The hall of renovated St. Paul’s Church of Tartu along with its balconies, unique cloister and altar can seat 100 people, but does not seem overly big for 250 people either. The crypt has a chamber hall that can seat 95 people; the wing has a hall for 70 people, which is suitable for giving concerts for a smaller audience or as a preparatory room for performers. The wing has a kitchen, which offers catering for performers.
Nowadays, joint construction of the church and congregation house has become a dominant and practical method worldwide. This trend occurred in church-building in the early 20th century and St. Paul’s Church of Tartu is currently the only major church in Estonia built this way. This seemingly insignificant detail is crucial for providing ancillary premises when holding concerts.
Around the church is an enclosed plot and park, where guests can walk during concert intermission. To provide better service for the guests, a lit parking lot with 51 parking spaces will be built. There are also several smaller parking lots nearby the church, which are usually empty during the evening. There is a bus-stop “Pauluse kirik” (St. Paul’s Church) for long-distance buses arriving to Tartu and the church is less than 10-minute walk from the railway station.
The church organ has 56 registers, which makes it the biggest concert organ in Southern Estonia. Our organ is the biggest new organ built in Estonia over the past 20 years. A more detailed review of the organ is provided in a separate section.
The old windows in St. Paul’s church were mostly destroyed and after installing new windows it is now possible to keep the sound level in the church <28 dB. This sound level is great for recording without hindering concert performance. To achieve the best acoustic result, the balconies are built apart from the sidewall. The acoustic measurements of the plaster used on the walls and model calculations were done by the leading Finnish acoustics firm Akukon OY.
A challenge in achieving the right reverberation for church music (4 sec) consists in delivering clarity and understandability of speech. For that purpose, the hall is fitted with 14 Renkus ICONYX speakers, which direct the sound to the audience and reduce sound reflections from the walls. T-Coil system is installed in the hall and crypt hall for people with hearing disability, the system is compatible with most hearing aids. There’s also Simultaneous Interpretation system manufactured by Bosch with 50 receivers in the hall.
There are 7 robotic cameras placed throughout the church, which enable making video recordings of concerts and live TV or online broadcasts (e.g. YouTube). The four video projectors allow showing the organist, the choir conductor or the soloist on the wall next to the altar if the concert takes place on the balcony. It is also possible to project previously recorded videos.