OAMC Rehearsal Recording Session

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The official Oregon Adventist Mens Chorus Web Page

THE OAMC

The Oregon Adventist Men's Chorus is a group of singers from around the Pacific Northwest, mostly from the states of Oregon and Washington, USA.  The singers are mostly from Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Oregon Conference, with additional friends, and are frequently joined by SDA Men's Choruses from the California and Washington.

Since the group is so geographically diversified, they are not able to rehearse all together until the evening before the concert performance(s). To make it easier for the singers to rehearse their music when they are isolated without a group to sing with, a conductor, or even an accompanist, the OAMC produces rehearsal tapes which are distributed to the members (along with the music binders) four months prior to the performance.

READING SESSION RECORDING

In December, a select group of singers is brought together to sing through the 60-70 potential candidates for the May concert. Audio  compact disk sets are produced from this reading session and the CDs are used by the executive committee during the final programming of the concert.

REHEARSAL RECORDING SESSION

In January, a group of good singers and sight-readers are brought together to make a rehearsal recording of the final selections from the concert program. This process of recording around 15 numbers usually takes all Saturday afternoon and evening, and the entire folowing Sunday.

The rehearsal recording is produced by placing the individual voice sections together around a circle facing each other (see diagram and pictures). This not only allows the singers to hear the other vocal parts, but also helps limit the microphones to pick up only the intended section.

SEPARATE VOICE PART RECORDING

Each voice part is recorded on a separate channel of a digital 8-track audio recorder (Alesis ADAT). The piano accompaniment and solo(s) are also each recorded on their own dedicated track for a final layout of:

Track

 Part

1 First Tenor
2 Second Tenor
3 First Bass (Baritone)
4 Second Bass
5 Solos
6 Piano Accompaniment
7 unused
8 unused
RECORDING PRODUCER

During the recording process, a producer is listening to the mix or the individual voice parts with the Solo function on the mixer. Any significant deviation from the published arrangements is detected and the producer will "CUT" the take so we can start over. Minor issues are noted in the score for later inclusion in a printed errata sheet which is distributed with the tapes.

SEPARATE VOICE MIXES

A separate mix is produced for each voice part. For example the First Tenor part is recorded on the left channel (with a little piano accompaniment leaked in for reference). The other three voice parts, the rest of the piano accompaniment, and any solos are recorded on the right channel. A mix like this is done for each of the four vocal sections.

This allows the chorus members to use a tape with their own part highlighted on the left channel. They can use the balance control on their tape player to listen to just their own isolated part, just the other parts, or a combination of the two.

KEY LEARNINGS
  • DO make the rehearsal recording at the intended tempo.
    It is easier to learn it at speed than to relearn the proper tempo.
  • DO make the rehearsal recording with the intended rubatos.
    Again it is easier to learn it up front than to change it just before performance!
  • DO make sure all divisi are covered in the proper sections.
    The chorus members will learn much better if the written music and instructions don't conflict with what they are hearing.
  • DO use rehearsal piano accompaniment where needed.
    Even if performance will be acapella, singers will learn notes and cadences better.
  • DO use audible cues during rehearsal recording
    Audible clapping, snapping fingers, or vocal commands will not only keep recording session singers together, but will reinforce singers using tapes for rehearsal.
  • DO have a musician (producer) monitoring recording.
    Should be responsible to stop and do another take in case of gross error.
  • DO leak some piano accompaniment into highlighted part (left) track.
    This provides reference for singers isolating their own part.
  • DON'T mix solos into isolated part. Keep solos on right channel.
    Mixing in solos confuses some singers and makes parts harder to learn.
  • DON'T distribute tapes with significant issues.
    The singers will learn the parts as recorded on the tape!
  • DO remind singers that the rehearsal tapes are not perfect.
    Include written erratta sheets for minor errors or other instructions. Recordings are not intended as finished performances, but as aids to practice.
  • DO create balanced TTBB mix and distribute on CDs and tapes.
    For use by small groups getting toghether to rehearse without accompanist.

rcrowley.com OAMC Rehearsal Recording Session

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