University of Oxford – Worcester College – Choir Recording

Worcester College

As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, 4 Part Music were commissioned by Stephen Darlington at Worcester College Oxford to  Record the annual service of Lessons and Carols


The coronavirus pandemic in the UK changed the way everything happened.  This was nowhere more in evidence than the annual Christmas Services and concerts which would normally fill our calendars in December.  To this end 4 Part Music were commissioned by Dr Stephen Darlington to record Worcester College Chapel Choir in their annual service of 9 lessons and carols.

The brief

With the choir able to meet but no one else able to attend chapel services (December 2020) the best option was to make a professional recording of the choir singing the services of 9 lessons and carols.  This would then be turned into an online video presentation and the intention was to distribute it amongst the college alumni.

Covid Secure Recording

The choir have been singing together socially distanced in a bubble for a while. But nevertheless were placed behind a plastic screen.    The doors to the chapel were kept open throughout the recording session for ventilation purpose. This is of course not ideal when it comes to recording as a slight breath of wind on the microphones can sound like a full blown gale when it comes to listening back.  This is where the plastic screen helped.

The Recording

As well as the choir we were also recording the organ.  Helpfully the organ was positioned at one end of the chapel but mostly speaks side on. This meant a separate array of microphones had to be put in to capture the organ but in such a way it could then be balanced against the choir in post production.

Worcester College Oxford, Organ
The Worcester Chapel Organ

As well as the choir we also recorded the college chaplain and students reading the spoken elements of the service.  This service was specifically billed as lessons and carols rather than 9 lessons. The focus was very much on the music but nevertheless the final production was presented as a service rather than a concert.

The final production

Once the recording session was completed, we set about post production of the audio.  WIth this being a video based presentation, thought also had to be given to the video content.  We had only captured audio of the choir.  The main thinking was to include a series of photographs of the college and its surroundings to play during the course of the service.

You can watch the video below.

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