Another of the many CD’s we recorded this year just before Christmas was at Quinton House School in Northampton. Quinton House School is based in a Grade I listed building, Upton Hall, just on the edge of Northampton in what was once the village of Upton. The hall dates back to the medieval period with many alterations taking place in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. In 1946 the last private owner, Mr James, passed away and the estate passed into the ownership of the Sir Thomas White’s trust. A lease was taken out on the buildings by three ladies surnamed “Teape” who opened Upton Hall School in 1946. In 1966 the then headmistress, Miss K Madden, renamed it Quinton House School.
Upon arrival, I was told the recording would be taking place in the ‘Music Pavillion’. This all sounded rather grand and having seen the main building I had high expectations. I was led back down the main drive and down a side ‘road’ to what looked like a brand new purpose built concert hall. This fantastic looking building had its own reception area and stairs leading off to one side with lots of glass. This turned out the be the new sports hall. The music pavilion was in fact just behind this building and was a much less imposing structure. Some might say it looked more like a shed.
I was shown into a small room and started to unload and set up the kit for the engineering desk. As I was bringing in the kit from our van, I asked the head of Music where the kids would be singing so I could see how much fibre I needed to run and start to set up the microphones in the recording space. It turned out that the small room was in fact intended to be the recording space and the engineering room!
Of course it is not essential for the engineering / production desk to be separate from the recording space. It’s not a problem as we have talk back and play back facilities which can work at a distance of up to 300 metres (or 2km if we bought more fibre!). However, for a lot of school recordings, the engineering desk is often in the same room just because schools are busy places and it is easier to set up in a corner out of the way rather than running cables and matting along corridors! As you can see from the picture above the space wasn’t particularly big particularly when I then found out we would be recording up to 40 pupils at any one time!
Nevertheless, our job is to always be flexible and work within the constraints of the space. So with help from the Head of Music Joanna Stone, various microphones were set up and we rigged up a system to capture the backing tracks which were being used.
As well as a constraint on space, we were also up against a strict time limit with this job because Quinton House wanted to sell CD’s at the school Christmas fayre which was only 1 week after the recording session! This meant the audio had to be edited, mastered and artwork created and approved all within 48 hours if we were to be in with any chance of delivering 150 CDs professionally printed to the school on time.
The school held an artwork competition to design the front cover (you can download a template from our website for this) and the winning piece of artwork was featured on the CDs.
Once again we proved that it is possible to record, master, edit, produce and deliver a top quality recording in just 1 week. It’s always best to have a bit longer but theoretically it is possible.
If you would like to book a recording day at your school with Recordings 4 Schools then please contact us by email or give us a call on 01225 302143
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