Jutting out of northern Lake Michigan is a small outcropping known as Beaver Island
. Home to approximately 550 year-round residents, this little haven houses another 1500 during the summer months, with vacationers bringing the population of the 6- by 13-mile-island somewhere between 3,000 to 4,000.
Every 4th of July the community puts on a grand celebration, including a parade, replete with a 35-piece marching band and floats. The town’s commander of the American Veteran’s Post reads the names and ages of islanders who have served and died in the Civil War through the Korean War, a moving aspect of the day’s program.
“Last year I realized only a few people could hear the reading of islanders who gave their lives in service to the nation, and I knew we needed [a better sound system],” said Gary Voogt, an engineer and seasonal township resident, who spearheaded raising funds for the wireless sound system. Voogt, who contributed his engineering skills and a cash donation, found fellow islanders more than happy to join the fund-raising effort.
The township purchased from Listen a stationary transmitter
, a ground plane antenna,
and a rack-mount kit
, complemented by JBL speakers, an Audio Technica
wireless microphone and a Shure
mixer. The multifunction base station includes a four-channel mixer and a five-disk CD changer, enabling soft background music to be broadcast. An outdoor wall socket allows musicians to plug into the system directly from their sound mixer.
Because no hard wiring was required, installation was a quick and easy task. And, with a base station installed in the Chamber of Commerce building and receivers and speakers located throughout the community, the sound for this year’s event was amazing.
Although the weather didn’t cooperate (yes, it rained on Beaver Island’s parade), the mic worked without a hitch and sound reached everyone, no matter where they were in the town. With such flawless sound quality, this year’s reading of the veteran’s names “was incredibly moving,” notes Steve West, who owns and operates the island’s newspaper. “In fact,” adds West, “you could hear a pin drop (or in this case, soft rain falling).”