'Christmas in July': Small Michigan Church Wins Big Prize Package with Yamaha Gear

10/10/2008 [Drums]

South Haven First Assembly of God Upgrades its Stage and Improves its Sound

BUENA PARK, Calif. — Pastor Eric Jarvis and his congregation at the First Assembly of God church in South Haven, Mich. knew that winning the Upgrade Your Stage contest sponsored by Worship Leader magazine would be a longshot, but they decided to take a chance anyway. The church's worship leaders produced a video explaining their musical evolution over the past decade and uploaded it to the magazine's Web site, where readers voted to grant them the Grand Prize.

Worship Band Makeover Contest Winner
The DTXPRESS IV drum kit begins to take shape
At the 100-person congregation, located in a town of just 5,000 residents on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, the shock of winning has given way to the joy of experiencing the new Yamaha equipment, which has vastly improved the sound quality of the services. The church received a DTXPRESS IV Special electronic drum set, an MO8 synthesizer, a Gigmaker acoustic guitar package, a Gigmaker bass guitar package and a STAGEPAS 500 portable PA system, among other prizes.

"This has been a huge blessing for us," said Pastor Eric Jarvis. "We were using a borrowed keyboard and an acoustic drum set that was loud and overpowering. You want the drummer to let loose and the new drum set makes a huge difference. We thought we had a pretty good keyboard, too, but the MO8 outclasses what we had by a country mile."

Worship Band Makeover Contest Winner
The bounty: a pile of gear
The homemade video illustrates the church's musical evolution since Jarvis arrived 10 years ago. At first, the congregation sang a cappella. Then they brought in a CD player and sang over the recorded music. After one congregant brought in his guitar and learned to play while sitting on the floor of the church office, he and his wife, a singer, began leading the worship music. The congregation added other instruments over time and the band gelled well, but the overall sound had ample room for improvement.

The STAGEPAS 500 portable PA system, which makes it easy to get great sound indoors or out, replaced a piecemeal PA system housed in the downstairs meeting space that was "on its last legs," said Jarvis. Now, they can get their message across without any hitches when they conduct outreach efforts in the community or hold services outdoors.

Worship Band Makeover Contest Winner
The upgraded "stage," with the new MO8 and DTXPRESS IV. The portable STAGEPAS 500, which serves a basement assembly room, is also used for outreach missions.
"When those boxes arrived, it felt a little like Christmas, a really good Christmas, in July," said Jarvis. "It was a great moment."

Two other congregations that entered the contest, Southside Christian Church in Mexico, Missouri, and Trinity Baptist Church in Poway, Calif., won copies of Sequel music production software from Steinberg, makers of Cubase4, which is owned by Yamaha.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; or e-mail infostation@yamaha.com.

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