RECORDING : 22nd of June 2013
A goodly proportion of Seahouses Village Voices members were pleased to take part in the all-day recording sessions at St. Mary's Church on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for two forthcoming Songs of Praise programmes to be broadcast on BBC1 television.
The start of the day was scheduled for 10.00 am and, sure enough, the assembled masses, mainly from north-east England area choirs including Durham University Choirs, had to wait until all arrangements had been prepared inside the church. (Note the artificial sunshine illuminating the windows!) Then as we went in reception staff checked on the status of each participant, to provide detailed directions as to where to sit.
Perhaps the day's work is best described as being friendly but disciplined. The church was full, to overflowing in the side isles. The powerful lights installed for the TV cameras made any amateur snaps from a fixed position alongside a pillar quite difficult: but it seemed a pity not to attempt a memento!
|Paul Leddington Wright multi-tasked throughout the day as Conductor, Master of Ceremonies, hymn writer, entertainer, and Liaison Officer with -
||- Director Siân Salt who emerged from her den of technology only when all had been satisfactorily achieved.|
Organist James Norrey never did emerge from his side aisle, but made his presence felt strongly in other ways.
Near-silent contributor Dona DiStefano, Floor Manager, moved mysteriously about her technical fulfilment.
Soloist for both scheduled programmes was Sarah Woon, specially pre-selected from among her Durham University compatriots - despite being a student of maths! She is seen here with conductor Paul and one of the permanently head-phoned camera operators.
Having got five of our ten hymns under or belts (or 'in the can' or whatever the apt phrase is) we were released for an hour-and-a-half lunch break. This afforded time for refreshments to personal tastes, mostly in picnic form, together with opportunities, never to be missed, of revisiting some of the nearby Holy Island features such as the iconic view of Priory, harbour and Lindisfarne Castle; cottages in the centre of the village itself; and the surrounding sea at high water confirming the island status of the community.
Back at 'work', we had but little opportunity to see the select few instrumentalists from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra sited up near the altar. Their role consisted chiefly in providing colourful introductions and links, some specially composed by conductor Paul for the occasion.
As the day advanced we gained a better appreciation of what is involved in producing a complex programme to BBC standards. We admired the technology - that camera's a bit different from the one that took these photos! And we did our best to ignore the all-seeing eye that may be zooming in onto our very blushes.
Don't move! Oh it's alright: St Cuthbert's bearers are a bit wooden anyway. Heath Robinson might have been the consultant when it came to arranging for the context-portraying wide-angle shots. But in fact every move is pre-planned and printed out for individual cameras. Not quite the same as zooming, actual camera movement needs its own impeccable railway for smooth action.
The day proved to be a long one, especially perhaps for those in their eighth, ninth, even tenth decades! Perfection seemed to need a revision rehearsal followed by three, four, perhaps five go-for-it full commitment performances: for ten hymns that's a lot of concentrated effort, not to mention the well over fifty sits and stands. But the satisfaction of a job well done could then be combined with looking forward -
TRANSMITTING : 4th of August 2013 : 12th of January 2014