This past August, PaTRAM sponsored a recording session of Kurt Sander’s newly commissioned Divine Liturgy.
The recording took place at New Gracanica Serbian Monastery in the Chicago area and was sung by the PaTRAM Institute Singers, a chamber choir of 26 professional singers from around the country directed by Maestro Peter Jermihov. Soundmirror recording company, a Boston-based firm that has racked up more than 90 Grammy nominations and awards, was engaged for this epic project.
The event required 3 days of rehearsal and 3 days of recording sessions. Each of the performers received the musical score months in advance so that by the time they arrived at the monastery the music was thoroughly learned and ready for performance.
Kurt Sanders, himself an accomplished singer, was a member of the choir and present throughout to guide the conductor and producer.
A sealed and sound-proofed control room was created in the foyer of the church. Baffles were hung around the inside walls. Tables with computer terminals, sound boards, and other recording equipment were amassed on the table. Soundmirror shipped boxes of equipment to the location, a difficult logistical task in its own right. Wires, booms, mikes, and numerous other recording equipment were laid out on the floor of the church.
The first rehearsal took place in the church but the remainder of the first 3 days the Singers rehearsed in the spacious catering hall. The purpose of this was to perfect the sound of the choir without the fabulous acoustics of the church enhancing the sound.
Once the choir reached a performance level of execution in the unenhanced acoustics of the banquet hall, the sound engineers were ready to test levels and begin the recording sessions in the deep and resonant acoustical space of the church.
Standing on his makeshift podium, Maestro Jermihov was able to draw the most out of the singers.
In the 7-story tall acoustics of this magical space, the performance and the music came together to produce a unique and memorable tone quality filled with beauty and prayer.
In mid-afternoon of the final day of recording, after finishing the final cleanups and packing the equipment, the artists, staff, and engineers gathered at a local pub for some R & R. There were toasts, hugs, and kisses, and exchanges of contact information. The group was now well-bonded and eager to hear the release of their work. The recording is due for a 2018 release on Naxos of America.
Without the help of the seminary’s leader, Father Seraphim, and the monastery’s church hall catering manager, Zdravko Lakic, this event would never have succeeded. Father Seraphim assisted in every way possible and provided the group with everything from tables and chairs to the church itself.
Meanwhile, every day for six consecutive days, Zdravko and his team of chefs and helpers, not only prepared the group lunches daily, but served the lunches to over 30 people, including staff and recording teams-some of the tastiest Lenten meals ever! Both men welcomed PaTRAM back sometime in the future.
Be sure to subscribe to the PaTRAM mailing list so that you will be first to hear about actual release dates and where to obtain a copy of this epic recording.