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Categories: LightingNews

SES Adds Extensive Ayrton Lighting Rig to New Two Cities Church Worship Center in Winston-Salem

Just before Christmas, Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina moved into a new worship center where state-of-the-art production equipment enhances the in-person and broadcast experience for a congregation of some 2,500 people who attend three Sunday services.  SES Integration in Mocksville, North Carolina consulted on the design of the new building and, with the support of its SES Production division, suggested a complement of Ayrton Levante, Diablo and Zonda 9 wash lights for the rig.  ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.

Seven-year-old Two Cities Church has undergone rapid growth, quickly expanding beyond the capacity of its previous locations.  The move to a purpose-built worship center on 13 acres in downtown Winston-Salem afforded the opportunity to create an all-new production environment to engage congregants attending services in person and those watching livestreamed broadcasts on YouTube.  

“SES designed and implemented the complete production system: full AV and lighting, the acoustic treatment and house lighting for the worship center,” says Michael Brammer, a partner in Special Event Services (SES) and a member of Two Cities Church himself.  “The goal was to serve the church well as a tool to expand the ministry and to create a space that the city of Winston-Salem would be proud to have to host other events.”

During the past two years SES has made a substantial investment in Ayrton fixtures for its inventory.  “We have just about all of the Ayrton product line,” Brammer notes.  “The new rig at Two Cities Church is almost completely Ayrton,  which enables us to maintain commonality with SES Production’s rental inventory so that we are able to support and supplement where needed.  Ayrton’s wide product range and the fact that we were able to find every type of fixture we needed for the project within the product line was also key.  In addition, Ayrton offered high-quality hardware as well as high output for size and weight, broadcast-friendly coloring, very flat and even beams and great feature sets.” 

“SES does really big installs and tours and knows the ins and outs of fixtures so we trusted Michael’s instincts about Ayrton,” says Wes Koontz, Production Director at Two Cities Church, who does all the lighting programming for services.  “I love the Ayrton lights – they’re some of the best fixtures I’ve ever used.”

A dozen Diablos provide full stage coverage for spoken word and musical performances.  “I grab them for about every scene we build,” says Koontz.  “We add multiple palettes of color to every song and often put on gobos to break up the stage and add texture.  The Diablos even add a little color and mood during the entrance period.”

Seven Levantes serve as the main broadcast key light for speakers and vocalists, matching the Diablos and delivering a consistent product.  “With broadcast being a big component of worship now, the Levantes don’t sacrifice anything from the in-house look and feel to the online experience,” says Koontz.

Eight Zonda 9 fixtures wash the stage floor and provide effects lighting for the front of the stage.  “I’ve been having lots of fun with the Zondas,” Koontz reports.  “They put out a lot of light: Even at 10 percent intensity with color they really add to the stage.”

The Ayrton fixtures made their official debut the weekend of December 17, 2023 but “we really hit our stride with them – with cue lists and really good scenes – the following week for Christmas Eve,” he recalls.  “Every weekend we continue to expand on that, mapping in Diablos and Zondas so we have more movement and patterns.  We can go from a soft blue on the piano in the corner to a solo spot on the vocalist then full movement and color on the stage and band.  We’re a lot more creative thanks to these fixtures.”

Easter services will offer the next opportunity for the Ayrton fixtures to really shine.  After the congregation enters, a new video narrative will display across the stage’s big center LED screen and two flanking IMAG screens.  The story will be mapped to lighting, which will help create different moods and even simulate thunder and rain.  “It will all connect thematically, super-engage the worshippers and then set up the next song,” explains Koontz.

The church also has invested in an MDG ATMe haze generator, which it will integrate in certain event and worship environments in the future.  ACT Entertainment distributes the MDG brand exclusively in North America, too.

“The Ayrton fixtures are performing fantastically,” says SES’s Brammer.  “The in-person worship experience is beautiful, and the broadcast lighting is pristine: The fixtures deliver the best for both worlds.  We have a very strong relationship with ACT and know when we call on them we’ll get consistently outstanding service and support.”

“I feel we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with our new Ayrton rig!” adds Koontz.

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