The Making of Come, Sable Night
Cough drops and thermoses in hand, recording for Come, Sable Night commenced on a February afternoon in Laidlaw’s McPherson Recital Room.
Exited energy filled the room - after a few intense weeks of extra Saturday rehearsals, we couldn't wait to get started. First, we met Andrew Forbes, Director of Music at Glasgow Cathedral and recording engineer/producer extraordinaire, who would be guiding us through the process and editing our final CD. His voice echoed majestically from the heavens (the room next door) to test our mics, we warmed up, and recording began!
We recorded each piece first by singing them all the way through, then going back to rerecord small patches and sections here and there to make sure all our s's and t's lined up, and phrases sounded as expressive as they could be. Our first five-hour session was definitely a challenge in focus, stamina, and balancing artistry with technique as we made our way through exuberant verses of Come Again and more somber takes of Hear My Prayer, O Lord.
It wasn't just our voices that were haunting, though. Throughout the course of the recording, we were plagued by a mysterious E flat floating in and out of various pieces -- that apparently only Andrew (and one time, Nathanael) seemed to hear. It was almost as if a long-lost soprano had come back to curse us… or maybe it was just Anna. Nevertheless, we carried on, with periodic yoga sessions and dance breaks to keep spirits up.
After two more four-hour blocks on Saturday, we finally wrapped at 7pm with tired vocal cords and a whole lot of joy. It was hard work, but so much fun - lying on the floor between takes and popping endless Vocalzones was absolutely a bonding experience for all of us, and working with Andrew was an absolute pleasure and honor. I think we’d all like to hear him call us “divine” over the god mic one more time. We can't thank him enough for everything he's done for us!
All in all, Come, Sable Night was another successful CD recording in the books! Hear how it came out in these excerpts, or by streaming the full album on Spotify.
Victoria Lee is an alto in her second year, and MadGroup's treasurer for the 2022-23 term. If you think anything she wrote sounds funny, it's because she's American.