When an acoustical study was performed on St. Mary’s Church in 2012, the acoustician said: “To say that this church has acoustical challenges is an understatement.” The problem lies in the round shape and the shape of the dome. The dome is shaped like a megaphone but the congregation sitting at the wrong end. Sound waves in the church bounce around in such a way to produce a phenomenon called “flutter”. When you have a lot of flutter you have muddy sound. By itself, a new sound system won’t fix this. You need to help the building a bit. That’s what we will be doing.
This picture shows a lift that has been brought into church. An acoustic panel will be applied to the top 11 feet of the dome to reduce flutter.
When constructed, the wood feature behind the altar served as a way to reduce flutter. The three dimensional aspect of the slats helps with this. A similar treatment will be used in various parts of the church to further reduce flutter. You’ll see in the next picture that workers have already started removing the old burlap fabric. This will be replaced by a fabric with a warm tone.
When coupled with a new sound system we will hear dramatic improvements in sound quality.