Hasseris Church; nurturing a creative environment with d&b
Hasseris Kirke in Aalborg, Denmark has an established reputation as a centre for re-invigorating the Protestant Church through music. "Our church is interested in developing new rhythmic music for services, so we invite composers from all over Europe to come and visit the church with their compositions," explained Mogens Jensen, organist and musical director at Hasseris Kirke. "We are concerned with nurturing a creative environment. By finding new music through folk songs or contemporary composition we are creating music that relates to people today, making the path to church smaller, shorter, easier."
Smaller, shorter, easier is a suitable mantra for Jensen's path to achieving that special musical environment. "The church is barely fifty years old and is stone built in the traditional style for this part of Northern Jutland. I chose a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system because the church is quite big and doesn't have an easy acoustic. It is a very reverberant space, between three and four seconds delay, and we experience flutter echoes." For an organist from a remote provincial Danish city discovering d&b was providential.
"The first time I heard d&b was seven years ago. I was visiting a high school at Esbjerg in Southern Denmark. I'm a musician and used to hearing many different types of loudspeaker and amplifier systems but never d&b until then. I had not heard such high resolution; it was so clean. My main request from any loudspeaker is that it shouldn't be heard; you should hear only the music and singers coming from it. After the concert I walked up to the stage and saw the d&b logo. Then sometime later I was in Oslo, Norway visiting Jakob Church in the city for a cultural event and I heard that sound again; completely clean, no colouration. Again, I went after the event to the stage and saw the same logo. It was so transparent, you just didn't notice it was amplified; it was direct, human, and detailed."
Armed with those experiences the redoubtable Jensen embarked on his quest. "Finding where to get d&b loudspeakers for our Church was easier than you might think. I speak to many music producers and several of them knew Alfa Audio, the d&b Distributor for Denmark and recommended I speak to their Director Lars Frederiksen. But I also googled d&b; they are easy to find. I told Lars we have a big pipe organ, which I play, and the Church employs seven professional musicians, saxophone, flute, acoustic guitar and singers; these all needed to be balanced against the organ, maybe +6dB."
Frederiksen designed an unorthodox solution to the needs of Hasseris Kirke, "I have put d&b Ti10L loudspeakers in an upright orientation facing down the nave to the congregation, but the horn is turned by 90° to a non-conventional orientation for this upright positioning; in other words as if the loudspeaker was being used as part of a line array. This produces a large vertical coverage with a very narrow horizontal pattern. It covers the listeners well without exciting the church walls. Mogens' pipe organ is up on a balcony at the opposite end from the altar and the small orchestra play below it. There is another PA system here comprising Ti10s and there are some E0s elsewhere for delays. So the church can function from either end."
"We have five choirs; we play for funerals, weddings and make concerts for schools and kindergartens," said Jensen explaining the need for multiple orientations. "When I play at other churches I find the music can sound beautiful, but then the Pastors voice is crushed, and not so nice. Ours is a busy church, ten services a week, maybe five hundred people on Sunday, many more during the week. We now put the Pastor's voice through the sound system as well as the music, so it all sounds beautiful."