Carmel Bulletin, 1 October 2017
The removal of the carpet has changed the acoustics of the building. Soft furnishings, like carpet, absorb sound, while sound bounces off hard surfaces like brick, timber and stone. The result is an increased resonance of sound throughout the church, which enlivens the output from the sound system, organ and musical instruments.
Good acoustics are also important so that we can hear each other. Being able to hear those around us pray and sing gives us confidence and reminds us that the liturgy is a communal, rather than individual act. If we can’t hear others, it feels like we’re cheering on our team at home in front of the TV, rather than at the stadium with thousands of other fans – there’s a big difference in terms of sound and experience. Feeling like you’re the only person in the church singing is not very encouraging!
While our renewed church will have some carpet, there will be less of it. Some spaces that were carpeted will be tiled instead. This means the acoustic feel of the church will change again, but will not be as dull as what it was before. We’ll need to wait and see what the difference will sound like.