Witnessing the Recording Process
by Kelly Kingsbury ('01, '02, faculty, into perpetuity...)
This past January while most of the Notre Dame student body was enjoying the last week of Christmas break, the members of the Folk Choir reunited a bit earlier than usual in order to record Witness of the Saints, the choir's newest release. We congregated at the Sacred Heart parish center and, as seems to happen with most large-scale Folk Choir undertakings, our activities were scheduled as follows: sing, eat, sing, eat, sing, sing, eat, sing, eat, sleep, eat, sing, eat, sing . . . repeat ad lib until recording is finished or spring semester classes begin, whichever comes first.
Alternately singing and eating nonstop for days at a time is a familiar routine for Folkheads, but for most of the current choir members, recording a CD was an entirely new experience. A few of us had the privilege of participating in "The Seven Signs" and "Crossroads of Praise" several years ago, and much about this recording was comparable: those two albums were also recorded in the chapel of the Parish Center, and once again we were blessed with the collaboration of Gary Daigle, who still can hear us in the next room when we whisper his name into the microphones. We were also, once again, at the mercy of the Michiana Regional Airport's schedule, as the parish center happens to be under the flight path of incoming planes. The sound of their engines ruined a few takes. A few others were interrupted by honking - not from cars, from GEESE. The unseasonably warm January weather made them think spring had come and it was time to mate. Hey, I'd be excited about that too. (Or maybe they just wanted to make it onto the CD . . .)
Interruptions aside, though, the creation of Witness of the Saints was a wonderful, grace-filled and truly unique process. Guest musicians Nathan Warner, Jaime Cortez and the St. Matthew's Cathedral children's choir under the direction of Sharon Priemer shared the journey with us. The project required a lot of hard work and intense concentration, but it was also a fun-filled opportunity to spend lots of time with choir members and build community and friendships, something like a week-long slumber party. And it has been truly rewarding to listen to Witness of the Saints and know that the music we made together this past January is going out into the world to touch hearts and carry the words of these holy men and women to people across the country and around the world.
Below are thumbnails of pictures from the recording. You can click on each to open the picture in a new window.
[left – right] Gary Daigle, our fine producer; in the recording studio (a.k.a. the chapel); KC and mini-KC; breakfast for the singers