Elmhurst College Chamber Choir Singers were recorded in the Gretsch Recording Studio and are now working with Sony Music for an album they helped create in Daniels Hall on October 8.
The Chamber Singers were selected by Wayne Strange, composer and Video Games Live employee, to sing eight songs off the new “Castlevania” Album, “Resurrection of the Night: Alucard’s Elegy”.
Strange gave the ensemble the opportunity to record the songs from the album after former Elmhurst College alum John Robert Matz, who graduated with a music degree and is now a composer, was at a video game music convention with other composers where he spoke highly about his alma mater’s choir.
Ultimately, the word spread to Strange, and he contacted Susan Moninger, head of choral activity, to petition the Chamber Choir to record the album.
The group of students had two weeks to prepare for the recording session, which is currently being mastered by Sony Music.
Moninger discussed the intense two-week rehearsal process with the students.
“We worked on it during our regular class time, two times a week for one hour and 15 minutes, and then I offered optional rehearsals on evenings and weekends,” said Moninger.
The challenge of learning eight tracks of music in two weeks presented itself as daunting for students.
Ivan Felty, a first-year student, expressed that he was nervous for the session because the new concept of having to learn eight musically complex tracks was nerve-wracking.
In those two weeks, while Moninger was working with her students, Strange was sending over more songs for the students to learn, adding more to their nerves.
The recording posed itself as an avenue for students to learn the importance of showing up prepared for a recording session, given the cost of each recording session.
While it was a defining moment for the legacy of the EC music department, it was a new experience for the choir students.
Shawndell Young, a junior at EC, spoke highly about the experience for not only the performers but for the three students assisting in the session. In addition, Young said that this recording session, "Gave students the chance to have one foot in the educational and professional world."
First-year student Stephanie Cipolla said the recording session was an invigorating experience.
“It was cool to learn how everything works, learning all the little things like the headphones one off and studio etiquette,” said Cipolla.
The experience provided her with the opportunity to exit her realm of being a music student, who graduated high school less than six months ago, and dipping her toes in the world of being a recording artist.
“It was nothing that I have never done before. It was a lot of hard work that was put into it individually and within the group,” said Cipolla.
Young graciously referred back to Moninger while describing working with renowned composers and producers on this project stating, “We have our own big shot.”
First-year student Evan Caverly discussed why he participated in the “Castlevania” album.
“The moment the music came together it all clicked, and we understood where the music was going,” said Caverly.
Prior to this, Caverly had never been in a professional recording studio.
“With performances, it’s a one-and-done kind of thing. This [recording session] is final,” added Caverly.
The album carries a variety of themes throughout the songs.
The songs that the choir worked on are a mixture of various music styles, ranging from ballads to acapella to uptempo songs.
Caverly described the music with an analogy stating, “It feels like a dark Super Mario song playing and then Bowser shows up and a fight emerges, ending with a resolution.”
The album will be available to listen to in December 2018.
To get a taste of the work done by students at EC, Moninger mentioned that the Chamber Choir will be performing two of the songs from the album, “Resurrection of the Night: Alucard’s Elegy” at the fall concert in Hammerschmidt Chapel on November 4.