We spent the last two days recording our new album, The Glory of His Grace! What goes into recording an album? A lot! Over 2000 hours of singer practice, 38 voices, 16 composers and 16 songs, 4 section leaders and 4 section managers, several cooks (mainly Kendra), 1 choir manager, 1 recording engineer, 1 recording producer, and last but not certainly not least 1 conductor. Also many gallons of water and many bathroom visits, gotta stay hydrated!
We arrived at 8:30 and worked until 5:30 both days with an hour off for lunch and breaks between every song. All the singers arrived at least partially warmed up. Most of the singers will spend around 30 minutes warming up before we try to sing together. The talented Brad Zabelski of Traveling Tracks already had his recording equipment in place when we arrived, and remained unobtrusive throughout the recording process, other than to offer a suggestion once in a while. Brandon Mullet was also on hand to offer valuable insight as our producer.
Typically we will have three or four takes (recorded performances that we can use) on each song. Depending on how well we know a song, we may do the first take without working on anything, or we may work on a problem spot or two. Once we have a decent take, our conductor, Wendell, will listen to it.
Recording will always be exhausting work, with lots of do-overs. Many, many water bottles fall on the hardwood floor. People can try to hold in a cough or sneeze until they are red in the face, but won’t always succeed. Sometimes we get tired and are subject to uncontrollable giggle fits. If one person hits a noticeable wrong note, we have to start again. We have to learn to purify pitch and emotion in order to convey our message to people we aren’t present. Singing passionately to an empty hall takes incredible mental focus and energy.
It sounds intense, and it is; but at the end of the day, we all love each other and are so grateful that we get a chance to be a part of this process. Music like this is achingly beautiful and we catch glimpses of heaven by singing it as a well-tuned body. Each person works hard every day to become not only a better musician, but also a better person. One who reflects the Glory of His Grace. I hope you will enjoy listening to us as much as we enjoy singing for you. May God’s Glory shine!