Following an extensive $2 million renovation that spared it from the wrecking ball, the opulent Paradise Theatre in West Allis, Wisconsin has now been given a new lease on life–as the west campus to Milwaukee’s fast-growing epikos church. As part of the venue’s rebirth, the church hired Grand Rapids, Michigan-based LiveSpace to provide a full AVL package that included an L-ACOUSTICS KIVA/KILO loudspeaker system.
Originally built in 1929, the landmark 1,100-seat theatre located at the city’s bustling Six Points intersection of Greenfield and National Avenues has over the years served as a performing arts theater, hub for local vaudeville, cinema house, and worship facility for other church groups. In recent years, however, the Paradise had become vacant, falling into such disrepair that the city’s building inspectors declared that it must either be repaired or demolished.
Last year, in the ailing venue’s desperate time of need, epikos church Lead Pastor Danny Parmelee invested in the theater as the west campus satellite to its already-thriving flagship downtown campus, which Parmelee founded in 2005. Shortly after, epikos hired LiveSpace to help resurrect the once lost Paradise Theater into its new identity. One of Parmelee’s philosophies is to “grow big, but stay small–that epikos can continue to grow while not forsaking relational intimacy and depth in discipleship,” and it was LiveSpace’s responsibility to help the epikos family maintain that.
Working closely with epikos church Technical Director Patrick Evans, LiveSpace Vice President of Integration AJ Sweeney spearheaded the design of the new sound system using L-ACOUSTICS’ SOUNDVISION modeling software. The final result was an installation featuring left and right arrays each comprised of four KIVA enclosures flown beneath two KILO low-frequency extension cabinets. An array of four SB18i subs is positioned above the center of the proscenium for additional low-end reinforcement and is hung in a cardioid configuration that keeps bass frequencies off the stage without reducing forward SPL. Two LA4 amplified controllers were also installed to power and process the entire system.
In tracking with Parmelee’s vision to preserve the aesthetic integrity of the building’s architecture and his preference for not impeding on that with the addition of acoustical treatments, LiveSpace Project Designer Sam Moergen explains how crucial PA selection was.
“The entire project of partnering in the renovation of the 1920s theatre created a number of initial challenges,” he says. “Our primary goal was to integrate a superior system that would offer consistent, smooth coverage that would complement the worship style and congregation as well as the theatre itself.
“Our secondary goal was to offer a solution that was aesthetically pleasing within the worship space. The KIVA/KILO configuration offered the small footprint and exceptional coverage our team was searching for while, again, working with the space rather than becoming a distraction. The team at L-ACOUSTICS and use of SOUNDVISION really made what could have been an exhaustive process a much simpler method leading to the prime solution.”
Now that the system has been installed and commissioned, both Parmelee and epikos church Worship Director Michael Morgan are thrilled with what they and their audiences are hearing. “What I love about our KIVA/KILO system is that it delivers a sound that is both very rich and clear,” enthuses Parmelee. “So regardless whether it’s reinforcing a heavy guitar, drums, singers, someone speaking or all at the same time, there is a precise clarity to every element. And although we are in a old theater, which has a rather unique shape, the system distributes the sound extremely evenly throughout the entire auditorium, including up in the balcony. We were familiar with the L-ACOUSTICS brand prior to putting our system in, and now that we’re using it, we’re extremely happy with LiveSpace’s recommendation and installation.”