The Old Sloop presents about one concert per month, September through June. If you are interested in performing, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The booking committee will want to hear examples of your music, and would much prefer to see you perform. You may provide links to online music and videos. CDs and press kits may be sent to Old Sloop Presents, First Congregational Church of Rockport, 12 School St, Rockport, MA 01966. The Old Sloop receives many booking inquiries, and it may take some time to respond. We beg for your patience!
Most performances take place in the church’s Fellowship Hall. The room is 53 feet long and 30 feet wide, and it has an 11 1/2 foot suspended ceiling. It is on the second floor and is accessible by elevator, making load in and out easy. We set the hall up only in concert layout, in which it holds up to 150 seats. A stage occupies one end of the room. The kitchen, from which food is served at intermission, is at the opposite end.
Acoustically, the room is quite dead, making it unsuitable for purely acoustic performances. But the dry natural sound characteristics lend themselves nicely to sound support, and the room sounds very good with a bit of artificial reverb. Performers and audiences have been very pleased with the sound.
The stage is portable and is set up for each performance. The church has ten 4 foot square IntelliStage decks with 16 inch risers. Several different deployments are possible. For solo performers, we often use six decks to set up a stage that is 12 feet wide and 8 feet deep. For groups, we use eight decks to create a 16 by 8 foot stage. When there is a drummer, we can use the remaining two decks to arrange a 4 foot deep extension off the back of the stage.
Above the stage are 24 fixed vertically-mounted PAR 32 lamps arranged in two rows with red, green, and blue gels. There are eight foot horizontal pipes in front and back of the stage and a four foot vertical pipe on each side wall. There are 12 PAR 56 lamps with a variety of gel colors that can be deployed on these pipes. A DMX controller manages the lighting from the back of the audience.
The church sanctuary is a very different space. It is much larger: 80 feet long and 50 feet wide, with a 30 foot ceiling. It seats about 280 in the pews. We use Fellowship Hall as a hospitality space for sanctuary performances, so the kitchen is available.
Acoustically, the sanctuary is a big resonant space. It sounds great with the pipe organ, a choir, or a brass group. Detailed chamber music can be difficult, and amplified sound is a real challenge. We often use a smaller, borrowed sound system in the sanctuary instead of the one described below.
We often set up some of the IntelliStage decks in front of the chancel to make a small stage. There is a wooden “bridge” that can be set up between the stage and chancel.
Temporary stage lighting can be installed in the sanctuary, making use of lamps borrowed from Fellowship Hall. There is also a spotlight in a second floor window at the back of the sanctuary.
Two Turbosound iQ12s serve as mains, supplemented by two Turbosound iQ18B subwoofers. Three Mackie SRM450s and four SRM350s are available as monitors, configurable in up to six channels. There are two Shure Beta87A condenser mics, one Shure Beta58 dynamic mic, one Sennheiser e945 dynamic mic, and eight Shure SM58 dynamic mics for vocals. We have two Shure SM81 condenser mics, three Shure SM57 dynamic mics, and one Sennheiser e609 dynamic mic for instruments. There is also an AKG D112 kick/bass mic. There is one Rupert Neve RNDI direct box and five Radial JDI direct boxes. There is a Mackie DL32R 32-channel digital mixer that is controlled via WiFi by MasterFader software running on an iPad. The mixer has Onyx+ microphone preamplifiers and a full digital signal processing suite that includes equalization, compression/limiting/gating, and reverb. There is also a Baldwin baby grand piano with a Helpinstill pickup system in Fellowship Hall, a Mason and Hamlin grand piano in the sanctuary, and a Yamaha PF P100 Clavinova.
The mixer can record raw tracks to a hard disk. We can add a couple of house mics to supplement the channels that feed the house mix to create the basis for a live recording. The band KBMG recorded most of its album It’s A Beautiful World at the Old Sloop.