RCF Covers Hilton Presbyterian Church

May 12, 2017

The Hilton Presbyterian Church enjoys a history in the Newport News, Virginia community that dates back to the 1800s. Located at the confluence of where the James River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the community became a hub for shipbuilding, dry docks and rail link. Back then, the first services were held on the piers with congregants seated on coils of rope and piles of timber. In the early 1900s, Newport News became a center for shipbuilding, and with the population growing, an old YMCA building was transformed into the first permanent building for the congregation with nothing more than bare floors, folding chairs and a piano.

A new sanctuary was built in 1981, and the church continues to grow today. As the church has continued to expand beyond the original systems installed, the latest evolution called for a re-orientation of the nave with upgrades to the audio and video systems.

The initial sound reinforcement for the facility was a single 12” coax speaker located in a corner of the church. With the churches growth, the church had installed some additional speakers, but were finding problems that were occurring because of the positioning of the speakers and phasing issues which caused inaudible spots in certain parts of the sanctuary.

Since then, seating has expanded, and worship services have become more contemporary with the addition of a praise band.


Consulting with Rome Gehrig of Norfolk-based Audio Light and Music, “when we initially started talking, they wanted to make sure every seat was getting properly covered from front to back.” With that, “we suggested a line array solution.”

Aside from providing proper sound coverage, Gehrig faced two other issues – maintaining the architectural décor and budget.

Familiar with the sound of RCF line arrays, Gehrig considered their HDL Series. “We found a solution that met those needs of the church – sound, plus we found the HDL10-A was available in white and certainly met their budgetary price-performance needs.” As a matter of fact, once Gehrig presented the budget, they were able to incorporate the additional needs of new video projection.

The system features left-right arrays of three HDL10-A, active two-way dual 8” line arrays, with two SUB708-AS active 18” subwoofers tucked into decora cabinets on either side of the chancel.

Gehrig says he did run into one other issue with the installation – time frame. While the project proposal took months before final approval, once it was done, the church wanted the installation done immediately. Again, relying on RCF, he was able to procure the equipment and begin installation within a week of the church delivering the contract. “And RCF helped with some final engineering decisions to assure we have all the proper parts and pieces to complete the installation in a timely manner.”

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