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  Promise Keepers - Stand in the Gap

With hundreds of thousands of stadium attendees under their belt, the Promise Keepers organization decided that it would stage a massive prayer rally in Washington, D.C., in October of 1998. As part of the touring stadium production team, Will Sargent (now president of Sargent Solutions) was called upon to help with the project.

The project's design was ambitious: provide concert-level audio and video to a potential audience of 1.5 million people, covering over 2 miles of lawn. Top off that challenge by adding a system that needed a minimum of 3 levels of redundency making it immune to failure or attack. Will assisted in the design of these systems, then proceeded to assemble and test the racks of electronics that would be required at each of the 7 delay screens on the main mall. These screens (and their associated delay towers (a total of 15 positions) covered the entire DC Mall (over 1.5 miles long). Each system was powered by 7 seperate generators, and their own ground rod. Because of this, the system had the potential for exceptional audio and video hum. However, proper design and isolation led to a completely hum-free audio and video distribtuion system. An incredible accomplishment, to be sure.

Will also assembled and operated the central signal distribution trailer, that linked all of the audio and video systems together including the two video trucks and the local TELCO (for satillite uplink & fiber-optic transmission). He was directly responsible for the audio and video seen by every one of the 1.2 million attendees not to forget the spanish simulcast.

This system utilized the most advanced technologies available at the time, including the then new QSC RAVE digital audio distribution system, fiber optic snakes for both video and audio, the latest processing and EQ from BSS electronics, and two fully-loaded peavey Media Matrix systems, as well as some of the longest digital video delays available (to sync pictures to audio). The entire system was custom built and tested by Will and his shop team, to exacting specifications. This included all of the custom programming of the Media Matrix systems, to handle the extensive routing, delay, and EQ'ing functions needed to manage this massive system.

Working in cooperation with Solstace Company, Spectrum Sound, Gary Hardesty of EAW, and Joel Moak of Peavey Electronics, the event was a tremendous success. 1.2 million men assembled on the mall and around the Washington monument for an incredible day of speakers, prayer, and praise and worship. All of the assembled systems performed perfectly, and in our extensive travels across the US afterwords, every one we've met who attended Stand in the Gap had nothing but great things to say about the sound. Our memories of that sea of people meeting for one unified fantastic purpose is enough to humble any man. We were blessed to have helped make this event a reality.


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