Have you ever played a concert or led worship at a church and found their equipment to be inadequate? Or perhaps your church is hosting a local or regional artist? Surprising as it may seem, this is not uncommon. I have been leading worship for almost 10 years and I run into this situation quite frequently.
Now imagine you are the person who has been appointed to bring in a guest worship leader. Do you have everything you need, and does it all work efficiently and effectively? If not, make a checklist. If so – make a checklist. There is nothing more embarrassing than inviting a guest to lead your congregation in worship only for it to end in disappointment because they did not have the right equipment. Make ABSOLUTELY sure you have everything you need, everything you think you will need, and everything you think they are going to need. In this case, MORE IS BETTER!
Let’s take a look at the essential items we need to pull off such an event. A church with a small budget does not need to go crazy buying equipment they don’t have, but there are a few items in particular needed by any church or venue with the desire to host guest musicians.
Power, Extension Cords and Power Strips – This sounds like a no-brainer, but without power there is no show. Make absolutely sure that 1) there are enough plugs for everybody on the band, 2) that you have adequate power conditioning, and 3) that you are not overloading any circuits. How embarrassing would it be to blow a breaker in the middle of the set? I have seen it happen! Try to conceal the cords and power strips or tape them down with gaffer’s tape to help prevent the band members from tripping if they tend to move around.
- Monitors – If you want it to sound GREAT, make sure they have monitors and can hear themselves sufficiently. Whether you have a fully integrated in-ear system or a few wedges on the stage, make sure the monitors work and can be adjusted appropriately. If you’ve not yet invested in an in-ear system but are considering it, read our article for some tips.
- DI boxes – Don’t take for granted that the acoustic guitar player and/or keyboard player will have a DI box (direct input box). Also check with the band to see if they need a DI to play tracks through an iPod, CD player or laptop. Don’t feel like you have to blow your budget buying DI boxes. Just to give you an idea, a good entry-level direct box starts at about $30. A excellent direct box starts at about $100, and a premium direct box is $200 and up. It’s safe to go with brands like Whirlwind, Pro-Co, Horizon, or Radial.
Extra Cables – Cables can bite the dust at any moment. Have plenty of spare cables on hand in case something happens. Make sure no cables are frayed and the inputs hold the cables tightly and securely. If you have cables that are bad, you are better off buying new ones than trying to solder and repair your bad ones. Good instrument cables start at about $10, and microphone cables start at about $12.
- Quality Microphones – This is another one that can be easily be taken for granted. Many artists prefer to use their own microphones, but in case they forgot theirs or are depending on you, have a good quality mic on standby. I like the Heil Sound PR 22 and the Sennheiser e835, or you could always go with the industry-standard vocal mic, the Shure SM58, for $100.
- Stands (Microphone, Instrument, and Music) – Make sure there are enough stands. More than likely the guitar players will have their own stands, but again, don’t take it for granted. Mic stands start at about $25 and guitar stands start at about $12. Also, if the band is leading worship, they may want music stands to hold their set lists and chord charts if necessary. These start at roughly $20.
More than likely, you will already have most of these items. Check your inventory and stock up on the essentials now so you will not be caught off guard if you are responsible for equipping the guest artist.
Photo courtesy of Eastern Heights Church.