A couple of weeks ago just before 6pm on a Friday evening we received a contact form enquiry via our website from Charlie at West End Musical Choir looking to engage us to help with a recording. On the basis that new business is always welcome, instead of filing it under things to do on Monday, I read through the enquiry. And good job I did because it was asking for someone to come and record the choir in central London the following morning!
Picking up the telephone I made contact with Charlie who is the founder of West End Musical Choir and before much longer it was arranged that we would undertake the recording on location in Fulham at 8am the following morning.
Making Preparations to Record
Essentially we are always ready to record at the drop of a hat. It takes moments to load the recording gear and we can easily get to most parts of the UK within a few hours. London isn’t too far from out Wiltshire Studio and there was very little traffic on a Saturday morning. However there are certain practical matters to consider. Firstly we needed to know about unloading and parking facilities for the day. This is particularly relevant with recordings in central London as accessible parking can often be at a premium.
With a little research it was found there was a loading bay just outside the church which could be used before 10am for the purpose of getting the kit from the car into the church. Usually when I drive into London I use an app called ‘Just Park’ which is a great way to find cost effective parking spaces in London. A quick click into the app the night before found a parking space just 0.2 miles away from the church which was just £3 for the day. This represents an absolute bargain for parking in central London and meant there was no time limits placed on the recording session.
Once everything was unloaded into the church I set up on the stage. The church was a reasonable size, but we also had to accommodate 160 singers who all needed chairs for the duration of the session. With the aid of a coffee kindly provided by the choir production team, the microphones were soon in place and I was ready to record once all the singers had arrived. You can see some photos of the recording session further down the page.
We had 6 songs to record and the choir Production team had carefully scheduled the session down to the last minute. We began at 10.15, following a short choir warmup, with Come to my Garden. The schedule stated there was 17 minutes 48 seconds to work on the song which would allow time for two takes!
Keeping exactly to schedule the choirs MD navigated his way through the songs exactly on time – showing just how well prepared this choir were for the recording session.
Prior to recording with us, West End Musical Choir have also recorded at Abbey Road – this alone gives you an indication of just how good this choir are. In fact we were honoured to be trusted with the recording gig, particularly at such short notice. But, that said, recording large choirs on location is one of our specialities and we were very pleased with the initial results.
Unlike most of our recordings this one had a curious requirement in terms of the balance. The brief was to record the choir but focus the balance more towards the backing track rather than the voices. I believe the intention is to use the tracks to support live performances rather than specifically to sell as an album or download. Below you can hear a preview of one of the tracks we recorded. This one has been balanced more towards a choral sound although it is perhaps still a little weighted towards the backing.
Below are a few photos from the recording session with West End Musical Choir at St John’s Church in Fulham, London.