We have now recorded at quite a few schools in Newcastle despite this being the opposite corner of the country to where our studios are based down in the South West. Fortunately this particular trip to Jarrow followed a recording we had done the previous day in Blackburn. It was therefore a relatively short and rather scenic drive across the Yorkshire Dales. As usual I had arranged a Premier Inn which was literally moments from the school. Not only was there time for dinner this also meant there was time for breakfast in the morning too! When you have been on the road for what seems like weeks at a time, these small ‘luxuries’ count for a lot!
After a fairly decent breakfast there was just about time to refuel the car at Morrisons before heading to the school for today’s recording. Arriving just before 07.30am I was met by the caretaker who let me in. The school hall was just inside the main entrance. However, with half the kit unloaded into the hall, my main contact for the day arrived. It then transpired we were not in fact using the hall on the ground floor. But instead the recording would take place in the ‘other hall’ on the top floor!
No matter, luckily I regard lugging recording gear around as a cheaper alternative to going to the gym. Before too long everything was relocated upstairs and I was brought tea and biscuits!
Without any soloists on this particular recording the setup was fairly straightforward. Most of the backing tracks were supplied either through a school laptop or on a CD. Luckily we can easily cater for both these options. Predictably with this being a Roman Catholic School there was more of a religious flavour to the songs, compared to some schools we visit. But that makes a nice change.
Getting the artwork done
As this was one of the later Christmas recordings for 2019, it was quite important to get the artwork done and agreed on site as we were rapidly running out of production time before the end of term. The school very kindly produced me a school lunch. By taking this into the staff room along with my laptop I was able not only to get the artwork done but also get it signed off and approved by the Head Teacher all at the same time.
After a couple of retakes the recording was then all wrapped up by 2.30pm. The gear was packed away and I headed off down the M1 to the next recording which was in Hertford!