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Historic Milwaukee-Area Church Reborn as Epikos Church

Following an extensive $2-million renovation that spared it from the wrecking ball, the opulent Paradise Theatre in West Allis, Wis., has now been given a new lease on lifeas the west campus to Milwaukee's fast-growing Epikos Church. As part of the venue's rebirth, the church hired Grand Rapids, Mich.-based LiveSpace to provide a full AVL package that reportedly includes an L-Acoustics' Kiva/Kilo loudspeaker system.

Originally built in 1929, the landmark 1,100-seat theatre located at the city's bustling Six Points intersection of Greenfield and National Avenues has served over the years as a performing arts theater, hub for local vaudeville, cinema house, and as a worship facility for other church groups. In recent years, however, the Paradise had become vacant, falling into such disrepair that the city's building inspectors declared that it must either be repaired or demolished.

Last year, in the ailing venue's desperate time of need, Epikos Church Lead Pastor Danny Parmelee invested in the theater as the west campus satellite to its already thriving flagship downtown campus, founded in 2005. Shortly after, Epikos hired LiveSpace to help resurrect the once lost Paradise Theatre into its new identity. One of Parmelee's philosophies is to "grow big, but stay smallthat Epikos can continue to grow while not forsaking relational intimacy and depth in discipleship," and it was LiveSpace's responsibility to help the Epikos family maintain that.

Working closely with Epikos Church Technical Director Patrick Evans, LiveSpace vice president of integration, AJ Sweeney, spearheaded the design of the new sound system using L-Acoustics' Soundvision modeling software. The final result was an installation featuring left and right arrays each comprised of four Kiva enclosures flown beneath two Kilo low-frequency extension cabinets. An array of four SB18i subs is positioned above the center of the proscenium for additional low-end reinforcement and is hung in a cardioid configuration that keeps bass frequencies off the stage without reducing forward SPL. Two LA4 amplified controllers were also installed to power and process the entire system.

In tracking with Parmelee's vision to preserve the aesthetic integrity of the building's architecture and his preference for not impeding on that with the addition of acoustical treatments, LiveSpace Project Designer Sam Moergen explains how crucial PA selection was.

"The entire project of partnering in the renovation of the 1920s theatre created a number of initial challenges," Moergen says. "Our primary goal was to integrate a superior system that would offer consistent, smooth coverage [to] complement the worship style and congregation, as well as the theatre itself.

With the new system installed and commissioned, both Parmelee and Epikos Church Worship Director Michael Morgan are thrilled with the venue's sound. "What I love about our Kiva/Kilo system is that it delivers a sound that is both very rich and clear," Parmelee reports. "So regardless whether it's reinforcing a heavy guitar, drums, singers, someone speaking or all at the same time, there is a precise clarity to every element. And although we are in an old theater, which has a rather unique shape, the system distributes the sound extremely evenly throughout the entire auditorium, including up in the balcony."

For more information on Epikos Church, visit www.epikos.org.


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