For this recording with the Chapel Choir of the Royal Agricultural University, we found ourself back in the Parish Church of St John Baptist in Cirencester. It’s said that life is often about who you know. When I’m not recording for 4 Part Music, I spend a lot of time in Cirencester as I Direct the Cirencester Male Voice Choir. Eagle eyed readers may have seen that we recorded them earlier this year. And so, because of the time I spend in Cirencester I know Hugo Kennard who is currently the Assistant Organist at the Parish Church. When he is not playing the organ, amongst the many hats that Hugo wears, is one entitled Musical Director and Accompanist for the RAU Chapel Choir.
And so it was that I was back in Cirencester, this time on a Tuesday evening, to record with Hugo and his Choir from the Royal Ag University.
The Chapel Choir
The Royal Agricultural University choir is open to everyone from first years to postgrads, all abilities welcome as long as they bring enthusiasm! The choir rehearse once a week in the Chapel on campus and have two main performances a year at Remembrance and the Carol Services. Although not specifically a religious choir, all members are invited to join the Cirencester Parish Church choir if they would like to.
Since Hugo took over the choir 3 years ago, they have gone from strength to strength and now sing at both the University and the Parish Church in Cirencester for many different services and events throughout the year. The choir is increasingly in demand and will be singing at Gloucester Cathedral early in the next academic term by invitation from the Bishop of Gloucester. The choir, like so many, also has an important social function and brings together students who may otherwise never have met.
Hugo began his career as a chorister at Chichester Cathedral. He studied for a degree in church and choral music at Canterbury Christ Church University and has held positions at Several Cathedrals in the country.
Hugo has performed as a soloist, accompanist and choral director all over the world including Notre-Dame de Paris, Berliner Dom, Canterbury Cathedral, St Pauls, Rochester, York, Salisbury, Glasgow, Chelmsford, Chichester, Gent, Brugge and Rheims to name but a few. Hugo lives in Cirencester with his family and works at both the Parish Church and the RAU.
Being familiar with a venue always helps when it comes to setting up to record. The plan was to record a combination of choir unaccompanied as well as some pieces with piano and some with organ.
The recording session was planned to take place over a single evening, but with a second evening provisionally booked and held in reserve if needed. As it turned out the choir were so well prepared that we recorded 9 tracks in a single session between around 5pm and 9.30pm.
‘How long does it take to record a choir?’, is a common question we get asked. Trouble is there really is no simple answer to the question. Technically to record a song which lasts 5 minutes will take 5 minutes! But then factor in time to listen back and highlight anything to be done again. Then factor in time to rehearse the errant bit(s) before going for another take. Before you know it 45 minutes have quickly passed by and all you have is one and half takes of a single track!
Above is a short clip of the choir rehearsing the second verse of O Holy Night before we went for a take.
We had a great time recording the RAU Chapel Choir and the CD was produced within 10 days of the recording session and is now available from members of the choir or via Hugo at the Parish Church in Cirencester.
To find out more about our Recording Services for Choirs you can contact us by telephone on 01225 302143 or click here to email us