Earlier this week, we travelled to a rural part of Lincolnshire to record the pupils of Bourne Westfield Academy. Bourne is a lovely little village just North of Peterborough. Our last recording in this part of the country was in Lincoln Cathedral which was great fun. However, it was also nice to find out that Bourne wasn’t quite so far from our Wiltshire based studios and only meant leaving at 04.30am.
Arriving at my usual time of 07.30 I found there were some building works going on in the school grounds! I was shown to the music classroom where the recording was to be taking place which fortunately was relatively well soundproofed. That said, the head of music was not particularly impressed to find there was lots of digging scheduled for today as apparently arrangements had been made for only quiet works to occur whilst recording. As it turned out there wasn’t a problem and the building works did not interfere with our recording.
Before too long I had got everything set up and was ready for the first group of performers.
The discussions I’d had before the recording with the head of music, was that we would be recording songs about the times tables. I didn’t have a lot of other information save for there would be three soloists per song and each group would be made up of around 90 children. As it turned out this was exactly the scenario and each group would be singing 2 of the times tables from 2 – 12.
The arrangements had been created by the school’s music teacher with each group singing through the tables over a song they had chosen. Each song took around 20 minutes to record, which is about the norm. This gives time to get the group in, sing through the song as a warm up and check for any bits which need rehearsing. Then we go for a take and usually everything was captured in 1 or 2 takes
By lunchtime we had most of the classes recorded. Above is a rare picture of me out on location taken by the teacher just before I headed out to find some lunch. I particularly like the halo given by the cymbal!
After lunch we carried out a short recording of the school choir. This was actually not part of the original brief but the teacher wanted a recording of the choir singing some African songs. These were not to be featured on the album but instead were to be used to help some of the teachers learn a song I believe. I’m not quite sure what had happened, but someone else was meant to be helping with this and, for some reason, had failed. Regardless of the issue, if we can help out whilst on location, it’s no trouble at all. So lunch was cut a little short (which is fine!) and we spent half an hour recording the choir. Hopefully these tracks have will be useful to help others learn the songs.
At the end of the day
We carried on recording the times tables into the afternoon and were finished by around 2.30pm. With a little help from some of the pupils we were soon packed away and had some assistance carrying the boxes out to the car park. I had a lovely time recording at Bourne Westfield and this was a really interesting project to work on. There is already talk of promoting these songs to a wider audience. Aside of a few copyright implications I think there is definitely scope to turn this into a much bigger project than it is and would welcome the chance to help Rebecca and the team at Bourne Westfield achieve something great.
In the meantime, we will work on producing the current album, which should be ready by the beginning of the Summer term (which to me is the one immediately following Easter – I’m never sure whether schools follow 3 or 6 terms nowadays!). Either way the album will be ready shortly!
If you would like to find out more about our recording services for schools in the UK then please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to email us