Recording on location at Thelwall Infant School in Warrington


Today saw us heading out the door for the last of this Summer’s batch of school CD recordings.   The last few schools have been ‘relatively’ local to our Wiltshire studios, certainly after a busy couple of weeks mid June.   This, the last school for a few weeks, was another trip up the M5 and M6.   If nothing else I can report that good progress is being made on the Oldbury Viaduct at the top of the M5!  This work has been going on since April 2017 and until recently was a 30mph limit through the works.  According to Highway’s England, Oldbury viaduct carries approximately 1.8 miles of the elevated sections of the M5 to the west of Birmingham between junctions 1 and 2. The structure is safe, but we need to carry out essential repair work to deteriorated concrete due to its perished waterproofing.

This all seems entirely reasonable to me, and yes sometimes its frustrating locking the car to 30mph for a few miles, particularly at 4am! Mind you, on the way home it’s usually a lot slower as it tends to be rush hour and so often its a queue for a few miles.  But work has to be done.  On of my favourite past times when passing Motorway roadworks is to spot how many workmen in yellow hi viz are leaning against orange barriers.  Yes, seriously, it really is a thing!  Don’t get me wrong I know these guys work very hard and of course they need a break.   And it amuses me a lot to count people leaning on barriers!


Work on the Oldbury Viaduct (not my picture!)

Having set off just after 4am, there was time for a spot of breakfast at Sandbach services on the M6. This is about 20 miles South of Warrington and it means I can justify stopping if I have time to spare. The sat nav said arrival was due for 6.55am which is a bit early even for me. So I headed into the services and ordered a bacon sandwich and latte – my usual breakfast order from such establishments. Before long I was back on the road and arrived at Thelwall Infant school just before 7.30am and met my contact in the car park!  Timing, as they say, is everything.

Setting up at Thelwall Infants

And so into the school with all the kit to get set up for today’s recording at Thelwall Infant School.   I soon established we were only dealing with group singing to backing tracks. This is always worth checking as if I can save some time (and energy) by not carrying all the kit into the hall it means less time later to pack away again!

Thelwall Infant School

The School Hall

As I was setting up I met the head teacher, and my main contact at the school issued me with a nice hot mug of tea moments later.  Today was going to be a good day!    By 08.30 everything was set up and ready.

Dealing with Backing Tracks

Having examined the school sound system I decided their CD player wasn’t really up to scratch and also there was a nasty hum coming from their sound system.  As is so often the case therefore, I decided to abandon connecting to that and set up my own solution for backing tracks whether on CD or online.

CD Player

Providing a solution for CDs

As you’d expect with us, nothing is ever over engineered, so the concept of using a £3000 MacBook Pro as a CD player seemed perfectly sensible.   Ah… yes well er…   Never let it be said that we do not do things properly.   Technically we do have a standalone rack mounted CD player, but that was in the car and the MacBook Pro was in the hall. So therefore…

Getting on with it

With just 9 songs to record and with the children being very well prepared, it was soon clear that we could be done by lunchtime.  I never like to rush schools, but at the same time having been up since 4am and only had 5 hours sleep due to running a choir rehearsal last night, I was quite happy to get back on the road by 1pm.     The singing was superb at Thelwall and we also encountered some lovely songs which we hadn’t recorded before. This is increasingly a rarity so it’s always nice to hear something new.  I rather enjoyed a song about Jellyfish from Sing up!  We aren’t made of jelly and we don’t look like fish…!

If you would like to find out more about recording a CD or digital album at your school then please get in touch with Recordings 4 Schools