Recording at Ysgol Cynddelw near Llangollen

A couple of months ago we recorded at Madras Primary School just outside of Llangollen.   A day after I wrote the blog post about that particular recording I took a call from the Head Teacher of Ysgol Cynddelw asking if we were free to record at her school which was near Llangollen.   Clearly there is some purpose to writing all these blog posts!  So off I went to Wales again.   It turned out that Ysgol Cynddelw really was in the middle of nowhere and 5 miles from the nearest mobile phone signal.   That in itself isn’t really the end of the world, after all I can’t take phone calls whilst we are recording. But it was strange to be completely out of touch with the outside world for the entire day.

Setting up

Arriving at 07.30 as arranged the school was strangely quiet and it was a while before someone noticed me hanging around in the reception area. No matter, before much longer I was into the hall and setting up for our last school Christmas CD of 2018.   As with most schools, breakfast club was soon in full swing.  There was a stage area to the back of the hall, which is always a good place to set up the microphones as it keeps everything out of the way.  The only downside to this was that the computer which was providing the lyrics and the backing tracks was the other end of the hall.

The options were to put the recording desk near to the computer for the backing tracks but then be in the way of breakfast club and have to move everything for lunch, or alternately locate everything at the back of the hall and implement one long cable to connect the computer up to our audio system.

In the end, the setting up at the back of the hall on the stage option, won through.   All it meant was that one cable had to come from the front of the hall back to our recording rig, which was then securely taped down.

The Songs

A lot of this CD was in Welsh.   Obviously, it’s a Welsh school so what was I expecting.  But I mean really Welsh. We have recorded a lot of schools in Wales before and most tend to sing the ‘standard’ songs in English with maybe one song in Welsh.  Here, however, the majority of the songs were all in Welsh. This mean’t I had to be very careful when putting together the track list and made absolutely sure the Head Teacher had carefully checked all the spellings!

As always we dealt with the artwork on location. In fact I was treated to a rather nice school lunch and then proceeded to sit in the staff room to eat lunch and get the CD artwork done.    This was then signed off by the Head and everything was ready.  On this occasion with the recording being quite late in the term, it was important to have everything ready as soon as possible as it needed to go into production the following day.

CD Artwork Checking the words carefully

Like most schools we started with the staff song.  12 days of Christmas was their chosen song.   As there wasn’t a lot of time we had to go straight in with a take. However, it has to be said take 1 wasn’t entirely accurate.   Some of the days got confused and before we got anywhere near 12 days, the entire staff had suffered from the giggles.  

Luckily a second go and we got a rather nice recording which you will find on the CD as track 16.  However, if you want to hear their first attempt, then anyone with the CD will find there is a hidden track 17….. Enjoy!

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