Yesterday I travelled to North Wales to record the pupils of Madras Voluntary Aided Primary School in Penley which is not too far from Wrexham and located just over the border into North Wales. Unusually, this recording was scheduled to start at 1pm. On the plus side this gave us a bit longer to get from Wiltshire to Wrexham and meant that we could leave at 06.30 instead of around 4am.
However, on the downside other people were up at this time of day so in actual fact it took over an hour longer to travel at that time off day. Nevertheless we still arrived at the school in good time just before 11am and had everything set up and ready to go by noon.
Madras Primary School
The first thing one notices about Madras Primary School in Penley is its lovely thatched roof. As we arrived I was reflecting this is probably the first thatched School we have recorded in! Madras is also quite a small school with around 120 pupils on roll. Once we had signed in, we were shown to the school hall where the recording was to take place.
The Recording Session
It’s always a delight when we are told that all the songs on the CD will be accompanied by the piano. In this case there was a digital Yamaha Clavinova in the hall. As we were setting up we met the teacher in charge of the singing at the school who was going to be playing the piano. The next thing we did was take the piano to pieces:-
Why are we taking the piano apart I hear you ask. Well in our business you always need to come prepared, so we have a small tool kit for the unexpected occasion. The problem was the piece of wood which was acting as a cross bar and privacy panel on the stand was in such a position that we couldn’t directly connect the piano to our Pre Amps. This struck me as a bit of a design fo par on Yamaha’s part as had the stand been just a centimetre to one side or the other then the connection points on the underside of the instrument would have been more accessible.
Nevertheless a quick go with the screwdriver and we soon had the piano connected into our system which meant we could get a clean feed of the instrument to enhance the overall sound of the recording.
The recording session started promptly at 1pm and, with this being a Christmas CD, it featured our first Rudolph of the Season!
By 3pm I had all the school songs recorded and the children were in fine voice throughout the session. As you can see from the song sheet above this was to be a joint CD featuring Madras Community Choir which is also run by the teacher who had been directing and playing the piano for the pupils. However, the choir session was scheduled for early evening which gave us a few hours to idle away before recording 4 more songs.
Exploring North Wales
And so I wandered up the road to nearby Llangollen (where Wales becomes the World according to their official website!). This afforded a chance for afternoon tea and a quick stroll up a nearby mountain!
With time passed I then headed back to the school where we had 4 songs to record with Madras Community Choir. There were a number of teachers, including the Head from Madras, in this choir and I really enjoyed recording their songs which will be a lovely addition to the CD.
Recording a Joint CD
This is a great example of how schools and communities can come together and so if you are looking to record a school CD, why not involve your local community choir. Not only will the choir benefit from CDs being supplied at School pricing but you can both benefit from a lower price per unit as you will end up selling more copies than you would had both groups recorded separately.
We had a great time recording in Penley with Madras Primary School and the Community Choir. The album is shortly going into production but in the meantime here is a short excerpt of the school and the choir for you to enjoy:
To find out more about our recording services for schools and community choirs or to arrange a recording at your Primary School, please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to email us