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ADJ Lighting Helps Transform Historic Church Into "Clementine," Nashville's Newest Event Hall

Following a year-long renovation project, the former West Nashville United Methodist Church re-opened last year as Clementine, a unique space for weddings as well as corporate, fundraising, and music events. The venue offers a "blank canvas" for hosting bespoke gatherings and that includes an expansive all-LED, all-ADJ lighting system, which allows custom-colored illumination of every part of the space.

Owners Dan and Brenda Cook are no strangers to projects that involve breathing new life into previously closed historic buildings. In 2011, they bought a shuttered church in the Hillsboro Village area of Nashville and lovingly restored it to create a boutique event venue they named Ruby. Since then, the location has proved popular for a wide range of private functions, while the Cooks have been on the lookout for another suitable building to transform into a similar venue able to cater for larger events.

Last year, they were able to acquire the former West Nashville United Methodist Church, which was originally built way back in 1889 and has since been expanded numerous times. They then spent a whole year renovating the building, which included removing internal walls and false ceilings and stripping the plaster from the walls to reveal the original bare brick beneath. The finished result is a beautiful facility that blends the history of the space with a contemporary industrial design.

The venue is now comprised of two main areas. The former sanctuary has been named the "Adelaide Hall" and features a large vaulted ceiling and two separate stage areas. Behind it is a separate room, christened the "Little Bird Lounge" in honor of the Cooks' daughter, which has a distinct feel and boasts a 20' built-in black marble bar. In addition, there are no less than three dressing rooms available for performing artists as well as an intimate outdoor courtyard. The vision behind the facility is to provide a flexible space that can be easily adapted to events of all shapes and sizes.

This approach extends to the technical aspects of the venue, which have also been designed from the ground up to offer flexibility to the event organizers who will use the space. As Dan Cook says, "We take a distinct approach from every other venue in town, which require lighting to be brought in. We believe that hired-in lighting is never as good as thoughtful lighting that is permanently installed and configurable. So, taking that idea to the extreme, for Clementine, we wanted maximum flexibility for the client, so we added wall washing lights, stage washing lights, house lights, and illuminated window arches. Every light in the building is LED and everything is dimmable and color changeable. Our goal is for no client to ever feel compelled to bring in supplemental lighting. This not only saves our clients money, but it makes our day shorter, reducing setup and strike down time for each event."

To achieve this goal, the Cooks brought in Corner Audio and Video, the same company they relied on to kit out Ruby. Headed up by chief systems designer David Goon, it is the installation division of Corner Music, the retail company owned and founded by Larry Garris, which has been supplying the musicians of music city since 1976.

"I'm not an audio or lighting expert, so over the years, I've come to rely on Corner Music to strike the right balance between cost and offerings," says Dan Cook. "David Goon has really steered me in a great direction with ADJ; we've been using their lighting at our original venue for around five years, and I've always been very pleased with it. So when it came to setting up Clementine, we were happy to follow David's recommendation and go for an all-ADJ system."

A native of Ohio and Nashvillian since 1978, Goon operated his own electronics repair business, which led him into media system installations. He has been a part of Corner's design and installation team since 1998 and an exponent of ADJ products for more than ten years. His ethos is one of building on-going relationships rather than simply selling products or carrying out one-off projects.

"I'm all about building long term relationships, where clients bring us back every time they want to expand or make a change, which is what happened with Dan and Brenda," Goon says. "First, we did the installation for Ruby and then, when they bought the building for Clementine, they brought us back to help again. To make this kind of relationship work, we need to be installing equipment that we know is going to be reliable as well as fit for its purpose. I recommended ADJ fixtures for Clementine because they fit within the lighting budget, and because I know that ADJ have a rigorous QC process which makes for a low failure rate. The very first time I ever installed one of their fixtures, I could tell right out of the box ADJ's quality and reliability was better than other brands I'd used. This was a repeat customer and we wanted to get it right so they keep coming back, which made ADJ the obvious choice."

To deliver the level of complete flexibility that Cook wanted, Goon specified a grand total of 52 ADJ UB 9H 1m linear LED wash fixtures to illuminate both the exposed brick walls and the vaulted ceiling of the Adelaide Hall. Each of these compact battens feature nine 6W HEX LEDs, allowing for color washing using an almost unlimited palette of colors.

In addition, Goon's team mounted six of ADJ's potent COB Cannon Wash fixtures to the rafters in the ceiling angled to point down at the floor. These serve as house lights for the room, allowing clients to not only dim the lighting but also change its color to achieve the exact look they require. Each COB Cannon Wash unit features a powerful 150W quad-color COB LED and offers a wide 80-degree beam angle, meaning that the six of them together are more than capable of filling the whole space with a uniform wash of bright light.

To provide flexible illumination across the venue's two stages, Goon specified a combination of ADJ's 12P HEX and PAR Z100 3K fixtures. Each loaded with twelve 12W six-in-one HEX LEDs, the 12P HEX units fill the stage areas with vibrant color washes. Meanwhile, the PAR Z100 3K units, with their 100W warm white COB LEDs, ensure that performers on stage can be clearly seen.

An imposing feature of the main sanctuary when the Cooks bought the building was the large pipe organ dating back to 1905. Originally, they intended to remove the instrument and find a new home for it in another church, but in the end, they decided to keep it and make it a key feature of the Adelaide Hall. This proved to be a good move that not only provides a focal point for the room, but preserves some of the building's heritage and ties into Nashville's musical culture.

To visually link the main hall with the Little Bird Lounge behind it, the Cooks decided to install a glass wall in the latter that provides a rear view of the organ. Goon then supplied a pair of ADJ's 5P HEX LED par fixtures to sit inside this space and illuminate the vintage internal workings of the instrument. While installing the fixtures a member of the Corner Audio & Video team came across a "Recital Bulletin" dated all the way back to 1924!

The combination of ingeniously-placed glass wall and ADJ LED illumination provides a unique feature to the Little Bird Lounge, while the organ itself serves as an impressive backdrop to one of the stages in the Adelaide Hall. However, the organ is more than an aesthetic feature of Clementine; it has been meticulously maintained -- by the same company since the 1960s -- and recently fully renovated so that it can still be played if an event requires authentic organ music.

Completing the impressive lighting installation, the Corner Audio & Video team fitted LED pixel tape, from ADJ's sister company Acclaim Lighting, around the perimeter of a number of the venue's steel gothic windows as well as the organ arch and coat closet. They also wired up the whole system using a pair of ADJ's D6 Branch DMX splitters and set it up for control using ADJ's myDMX 3 software.

The end result of the renovation project is a truly stunning venue that combines modern sensibilities with historic charm to provide a truly versatile venue that can be adapted to become a great venue for any event. The ADJ lighting system is a key part of this, as Cook sums up, "Lighting is definitely a real selling point for our clients; they love the fact they can get exactly the right look for their event using the equipment that we already have installed in the venue."

Finally, those wondering why the venue was named Clementine...will have to go on wondering! The Cooks don't want to explain the origin of the name as they feel it's better to let their customers and guests use their imagination!

4710 Charlotte Ave
Nashville, TN 37209

Dan and Brenda Cook

ADJ Dealer / Installer
Corner Audio & Video
2705 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204

Chief Systems Designer
David Goon

Brian Dowdle


(9 October 2019)

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