An acoustical room is only as good as the roof that covers it.

The choir at the First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis, Ore., sure can sing. And you don't have to take the minister's word for it either. The talent of the world-class choral group has led them as far as Moscow where they performed with the elite Philharmonic Orchestra at Tchaikovsky Hall.

According to senior minister John Dennis, it takes more than good grace to grow the church's prominent music program. It also takes a harmonious building. For First Presbyterian Church this means maintaining a high-performance ceiling and sanctuary space for exceptional acoustics, which consequently means maintaining a high-performance roof. After all, an acoustical room is only as good as the roof that covers it.

The church is a vibrant part of the Corvallis community, due in part to its central location between the city's downtown and Oregon State University. Built in 1909, the historic brick building still displays the ornate detail typical of its time. Though well constructed per building standards of nearly 100 years ago, the congregation recently decided it was time to bring the church building into the 21st century.

To keep the project humming, H&A Construction of nearby Portland was hired to oversee the two-phase project. The undertaking involved complete demolition of the education wing's main floor as well as remodeling for new offices and Narthex areas, new five-stop elevator, audio-visual system upgrades, and more, including a new roof installed by local Sprick Roofing Co. Inc. with extensive flashing work done by Middleton Heating & Sheet Metal Inc.

To get started, a Sprick Roofing installation crew tore away two layers of composition shingles and one layer of cedar shingles. "We had to be extremely cautious during tear-off and installation to not harm the sanctuary's stained-glass windows," explains Scott Schaumann, estimator of the family-owned and operated Sprick Roofing. "The windows, which are as large as 14 feet high and 10 feet wide, are irreplaceable. We also had to manage with having limited roof access since the reroof took place near the church's daycare and school."

Once tear-off was complete, the crew installed 67 squares of CertainTeed's Independence Shangle®. The designer asphalt shingle was chosen for its design, strength and durability. The roof had a slope of 12:12 flaring out to a 10:12 slope at the roof's edge. "As an added challenge, nearly one quarter of the roof had a conical shape so we had to work to dog ear or cut each shingle's corner in order to make the shingles grow smaller and smaller as they climbed toward the roof's peak," says Schaumann. "In the end it turned out very nice."

While architectural beauty is important, church members are most pleased with the protective power of the roof. "Of critical importance to our congregation and music program is that our choir have a strong roof to protect the acoustical ceiling," says Dennis. With the sanctuary roof now complete, the choir is back in full force.