Last week, we were recording on location at Saint Christina’s Prep School in St John’s Wood, London. Although central London is not far in terms of distance from our Wiltshire studios, it can often take much longer than we expect. The journey to the end of the M4 is simple enough, but then traffic tends to occur, no matter how early we leave. Despite this, I arrived at Saint Christina’s on the dot of 07.30 and was met by the Head of Music, arriving at almost the same time.
Luckily, despite its central location, the school had a small car park and it wasn’t far from the main entrance to the school hall where the recording would be taking place. With a little help, the kit was soon unloaded and everything was set up for the first group to start recording at 9am.
Unlike a lot of the school recordings we are engaged with at the moment this one had absolutely no backing tracks being used. The Head of Music, James Rhodes, was very clear everything would be ‘done properly’ and with piano accompaniment. The school had a very nice Baby Grand Piano which was also recently tuned. This is something we always remind people when booking a recording – do check the instrument(s) you are proposing to use are in tune, or can be tuned on the day!
With microphones in position, we were soon ready to record (yes I realise the photo above shows the piano mics in an unsuitable position and not yet connected..!).
Recording the pupils of St Christina’s
The first few songs to be recorded were being sung by the whole school. This meant around 130 pupils in the hall along with the teaching staff. Fortunately there was still plenty of space. Sometimes when we record whole school singing in larger schools, every last inch of the hall is being used.
The CD is intended to form part of the school’s 70th anniversary celebrations in 2019.
Later on in the day we recorded the different choirs along with some singing by year group. There was a short break for lunch, but helpfully everyone had been ordered a packed lunch which meant that nothing had to be cleared out of the hall. As an added bonus I was issued with a lunch too!
Recording the Staff Song
After lunch we set about recording the staff song. Unlike a lot of schools where this involves all the teachers singing their favourite song off You Tube (not that there is anything wrong with that I hasten to add), this was billed as the ‘Music team’. The chosen song was Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and the ‘band’ was 2 guitars, flute, viola and a professional soprano (who just happened to be James’ wife!).
If you would like to find out more about recording a CD at your Prep School in London, or elsewhere in the UK then please call us on 01225 302143. Alternatively you can send us an email via the contact form.