Another trip down the M4 for our engineers this morning. This time our destination was round the M25 and a little way up the M1 where we found Roundwood Primary School in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. I got the Harpenden around 6.45am – the advantage of arriving early is that usually somewhere can be found for a spot of breakfast. Luckily, unlike yesterday in Reading, I found a Costa in the centre of Harpenden which was open and welcoming people for coffee and toast!
After a quick bite to eat, I was back in the car and off to the school arriving at 7.30am as usual. I was met by Kate who heads up the PTA at Roundwood and our kit was soon unloaded into the school hall. This particular job was going to require more microphones than usual as at one point during the day we have to record a school orchestra and choir.
Setting up to Record
Knowing we had lots of different groups to record today all the kit was brought into the hall and I tried to prep as much as possible for the various musical groups we would be recording. The day started simply enough with class and year group singing to backing tracks. Thereafter there were some solos, a full orchestra and then a Steel Pan Band.
By 8.45am everything was ready for the first groups to come in and record their songs. The morning proceeded well and each group had been well prepared and most songs were recorded in one or two takes. This took us up to lunch time after which the plan was to setup a different set of mics to record the school orchestra and choir.
First however, Kate had prepared me a rather nice lunch of sandwiches and cake. From what I gather she bakes professionally – certainly the cakes were amazing! For more information check out Kate’s Website – Feeding Time
Recording the Orchestra
Orchestra’s in Primary Schools are a wonderful thing. Sadly there aren’t that many schools who have anything which you could really define as an orchestra. At Roundwood, however, we had the real deal. All parts of the orchestra were represented. So many more microphones were roped in and set up to capture each section. This made it a more challenging recording to balance and mix afterwards, but never mind! The extra effort was worth it for the fantastic music which was being made.
We obviously cannot include a photo of us recording the orchestra, but here is our DAW running 16 channels to capture the full scope of the orchestra and choir.
The day finished with a Staff Song – Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. This was a great rendition with a couple of really good solos. It’s always nice when the staff song is well prepared. It was also great to hear the staff listening back and saying “Oh, we’re actually pretty good”. Yes they were good.
The CD is now available to purchase from the school or you can buy a digital copy online from our shop.