Recording The Choir Factor with their Musical Director Esther Betts on location in Gloucester
Last weekend we travelled to Gloucester to record The Choir Factor. Describing themselves as ‘Gloucestershire’s original contemporary pop choir’, The Choir Factor sing songs from the past through to the present day. We have been looking forward to this recording for some time and have had several conversations with Esther and her husband in the run up to the recording session, planing all aspects of the day. Based on these conversations I had a feeling we were in for a fun day, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Access and Setup
For us a key part of the planing involves gaining access to the recording venue ahead of the choir so we have time to set up the recording gear without ‘interruption’. The venue for this particular recording was Robinswood Primary School in Gloucester. Shelly and I turned up at 07.30 as agreed and in line with discussions we found the hall was open and ready for us to set up. Parking was available right outside the door – always much easier to access schools during the holidays!
To keep things simple and keep ourselves out the way, we put the choir on the floor of the hall and set up our engineering desk on the stage. Digging around a bit at the back of the stage, we found two rather comfortable looking chairs which were soon implemented for Shelly and I to sit on.
The Recording Session
The Choir Factor consists of around 70 singers in all who mostly sing to backing tracks and are directed by Esther Betts. By 09.30 everything was ready and the choir came in to start recording. We had around a dozen songs to record with various different groups. Most of the songs were sung by the full choir, but there were also some smaller groups and solo songs to record throughout the day. We started with full choir:
After a few songs with the full choir, most of the singers were given a break whilst a smaller group stayed on to record Please Mr Postman. We took a short video during one of the takes on our Go Pro – obviously the audio is just captured by the camera so in no way indicative of the audio we recorded separately for the CD! But it gives you a little insight into just how good this little group was!
The full choir then returned and, already well ahead of schedule we proceeded to record a couple of more songs before the planned lunch break at 12.30. Here is an excerpt from the choir rehearsing ‘Run’ before we recorded a take.
Once we had finished recording all the choir songs, we started on the solo and smaller groups. Soloists are better done separately once the choir has gone and we set up a make shift studio in the space available.
As well as a soloist we also had a trio to record which included Esther singing as well. We followed the same format for this, and fed the backing track into headphones for each of the three singers. Sounds simple, but actually trying to sing with the backing track playing into your ears as well as a balance of the other singers can be quite a tricky thing until you get used to it. These guys were professionals however, and soon we had some great takes recorded.
We had a great day recording The Choir Factor – the album is now in production and should be available in the next few weeks.
To find out more about Recording your Community Choir on location anywhere in the UK then please get in touch
Telephone – 01225 302 143
Email – Contact Form