This rapidly growing congregation built a large new facility to seat 600 people, but now that the building is complete, the concern is it is already just meeting their needs.
Many congregational members are, of course, from Holland or of Dutch descent, and grew up enjoying church organ music in their native country. Congregational singing is loud and the organ must support it.
Unfortunately, the trend, these days, is to disregard the urgings of organ builders to create acoustics to enhance good, traditional church music, and to hire the 'professional' services of acousticians. Many churches put their trust in these companies, who do not have the same vision as organ builders. Churches often pay more for a PA system than for a new organ.
At Fellowship CRC, the worship area has a very high ceiling, and without the wall-to-wall carpeting, padded pews and very expensive wall-to-wall acoustic panels on the walls that absorb reverberation, the acoustic would have been wonderful for singing and organ. However, the acoustic was treated by a ‘professional’, and is now good only for the spoken word and modern music, both of which must be electronically enhanced or very amplified. Most organ companies will tell their customers that 'the first stop of any organ is the acoustic.' It is entirely possible to have a good acoustic for music as well as a PA system that allows the spoken word to be intelligible.
Organist John Vermeulen worked with Tonal Director Donald Anderson on a specification and sound based on that of an early Dutch pipe organ. With 35 stops over three manuals and 8 audio channels, it has three specifications—Dutch, Baroque and Orchestral/Keyboard.
The pic at bottom right shows the acoustic panels around the entire space, the carpet on the floor and the padded pews, all of which reduce reflective surfaces necessary for an acoustic that enhances organ and congregational singing.