Last week, we made our second trip to the town of Wallasey in the Metropolitan borough of The Wirral. Wallasey is situated on the mouth of the River Mersey at the North Eastern corner of the Wirral Peninsula. Basically it’s just a little bit further than the back end of nowhere! At least that’s how it felt when we arrived outside a Costa at 6.50am having been driving for four hours, only to find it was closed and didn’t open until 7.30am. Fortunately the Morrisons next door was just about to open at 7am and this afforded us a chance to find something vaguely palatable which would be called breakfast.
Despite Wallasey being some 200 miles from our Wiltshire based studios, we had to get up even earlier on this occasion as the school wanted to start recording around 08.15am and so it seemed best to start setting up at 07.15. Having been to Mount Primary School before I was at least safe in the knowledge that we could park right outside the doors to the school hall which would make loading and unloading very simple. I pointed this out to Shelly as we arrived and confidently parked the van near to the hall doors. We then went to reception to find no one else was there – people were on site but there was no one around to let us in! A few minutes later someone spotted us lurking in the reception area and we were let in.
Setting up at Mount Primary School
Do you know where you’re going they said? “Yes I believe so”, I confidently replied. However on arrival in the school hall, we were then told by another member of staff that in fact the recording was in a different place this year. It would be back out the door, down to reception, along the long corridor, up two flights of stairs, turn to the left and go through the door at the end…
Unloading the recording gear took a little longer than I had originally planned! Luckily we still had plenty of time and with two of us it was quite a lot quicker than it might otherwise have been. By 08.30 we were set up and ready to go.
As you can see there wasn’t a lot of room and on this occasion we were not recording any whole school songs. Everyone was involved but the recording was going to be by class and year group.
Recording the Staff Song
The first group to come and record their song were the staff who sang ‘All I want for Christmas’ with a fabulous solo to open the song and indeed the album.
Of course as with all staff recording sessions, everyone immediately went to the back and we had the usually choruses of ‘I can’t sing’, or ‘You don’t want my voice on it’…. Over the years we have learnt to ignore this as in the vast majority of cases the staff songs are actually rather good. This one was certainly no exception particularly the outstanding solo voice at the beginning.
The recording day
We made good progress throughout the morning and by the time the sun had risen we were nearly done. We do not impose time limits on our recording sessions, other than the length of the school day. Sometimes we record right up to 3pm, sometimes we are finished by lunchtime. The advantage of not recording in the school hall was that we didn’t have to stop a bit earlier in order to move things out of the way whilst tables were set up for lunch. As a result we were finished recording at Mount Primary by 12.30.
Just as we recorded the very last note of the day, the fire alarm went off and everyone had to be evacuated. We have only once before (in 16 years) ever had to stop recording for a fire alarm. And it was the recording we did at Mount Primary in 2017. Apparently they have issues with their fire alarm and it goes off several times a week! And presumably has been doing so for at least a year, possibly longer! We were told that the council won’t / can’t give the school money to have it sorted out.
I’ve no idea how much school fire alarms cost, but it does seem to be a serious inconvenience to all the staff and pupils, and potentially wasting good lesson time. Hopefully Wirral Council will see fit to do something about this fairly soon!
Fire alarm aside, we had a lovely time recording at Mount Primary School and look forward to returning there again soon.
If you would like to find out just how easy it is to record a CD / Digital album in your school then please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to email us