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Case Study: St Marys, Chalgrove



St Mary’s Church, Chalgrove in South Oxfordshire is a grade one listed 12th century church. It has recently received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to clean and conserve the nationally important cycle of Medieval wall paintings and refurbish the interior of the church, including the installation of a new sound system. The church hosts art exhibitions, banquets, concerts and other musical events, as well as worship and life events. The sound system designed and installed by CGA Integration, needed to cater for all of these occasions, as well as ensuring DDA compliance. 
Due to the nature of the building, it was essential that great care and expertise were taken throughout the project. CGA Integration needed to ensure that the new vocal reinforcement system was installed with minimum visual impact, whilst still ensuring ease of use and maximum quality audio, enabling the community to continue to enjoy their worship in this unique building.

The high ceilings and hard surfaces within St Mary’s make the audio space acoustically challenging and it’s listed status and Medieval wall paintings affect where speakers can be placed. The sound system to be installed needed to be easy to use by sidesmen and ecclesiastical staff, flexible to cater for the wide range of uses of the church and DDA compliant.

Ease of use of the sound system was delivered through a custom built control box. This can be plugged into four different locations within the church, depending on the nature of the service or the event. An extension speaker from the system was also placed in the bell tower enabling any services to be relayed to bell ringers with the audio level controllable locally. EV speakers were discretely mounted on chancel arches generating maximum sound quality with minimum visual impact. Feedback eliminators were fitted to address the acoustics, as well as an induction loop and amplification to ensure DDA compliance. Radio and lapel microphones were provided to allow flexibility of movement during services and events, as well as a Peavey automatic mic mixer to provide ease of use and a constant audio level, irrespective of the microphone being used.


The vicar, the Reverend Canon Ian Cohen said: "The glory of Chalgrove Church is that it is a country church, which has always sought to serve this village and neighbourhood. In the future, with the installation of this new sound system by CGA Integration, its heritage can be shared and valued so much more widely. The system is easy to use and very flexible. It enhances the worship for all members of our congregations and the experience of others who use the church, such as our local primary school and village groups."

Please click on this link for a virtual tour of the finished church.

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