Spring Break Greetings from the Outdoor Office warmed to 80 delightful degrees!
A gentle breeze and a garden in full bloom makes me wish an avoidance of the inevitable swelter could be possible!
My report today is about the marvelous Saturday recording session we had in Hamilton, Ohio on the northern edge of Cincinnati. As you’ve read in these pages, PARMA Recordings from New Hampshire is producing a Christmas/Holiday recording which will be a compilation of the works of several composers. My pieces, In the Bleak Midwinter and Balulalow were selected to be included in this recording. PARMA also invited me to attend the recording session last Saturday in the sanctuary of Hamilton’s First United Methodist Church.
The PARMA recording staff was outstanding! Session manager Matt Konrad was on top of everything with a relaxed attitude that was all business. His choral background really helped to communicate with the choir and conductor during the session. A&R rep Brandon MacNeil made sure everything ran smoothly and addressed the needs of many participants.
The choir was a “pick-up” group of wonderful singers, many of whom were masters and doctoral students at the Cincinnati Conservatory. They had a long day which began at 9 am. My session didn’t begin until about 2:30. We were supposed to go from 1-3 pm, but they had to do some additional takes on some complex scores from fellow composer Christopher Hoh.
The marvelous conductor was Paul John Stanbery. Paul is music director of the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, a composer, and a church musician. He had an uncanny affinity for my music and incorporated many of my ideas into the session without me saying anything! He made two comments to the ensemble that were gratifying to me. About In the Bleak Midwinter he said, “I think this is the best piece we done this entire session.” About Balulalow he said, “Isn’t it wonderful when a composer knows how to make the choir sound great.”
All in all it was a superb weekend. Aija and I had some excellent meals in various Cincinnati locations, and, to celebrate, on Saturday night we took in a Cincinnati Cyclones hockey game!
The next step in the CD production process is the creation of the master. Matt and Brandon took the hard disks containing the raw recorded material back to the studio in New Hampshire where the production team will take over. In two to three weeks I will receive a copy of the initial master and will have an opportunity to add my comments and suggestions. Still to come will be the creation of the liner notes and the cover artwork. The recording will be on the Navona label and will be available in the fall through Naxos as well as Spotify, Barnes & Noble, and other outlets. I hope you’ll put some on your Christmas lists.
In other news, Thursday I’m off to Clearwater for the annual spring training jaunt. This year I’ll see the Phillies against the Rays, Pirates, and Blue Jays. I’ll also check out Pier 60 and the beach and visit Lenny’s for my yearly scrapple fix! (I am, after all, a Pennsylvania Dutch boy!)
Have a great week, especially if, like me, you’re on spring break! I’ll see you ONLINE! -JAS