PaTRAM Institute™ – Days 8-11 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage – The Recording Days

Refreshed and rested, Day 8 began with the arranging of the choir in the Ascension church to bring out the best sound. The Soundmirror engineering team determined that the building had too much echo and, as such, had to reduce it to be less noticeable while still contributing to the overall sound. To avoid any impact to the church’s interior, wires were strung between windows and blankets hung over the wires, effectively creating a sound room but with the natural acoustics produced by the church’s architecture.

The day outside was typical of Jerusalem and that area of the world, HOT! The sun shown down on the Mount of Olives with it usual force.

As such the rehearsals had more frequent breaks so that the choir could hydrate and reduce the vocal strain while Soundmirror could adjust the sound to optimum recording standards. The recording’s producer, multi-Grammy winner, Blanton Alspaugh discussed the nuances with conductor, Ekaterina Antonenko, during those breaks.

The “dress rehearsal” day was complete and the Soundmirror team, along with Ms. Antonenko and singers, listened to the sample recordings in the makeshift control room that would, starting tomorrow, become the eventual CD itself.

The ensemble is now ready to lay down the final tracks for the CD.

Day 9 was another eventful day as the choir and the recording team recorded the first 5 pieces of the 15-piece repertoire. The work was difficult but fulfilling as the first tracks of the CD were completed.

Day 10 began with a panihida service, at the Trapeznaya Church on the grounds of the Eleon Monastery, to remember the 40th day of the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The solemn but heartwarming service was sung by the PaTRAM Men’s Choir and conducted by one of our own singers, Vadim Gan.

After the service, it was back to work for the choir and Soundmirror to record the next 5 tracks for the CD.

Day 11, the final day of recording for the team. Coupled with a little anxiety, the group was very optimistic that this final day would “seal the deal”, as they say, and bring to fruition all the hard work that went into this recording. Once the end was reached, the entire team (choir, staff and Soundmirror) all posed for a group photo next to the Ascension Church.

As wonderful as the choir was, as a whole, the soul of the group was their amazing Oktavist section. They’re the ones who provide the depth on this recording showcased under Ms. Antonenko’s direction.

L-R, Vasilii Korostelev, Ilia Laptev, Elias Dubelsten, Alex Lukianov, Ekaterina Antonenko, Glenn Miller, Viacheslav Prutskikh, Chris Mallory and Jason Thoms

All of this being said, it’s still not over! One more day is still to come. One more adventure to be had.