s Sanctus from the Requiem, and compositions that Cathedral Choir organists had written – Dienes’ Jesu Dulcis and Walsh’s Eternal Spirit. Peter’s Kapiti Coast choirs sang And the Glory from Messiah, Elgar’s As Torrents in Summer, and Elizabeth Salmon’s Blessing, which she had written for Peter’s local parish church. The massed choirs, conducted by Guy Jansen, opened the service with Wood’s Oculi Omnium, the favourite grace that Peter had every choir in the country sing by heart before a meal. Brahms’ How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place, which Karen Grylls conducted, brought the service to a very moving conclusion.

Other highlights among many were the magnificent singing of the hymns, all Peter’s favourites – RVW’s For All the Saints, Parry’s O Praise ye the Lord, and Howell’s All my Hope on God is Founded, while the heart-breakingly beautiful Dido’s Lament by Purcell was sung by Janey MacKenzie, who had a long association with Peter as chorister and soloist. This gave the service a lovely interlude of hushed sadness amid the uplifting thankfulness expressed in the other items sung by the choirs.

The singing was interspersed by three fine addresses. Peter Averi, long-time colleague and friend, recounted Peter’s exceptional contribution to the country’s musical and choral life, John Rosser, chair of NZCF, spoke of his personal experience as a choir member for many years, expressing for us all his admiration of what every singer has gained from Peter’s choral leadership and vision, and Simon Bowden, Chair of the New Zealand Arts Foundation, described the arts world’s tremendous gratitude to Peter, as they awarded him an Arts Icon in 2005. Simon Winn, the Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, read Psalm 139 vv1-14, and before the final blessing, the Royal School of Church Music’s Chorister’s prayer was recited by all – a fitting end to the service .
It was clear that all the singers were singing their hearts out for Peter Godfrey one last time; the congregation rejoiced in sharing the heart-felt emotion of the service, aware there is much to be thankful for in the gifts he gave to New Zealand’s musical life for so long.

10 Tips for Starting a Children’s Choir at your Church – by Judy Fromyhr

Have you been thinking about starting a children’s choir at your church? Perhaps these tips might help you to get started.

1.  Have organisational aims and objectives.

It is important that you have clear aims and objectives for your children’s choir or choral group, and that these are articulated to everyone who will be involved – preferably in writing. Why does your church want to start a children’s choir and what will the role of such a choir be?

Your aim might be quite general and could be – to provide an opportunity for young people to contribute to worship through music and to develop children’s skill development in choral singing.

Objectives might be more specific, relate to the members of the group and encompass some of the following:

  • to contribute to the church community
  • to be part of a team and work with others
  • to take responsibility for attending rehearsals and services
  • to take responsibility for learning the chosen music


2.  Age group

Decide on the age group that you will start with and try to stick to it. You can, of course, adopt a “whole of primary school approach” but a wide range in ages makes rehearsals and choice of music very difficult. I have found that a grouping of children in grades one to three, and four to seven works successfully. These age groups are quite homogenous socially but at the same time allow for the older children to take responsibility for leading a section, doing solos, providing good models for new choristers etc. I don’t include pre-school or prep children in the group because the even wider age range can be difficult to handle and the length and intensity of rehearsals and performances can be taxing for the younger ones. You might decide to start with one age group, and then expand to the other group as the number of choristers grows. Both groups can eventually join together for some occasions but have separate rehearsals


3.  Type of music

The style of music that you want to present at your church may have a bearing on the
type of group that you put together. Are you intending to sing traditional hymns (in
unison or parts), children’s unison worship
songs, popular songs with instrumental accompaniment or one of many other styles? Once you are clear about the type of music that suits your congregation, make this clear to anyone who might like to join so that they know what to expect. I once had a little boy who joined one of my choirs and was disappointed because we never went on a plane – he thought that he was joining the “Qantas”


4.  To audition or not to audition?

I prefer not to audition in this age group because I see a children’s choir as a beginning and formative activity in choral singing, and therefore my responsibility to provide the experiences and materials that will help a child become a good chorister. Yes, there is a downside to this, but even with adult choirs I have observed many instances of people who have developed into very competent choristers but probably would have been passed over in an audition process. If you have to audition, try to see the children in groups of 4 or 5 and play some music games that will enable you to see potential. One-on-one auditions are difficult for anyone!


5.  Commitment

When will rehearsals be held? How long will they go for? and How often will the choir sing for church services? Families are very busy these days and need to plan ahead for all of their children’s activities so, the more notice you can give, and the more consistent you are, the better. My children’s choir (5 – 9 year olds) rehearses for one hour per week. At the beginning of each year and with many new members, it takes us quite a while to be
ready to sing for others. In the second half of the year, we are able to plan for more


6.  Assistance

It is always preferable to have someone to assist you in rehearsals and when the children are singing at a service so that you are sure that you can meet your “duty of care” obligations. You can’t leave the choir to supervise someone who needs to go to the toilet, or to assist a child who is feeling ill or upset. I invite parents to stay for my rehearsals and they are always a great help. However, if you can have a specific person whose role it is to look after the children, it allows the conductor to concentrate on the rehearsal or performance without distraction. Make sure that everyone who is working with the children has a BLUE CARD well ahead of the start of rehearsals. They can take up to 8 weeks to be processed.


7.  Accompanist

A good accompanist is an invaluable asset and can assist with warm-up exercises, games, and part-work, as well as actually playing for the choir. Having an accompanist, and preferably a paid one, also gives you an ally and another musician to bounce ideas off or contribute to selection of repertoire.


8.  Technology

Technology can help in a number of ways:

  • Have an email contact list or sms distribution list for the families involved in your choir so that you can easily let them know what the choir is doing, any changes to the schedule, how parents can help the children to learn their music at home, what pieces are needed for the next church service etc. Communication is the key to consolidating your work in the early stages.
  • If you don’t have an accompanist to start with, there are many publications now that include both rehearsal and performance tracks. There is no need to sing along with a group of adult singers on a pre-recorded CD.
  • Consider creating rehearsal tracks for the children to use at home for practice. You might record these yourself and send them to the families as mp3s or burn the tracks to a CD. You can also create scorch files of the music you are using and make them accessible to the children. If you don’t have the equipment or time to prepare these yourself, there is sure to be someone in the parish who does. Access to practice materials contributes to the success of the choir and engagement in its activities.


9.  Recruitment

If you have clear aims and objectives, it is easy to communicate these to potential choristers and their families. Can you talk about your plans for a choir at regular church services? Put clear information in your church newsletter? Have an “Open Rehearsal” or “try before you buy” session? Advertise in local school newsletters? There may be families who attend a non-denominational school who would be very happy to attend your church. Ask a local newspaper to do a story and include a photo to catch people’s attention.


10.  Enjoy

Singing in a choir should be a joyful and enriching experience for everyone – the choristers, their families and most importantly, yourself. Your choir may be the first experience of choral singing for some children and, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the experience of being in your choir was one that lead them to a lifelong engagement with choral music and the worship of God through singing?

[Judy is a Senior Lecturer in Music at Australian Catholic University, Brisbane Campus, and is the Musical Director and Conductor of The Young Conservatorium “Melodic Minors”]

10 Tips for Spicing up your Hymn Playing – Dr Steven Nisbet

1:  Spicing up your hymn playing starts with getting the fundamentals right. It’s like cooking a healthy meal: assemble the basic ingredients first, and add the spices for extra flavour.

2:  The process of getting the fundamentals right can be summarised by three P words – Prepare, Practice, & Perform. The first two Ps have to happen during the week before the service, in order for it all to come together in the performance.

3:  Preparation includes thinking about the text of the hymn and how the music can support the interpretation of the text. It includes deciding on an appropriate tempo (speed), suitable dynamics (loud and soft expression), what to include in the play-over (hymn introduction), where the singers need to breathe, and how much time to leave between verses.

4:  Practice! There’s a classic story of a tourist walking around New York City, who asks a local “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The local responded, “Practice, practice, practice.” To accompany hymns, we need to practice everything about our hymn playing – correct notes (including correct rhythm and correct harmony), selection and changing of registration (stops), and the play-over.

5:  The play-over should not only allow time for the congregation to find the hymn in the book, but more importantly, let the congregation know clearly what tune is being used, and to signal the tempo of the hymn. The first and last lines are usually sufficient for this. This can vary in some cases. For example, in the hymn “We limit not the truth of God” (Together in Song, Number 453), it would be better to play the last half of the hymn as the play-over, to avoid a dull repetition of the first line.

6:  Interpret the text in musical ways. Recently I played the hymn “Jesus Christ is waiting” (TIS 665) at our church service. Each verse required special treatment. Verse 1 “Jesus Christ is waiting, waiting in the streets” needed to be played strongly (as with all first verses) to establish the tempo and provide a lead for the tune. For verse 2 “Jesus Christ is raging” I pulled out a strong reed. Verse 3 “Jesus Christ is healing” required a gentler sound. In verse 4 “Jesus Christ is dancing” I played very rhythmically with lots of staccato.  I played the last verse (“Jesus Christ is calling”) strongly, with a rallentando in the last line (“I will follow you”), and ended with a major chord as a positive sign.

7:  Select an appropriate tempo for the hymn. This is guided by singing the hymn yourself during practice and making sure it does not drag, and it’s not rushed. There must be a feeling of ‘line’ to the melody, with stresses on important syllables and notes in the phrases.

8:  Decide where it is appropriate for the singers to breathe in the verses, and provide a small break for this to occur. Allow singers to take a big breath between verses and provide a rest for this too.

9:  Match the dynamics of the music to the text. The hymn “Dear Father Lord of humankind” (TIS 598, previously “Dear Lord and Father of mankind”) presents a challenge. Firstly, it should not be too loud, but stop selection must still provide a clear lead. Try to have small variations of tone colours in verses 2, 3, and 4. In the last verse, there should be a crescendo and decrescendo to contrast the ‘earthquake, wind and fire’ with ‘the still small voice of calm’. This can be achieved with the use of the swell box as well as combination pistons.

10:  The final verse provides an opportunity to reharmonise, however this must be well prepared. There are books of reharmonisations available (e.g. by Eric Thiman, Noel Rawsthorne, Steven Nisbet) for starters. Then if you have the skill, write your own. The reharmonisation must be practised along with the whole hymn.

[Dr Steven Nisbet is an RSCM Member and the Director of Music at St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane.  He is also a committee member of the Organ Society of Qld.]

Tips for Playing Organ Pedals – Dr Robert Boughen OBE

…unless playing the organ pedals, and that my young friend, is what you are now about.  Sure, your finger technique is quite good but be not daunted by all those wooden keys below for, in truth, they are easy to master and much easier to play than the twelve sticks at the port side of wee spinet organs.  You ask for advice, so…..

Get a GOOD teacher, or if none is available, a good instruction manual.

1:  Pedals are easy to play but one needs to get the knack of co-coordinating hands AND feet.  This is not a musical task as much as a muscular one, akin to patting your head while rubbing your tummy.  Be patient and work from the beginning and resist the urge to jump ahead prematurely.

2:  All organ benches should have their height adjustable.  Unpleasant back pain results from a stool either too low, or too high.  If yours is too high, then get a carpenter (better still an organ builder) to cut down the legs.  This can easily be raised by the insertion of thin pieces of wood for those with longer legs

3:  Sit on top of middle D#, and while looking, see how your left toe can feel the gaps between bottom D# and F#, A# and C# and the right toe an octave higher.  Have a good look and feel, then DON’T LOOK AT THE PEDALS AGAIN: be content to grope around in terra incognito.  (A wag has dubbed the top octave as virgin territory for no one has yet trodden thereon!).

4:  These three variables are important.  (a) How close? So that the arm can comfortably reach the uppermost manual.  (b) How much body on the seat? So that the leg can freely swing sideways: if too close to the front, one might fall over the edge of the cliff, if too far back, then there is too much drag of the lower thigh.  (c) How High? See all the above remembering that the height difference of half an inch (oops, 1.2cm) can make a big difference to the angles involved.

5: Even in hot weather, wear long pants as bare skin will drag even on polished benches & inhibit movement

6:  Shoes……Stilettos are out (for the gals) and most male type shoes are too wide, counting the welt, so better to buy a special pair, NOT for walking.  Google Organ Master Shoes who make especially for us, both guys and gals.  These are good especially for playing with heels.  Current price c US$60.

7:  Think of an axle going through the ankle: remember Fred Astaire tap dancing, or Happy Feet, and never but never pound the leg up and down as if riding in the Tour de France, even when playing French music!  Cuddle the pedals gently with the feet, and play, ideally, with the leather actually on the key before pressing down smartly without clatter.  When the toe is depressed, the heel will rise slightly and so, to a small extent, does the knee.

A prayer for those of you who are still privileged to preach from the console:

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love,

Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

10 Tips for Purchasing a New Church Sound System – by Darien Nagle

It’s a big decision. It’s a fair amount of the proportion of a church’s budget. It’s something that you’re likely to live with for a long time. It can have a significant effect on your church’s worship. Is it time to do the church sound system upgrade, and what are the things you need to consider and the questions you should ask? Here’s my top ten.

1. Have a budget in mind. A decent one. All in or all out. There isn’t buy something on the cheap and upgrade progressively. This is fraught with constant disappointment. Trust me, I’ve seen it all too often. Make your decision based on need. Fundamentally, can everyone hear the spoken word – do people complain often? Can they actively participate in worship or are they just “going through the motions”? Is there something more significant that you want to achieve musically. Use these factors to start the process for setting a reasonable budget. Remember you’ll need to allocate a fair proportion for consultancy and installation too; it’s not just about the equipment. Also, think of it as an investment in your congregation. The sound system can be the most inspirational, or most detrimental force in your church.

2. Identify specific requirements or objectives. List them. What do you want your system for? Is it primarily for speech reinforcement or is it for full-blown musical worship. Whilst pipe organs and choirs should be able to be heard without amplification, sometimes it is appropriate to give the choir some additional reinforcement (maybe due to location – tucked away at the side), plus help out with human voice (readers, clergy etc..). Additionally, your church may have more contemporary or popular forms of music that require even more than reinforcement, maybe even a separate system (or zone) in some cases. It’s important to understand, agree and articulate the objectives of the system up-front, even going so far as to describe these requirement (and potential measures of success) in a church committee document.

3. Automatic or manual? Identify whether you need or want a sound system requiring to be manned by church volunteers. Does someone need to operate it? There are certainly advantages if you do. Do you even have a pool of available volunteers? It’s pretty unspectacular work, and whilst initially attractive, it can quickly become a commitment too much for those whose heart really isn’t in it. Or maybe an automatic system, with little intervention (and little flexibility) is more appropriate? There are automatic mixers, especially for speech, or even software that can be used as part of higher-end digital systems that can accommodate this requirement.
Additionally, think about the development of volunteers, maybe even youth involvement, if the system is going to be mostly manual. In successful audio installations, community, especially youth, forms a basis of a successful implementation and a “Sound System Ministry”, as it’s sometimes called.
Think about initiating a complementary training program for volunteers. Maybe this can be used together with some rules in the church on who is able to touch the sound system going forward. There is terrible tampering of sound systems in most churches, it’s unfortunate but I suppose it seems to be human nature, so access to the system needs to be seriously thought through. The equipment may not be holy in itself but its operation and care facilitates a holy environment and thusly should be treated with respect.

4. Analogue or Digital? Are you looking for a mixing console which is analogue or digitally based? Digital mixing also allows for some rather extreme extras, such as remote mixing via iPads – especially good for consoles located in terrible mixing positions. Digital mixing consoles generally take up less space compared to their analogue counterparts, so if space is a restriction, it might be the only option. Digital also includes the ability to recall settings, which is great as an anti-tampering measure, plus they include lots of inbuilt equipment and the option of running far less cabling than their analogue counterparts. I’m a great believer in digital mixing consoles for churches as a great number of settings can be pre-set, leaving the volunteers with basic fader/volume adjustments to begin with. Plus, make a mistake, or turn the console off and all the settings are recalled again like nothing ever happened.

5. Ask about microphone choices. Even though a lot of attention seems to get focused on the loudspeakers, one of the most important components is selection of the microphones. There are lots of types and price ranges on offer, but it’s essential to select something suited to the job at hand. For example, there are some lovely acoustically isolated, pulpit, long-necked, condenser microphones (they don’t go “boom” when you knock the pulpit stand), but they require a mixing console that supplies something called Phantom Power, plus need to be professionally installed. For the altar, you can practically turn the entire altar surface into its own microphone using something called a boundary or Pressure Zone Microphone (PZM) but once again consultation is required to see if that’s a fit for your church. Microphone choice will greatly influence the susceptibility for the system to feedback (that dreadful “ringing” sound we’re all unfortunately too familiar with), and an investment in this area is always worthwhile.

6. Equally consider wireless microphones. This is an area where I typically see too many establishments saving too much money, with terribly unsatisfactory results, and an essentially useless wireless system. If you have a need for wireless microphones, invest in a decent multi-microphone wireless microphone system, oh, and please, please change those wireless batteries for every service! The other thing to be aware of is that in Australia, we’re currently undergoing a “Digital Dividend Restack” where wireless microphones operating in the 694-820MHz will become illegal to operate after January 1st, 2015. Rest assured, all the major wireless microphone manufacturers will (or already do) have products that operate under 694MHz, but given this equipment is likely to be operating for a long time before another upgrade, it’s worth asking about your future compliance to Australian standards (read more at
Radio interference is a fact of life with wireless microphones, and this is accentuated by any single channel receiver; Dual or Quad channel receivers are best. Digital is preferable – I’ve just never liked the thought of the possibility of others listening into analogue wireless systems and especially the odd taxi radio call making it inappropriately into the middle of a service, but the encryption and error correction make digital less susceptible to interference and noise in general, plus you can stack lots of wireless microphones together with modern systems, so there’s great expandability options too.

7. Selection of speakers, and more importantly, speaker placement. Acoustics are never perfect for a sound system in a church (which is an advantage for the choir and pipe organ), and speaker placement is key. Do you care if they are visible? Do you need something invisible? There are some creative options these days that when installed
correctly are virtually invisible. Both approaches will have implications that the systems consultant can talk you through. There are clusters, line arrays, even speakers that come colour matched, or can be painted to match columns or existing paint work, making them virtually invisible. Often the best speaker location isn’t the highest visually appealing option, so compromises have to be made and talked through.

Think about outside coverage too, or coverage for major festivals. Usually a church sound system has multiple zones, with each zone tuned and controlled slightly differently. You may want the flexibility to configure the sound system for a major festival versus a daily weekday service.

8. Mixing console placement. Whilst we are on the topic of placements, what about mixing console placement? It’s an important piece of equipment that’s key to getting results service after service. Ideally it should be in a line-of-sight place, but many churches don’t want the sound and lighting person and console prominently visible. That’s fine, but consider it will be very difficult for the sound mixing volunteer to get a consistent sound if they can’t hear properly from where they are mixing. Sure, they can work with a pair of closed headphones, or maybe use remote mixing, but these are compromises to seriously consider based on your overall sound system priorities.

9. Think about recording capabilities. Did you want the capability to record a particular guest presenter/speaker, or maybe record an entire service? These might be released and sold as CDs at church later, or even posted for download on the church website. Maybe you’d like the capability to stream live to the Internet? Let the consultant know about these potential requirements up front as it will affect the choice of components, especially the mixing console.

10. Choosing a consultant and installer. Everyone is an apparent expert in this field (as an example, knowledge of hi-fi is in no way related to professional audio), but actually few installers have the experience of working with churches. Ask around. Look around at other churches. If there’s one you like, ask them who installed it. They’ll be plenty of people giving advice, most of it inappropriate or outright incorrect, so it’s important to engage a professional with an existing track record, or one that comes highly recommended.

Ask about support after installation. Will they be around after the system is installed, to fine tune settings, maybe together with you for a few services.

What about long term maintenance. What if someone resets the whole system – will the installer retain a backup (if it’s digital). What would they charge to come in and set it up again?

I’ve seen sound systems that I’ve installed have a prolific and positive effect on congregations including growing them dramatically, and on the opposite side I’ve seen the effect of tragic decisions and wasted budgets because someone on the committee thought they were an “expert” and everyone would save a bit of money, ultimately costing the quality of worship day-in, day-out. I’d like to think the above “top ten” represents mostly common sense applied to sound systems, nonetheless asking the simple and obvious questions can be a sure step in achieving a really great outcome for your church. Good luck in your search for a truly inspiring sound system!