One of the most common questions we get asked by schools is, ‘Do you cover our area?’ The answer, provided that school is on the UK Mainland, is always yes. Today, however, for the first time we took our recording gear overseas on a ferry. Admittedly it was a very small ferry and the sea was in fact The Solent.
Nevertheless technically this could be classed as our first school recording overseas. And as this was also, therefore, the first time we were at least partially reliant on public transport to get us there on time, we made sure we got to the ferry terminal in plenty of time. As it turned out plenty of time was an hour earlier than necessary and even the man on the gate was surprised to see us!
The plan was to catch the 06.10 ferry from Lymington. The crossing was apparently around 40 minutes and the school in Gurnard was about a 25 minute drive. On this basis, and assuming of course everything ran to time, we would arrive at the school around our usual time of 07.30am.
The ferry was indeed absolutely on time, docking into Yarmouth just before 7am. As we had allowed a little more time than strictly necessary and ended up first in the queue, we were also first off the ferry and soon on our way to Gurnard. Now of course eagle eyed readers will notice that Gurnard is essentially part of Cowes. We did debate the Southampton to Cowes ferry. However, for a start Southampton is further from our Bath Studios and also I had heard mixed stories about the chainlink ferry which now connects East and West Cowes. Lymington to Yarmouth seemed the more sensible, and in fact quicker option.
The School Recording
It was a lovely sunny day on the Isle of Wight and we arrived at Gurnard Primary School in good time. There are several reasons why we try to arrive at 07.30. Firstly it means we can avoid the traffic and do all our travelling when the rest of the country is still asleep or having breakfast. Second it gives plenty of time to unload our recording gear and get everything set up to start recording from 9am.
Once all the kit was unloaded into the school hall we began setting up for today’s recording. We had already been made aware of a number of soloists featuring in different songs. This is always useful to know as it helps us to plan which microphones to use and means we can get everything in place beforehand rather than making changes to our setup during the recording session.
Lots of schools often comment on just how much kit we bring in to a Primary School. From what I have heard, schools who have used other companies offering this service are used to a single sound engineer turning up with not much more than a rucksack and one or two microphones. At Recordings 4 Schools we prefer to do things properly. Ultimately we specced our recording rig to the highest level so we could record some of the best choirs in the UK.
To us, recording a Primary School is no different to recording a professional choir. We have always believed that schools deserve the opportunity to record to the same high quality as everyone else. We also stick to the view that you are only ever as good as your last job.
We had a great time recording at Gurnard Primary School on the Isle of Wight. The artwork has already been signed off and the CD will shortly go into production.