Recording '50 Golden Years'
Major milestones are worth recording; and so it was for Northallerton Male Voice Choir in 2018.
Following its formation in 1968, NMVC looked forward to celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2018 with a programme of special events to mark the occasion.
Plans were made for the Choir to record its third album, which was planned to be titled '50 Golden Years' in recognition of achieving this milestone age.
Dates for the recording were set for 10th and 11th of February 2018, to give sufficient time for the tracks to be edited and the CDs produced in advance of going on sale at our celebratory 50th Anniversary Summer Concert to be held in June.
Andrea Rhodes, the Choir's Musical Director, said 'We had performed in St. John's Church in Sharow, near Ripon a couple of times before and the Choir was really impressed with the acoustics of the hall. We approached the Church's council to seek permission to use the church for our recording and they were only too happy to agree.'
The recording took place over two days on a weekend when the church wasn't being used for services.
Peter Spencer, the Choir's Librarian commented 'it's a great building to sing in as the hall is wide and open. It has a reasonably low and flat ceiling and since the pews were removed and the new floor was laid the sound made by the choir bounces back to give a really bright sound.
The Choir was fortunate to secure the skills of Matthew Rhodes to record the tracks. Jim Dale, the Choir's Stage Manager, said 'When we got there, Matt had already set up his recording equipment. There were mics and cables everywhere; he'd transformed the church into a recording studio.'
The choir had been rehearsing the songs for the CD for many months. However, recording the tracks was still quite hard work and time consuming. Keith Blenkiron, one of the choir's Top Tenors, indicated 'We started by just rehearsing each piece through so that Andrea could correct any slight errors and then for some we rehearsed them again to make sure that everything was right. Then we recorded each song two or three times so that Matthew could either select the best version or edit together the best sections of each one. Recording each song took about an hour and as we recorded 14 tracks, it was quite an intense couple of days.'
A broad range of songs was recorded, some both traditional and more modern, including tracks such as:
Simon and Garfunkle's 'Bridge over Troubled Water';
Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' from the soundtrack of the film Shrek;
Bill Wither's 'Lean on Me';
The Hollies 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother';
as well as Mozart's 'Ave Verum' and John Newton's 'Amazing Grace' arranged by Ed Lojeski to name a few.