Every year Susy Radio likes to offer the opportunity for a church, a choir or a school to be part of Christmas Day.
We look to record at the weekend (as we are volunteers with day jobs) and put together a service of carols and/or lessons for the Christmas Day broadcast.
This year we were welcomed by St Michael’s Church, Betchworth who combined choirs with St Mary The Virgin at Buckland under the musical director, Martin Hall and Organist, Richard Calver. The service was led by the Reverend Neil Vigers.
The Choir made up of 18 Sopranos, 6 Altos, 5 Tenors and 5 Basses who performed traditional carols such as “Oh come all ye faithful” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” with the congregation, and a beautiful variation on “A Bleak Midwinter” Words by Christina Rossetti and Music by Harold Darke (1888 – 1976) and a truly wonderful piece entitled “Myn Lyking” Music by R.R. Terry and words from the 15th Century.
St Michael`s church itself being a megastar of the big screen being the first church seen in Four “Weddings and a Funeral” provided a great acoustic to record if a little tricky with the choir due to the location of the organ, but with an accomplished organist Richard Calver balanced well in the mix
Technically there were 16 mics around the church, 5 mics (3 radio mics) covering “Once in Royal Davids City” which was processed around the aisles of the church, 6 mics on the choir, 1 on the organ and 2 on overhead booms covering the congregation plus reader lectern mic and radio clip mic on the Reverend Vigers.
Obviously you cannot see the procession of the choir on the radio so it is very important to pick all aspects up on the mics as an even sound starting from the opening note of the solo and lasting until conclusion of the 5th verse as the choir mics and congregational mics plus two floor mics take the role as the Choir approach the choir stalls at the alter. You can see this in the pictures.
It is always a pleasure to work with the local community and provide this opportunity, belay any nerves they have making them feel at ease so they give the best they can, remembering these are not professional choirs, these are supporters of the church and sing because they want to, and what a sound.
The parishioners of Betchworth and Buckland joining in on the congregational carols were magnificent in praise for raising not only the Christmas Spirit but the roof!
The Service of Nine lessons and Carols was recorded at St Michael`s Church, Betchworth on Sunday 18th December.
Engineered by Neil Munday with technical assistance from Steve Hall, the equipment was supplied free of charge by Susy Radio supporter “Outdoor Sound Company”.
The Broadcast at 1pm on Christmas Day was edited and introduced by Neil Munday with thanks to programme Director Geoff Rogers.
Photos: Neil Munday