Nestled in the small-town charm of Greenville, Mississippi’s historic downtown, St. Joseph Catholic Church is rich with culture and community. Every week, parishioners come together under the high ceilings and stately archways of the nave, where light from stained-glass windows floods into the sanctuary. While the stunning architecture suits the sacred music of the parish choir, the space’s design led to difficulties with spoken word intelligibility. The old sound system was unable to compensate for the demands of the space, but a generous donation allowed St. Joseph Catholic to meet the community’s needs with an audio upgrade: a new ICONYX sound system from Renkus-Heinz.
Church leadership consulted Allen Cotton, solutions architect with Mississippi-based integrator Sound & Communications, to design a new system that would cover the entire sanctuary – without intruding on the space’s architectural beauty. With a history of collaborating on several similar projects, Sound & Communications looked to independent manufacturer’s representative Richard Hembree of Griffith Sales Associates to assist with the details.
“During the initial consultation with the client, I learned of the challenges faced with the highly reverberant architecture,” said Cotton. “St. Joseph Catholic is a beautiful and historic space, and I knew that delivering on audio quality along with aesthetics was of utmost importance. Renkus-Heinz has served us well in similar spaces previously, and we chose the ICONYX loudspeakers because they look great and sound superb even in the most challenging spaces.”
The previous sound system consisted of small, traditional loudspeakers mounted high and out of sight. Hembree commented, “The ‘waterfall effect’ of sound coming from high above placed sound in the room but offered very little intelligibility. A pair of Renkus-Heinz’s flagship ICONYX Gen5 IC24-RN loudspeaker arrays proved to be the perfect solution. Not only do they match the soaring lines of the architecture, their height also provides the needed control to keep full-range, reinforced sound away from walls and ceilings and focused right where it’s needed: on the congregation.”
Sound & Communications, Griffith Sales Associates and Renkus-Heinz worked together from initial design through system commissioning to ensure the system met the needs of the community. “We were able to pinpoint exactly what was needed through open communication with Renkus-Heinz throughout this project,” added Stephen Edmonds, lead technician at Sound & Communications. “It always adds a layer of confidence during the process to have someone who can answer any questions that might arise, and Brandon Heinz, product manager at Renkus-Heinz, was that person, in this case providing remote technical support during the system commissioning.”
Thanks to one generous donor, who caused a chain reaction of good deeds within the Greenville community, the congregation can now come together in the warm light and open spaces of St. Joseph Catholic and enjoy clear, directed sound for every word and hymn of the Mass.
“We are beyond thrilled with the reception the Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers have received. Now, every member of the congregation can feel included in every moment of a service,” Jack Duthu at St. Joseph Catholic said. “This upgrade has already promoted a stronger sense of community, and we could not be more grateful.”