Sunday, September 9, 2012

Recording a CD - Cantate Domino Part 3 - the singers prepare...

Emotions are high and giddiness ensues
             Yes.. at this point we were a bit giddy. 
 Not halfway there yet -- but we had a PLAN. 

The following guide was drafted by our director, Pete, who sent the PDF to us the week before we started recording. 

We now know how true, how true! Now, I will turn this post over to Pete --

HOW-TO prepare for

a SUCCESSFUL recording session...

Josee and Diane during a break.
• Bring lots of liquid, water, tea, whatever works for you.

• Watch out for thermos type containers with pressure release mechanisms. We had arecording delayed for quite some time trying to find out what the heck was making thatweird popping sound.
Jay foils the ticking clock by removing the battery

• Bring munchies

• Bring your dinner with you if we are recording over a dinner hour. It is hard to sing on a full tummy, so best to make wise food choices.

• Leaving during the dinner break to go home and eat or to pick something up is not suggested. I would ask that all of you bring your food with you. Leaving the recording session can introduce a whole new host of problems and delays. Let’s all stick together throughout please. No problem going outside to get some air or to unwind, but no extended excursions.

David arriving carrying light poles and Josee helping

VERY IMPORTANT: We have a couple members who have anaphylactic reactions to sunflower seeds or oil, and all nuts. Please avoid these in the foods that you bring with


• Dress comfortably but also watch for the kind of clothing you wear. Some clothing makes noise when you move.

• Wear comfy footwear; preferably something that won't contribute to the audio track ofthe recording. Squeaky shoes for instance.

• Bring change of clothing to maximize comfort. Sweater to warm up or t-shirt, shorts, to cool down.


• Do not use any perfumes or scents.

• Be careful of creams you use on your skin, shampoo, hair gels or any other makeup
products. Almost 90% of the ones claiming to be scent free are not. Your nose will
reveal the truth about these. I also have a tough time with newsprint so please avoid

bring newspapers and local rags to read.


• Bring lozenges if that helps you. Whatever makes your voices work better do it.
Adam grabs some winks

• Get lots of rest before the recording. Arriving tired will affect intonation and pitch. You have to have lots of energy when you're doing this sort of thing.

• Prepare your music to minimize page turns.

• Know your pieces well. I direct the pieces during the recording so you have to watch me as well as your music.

• Warm up your voice prior to start time.

• Keep a positive attitude throughout. Positivism is infectious. Negativism is more infectious.

All smiles even after hours and hours...

• If you're beginning to feel negative, don't share. The recording can be a very long process and you may spend an hour on just one section of a piece. This can easily lead to a negative attitude and that negativism is much more infectious than positivism.

• To start a song we first sing the first note to get the pitch right. The engineer gives us the ok, and we start. When we stop, it is important to count to 5 before moving or speaking or breathing, especially in a church like St-Barnabas where the echo will ring quite a while after we’ve stopped.

Our director gives us the first note
• If you make a mistake while recording or mispronounce a word, do not stop. If it’s
something really obvious, more than likely I’ll catch it and stop the recording. If i don’t
stop it’s still very important that you mention the error immediately after the take, so I can check the recording in case we need to redo.

Jay Fee, sound recording engineer extraordinaire

• Our engineer has a pretty keen ear and will listen for external problems or noises that may influence the recording. He may indicate for us to stop and redo a take as well.

Pete (from the actual notes given to choir members)

You can pre-order CANTATE DOMINO HERE

Cantate Domino is dedicated to the memory of Paul Churchill, Tenor, whose voice and heart will be forever remembered.

Cantate Domino will be pressed in October -- if you live in the Ottawa area, you can purchase our CDs directly from choir members. 

You can also buy them at Ottawa area stores, online, or at our live concerts.

 Recording a CD -- part 1  part 2 

Oooo skip ahead - part 3  part 4   part 5  part 6


  1. And, of course, if we record a CD in winter, we also have to plan to wear warm clothes in case we have to turn off clicking fans or loud furnaces, but not too bulky lest our jackets make swishy sounds.

    And no loud watches, jangly/jingly jewellery.

    1. IF we record in winter? I seem to recall... was it February? We had to do just that. The furnace was like a grumbling dragon in the basement.


You can also email your questions to me - info (at) stairwellcarollers (dot) com.
Holly :)

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