Please forgive my journaling break. I’ve been preoccupied, in mostly very good ways! 🙂 Let me catch you beautiful people up a bit:
This was Friday, day 2 of vocals. Quite as exhausting physically and emotionally as the previous day had been. Quite as much of a sense of doing deeply good, fulfilling work. We recorded maybe two songs before early afternoon, and then…
SQUEAL!!! (yes, I think that’s actually the sound I made. It was more seventh grade than I knew I had in me.) But I had a good excuse.
Friends, the marvelous Jace Wittig.
JACE WAS HERE!!! And it made me so happy to see him. We have known one another since early days in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and it had been too many years since I’d seen him. He has since both sung with and directed Chanticleer, which many of you probably know is a world-famous men’s chorus based in San Francisco. It was just incredibly generous of him to come add some guest vocals for me, which is completely in character. His grown-up voice fulfills all of the promise of his exceptional young-person voice, and the richness and beauty it adds to Arms of Love brought me to tears. (Lots of happy tears on this trip!) I was deeply grateful, and perhaps even more grateful to get to catch up with him a little bit. Love this human being.
Jace’s visit restored some of my energy and we maintained focus throughout a long afternoon and into the night. We worked all the way until 10pm, finishing all the vocal tracks and even managing to add backing tracks for several songs.
For a break, Adam took us to see a part of Fantasy that I didn’t know even existed. They have several natural reverb chambers hiding in the building. These are small, cave-like rooms that seem to be made out of poured cement, walls, floor, ceiling, and all. They are empty except for microphones, and the walls and ceiling are angled in intentional ways to create reverberations of different lengths. Here is the door to one of the rooms (you can see the ladder leading to another chamber above):
That night, I blew out the last of the candles with a mixture of pride and exhaustion. I don’t know how else to describe it. Gabe and I spent a little time checking out the Embarcadero in San Francisco afterward, and then it was high time to be done with our week’s work. The Bay Bridge is beautiful.
Day 6 and 7
The weekend arrived! And I was able to take advantage of some special Hoosier connections (that led to some lovely Methodist connections!) while I was there. One of my mother’s very best friends from high school, Randy Nickel, lives with his lovely wife Janie in Los Altos, and I got to spend the weekend with them. They threw a lovely dinner party for me on Friday night, complete with musician-friends from their church (Los Altos UMC)…we shared a really marvelous dinner and even better conversation. And what was perhaps the most fun of all, we had a living room sing-along, using original carols composed by one of Randy’s friends and accompanied by another. It’s been too long since I sat around and sightread through beautiful music, and it was a true gift.
On Sunday morning, I attended worship at Los Altos UMC, and we got to hear more gorgeous music by Randy and his friends. I shared the table meal, had the privilege of connecting with two of their delightful pastors (the very gifted Mariellen Yoshino and Samuel Yun), and I have high hopes that I’ll find my way out there again some day.
After worship, Janie and one of the lovely folks from the dinner the previous night took me to downtown Los Altos for some windowshopping. The French horn aficionados met us for lunch after the next worship service. Just the loveliest people.
Later that afternoon, Randy, Janie, and I checked out the Los Altos Wine and Art Festival.
Just a really delightful day.
Finally, Randy took me back to the Morris home in time to celebrate Gabe’s birthday with another yummy meal and some ridiculous cake – burnt almond with several layers of cake and custard and this amazing crushed almond/toffee-ish coating. Yep, every bit as good as it sounds.
Monday arrived early, and I packed in the morning before we headed to the studio. Mixing began at 10. This process was interesting, but there’s a lot more work for the engineer and producer than there is for me at this stage. They are cleaning and balancing all the tracks, and then making artistic calls about how much of which instrument or track to have at each point in the flow of the song. It’s fascinating to watch and occasionally weigh in on. I was very glad to have a day to observe and participate…Adam and Gabe have three more full days of it ahead of them. We completed three songs today and lined up the fourth ready to go in the morning. It’s my first time hearing the songs as they will sound finally, and it’s kind of amazing.
I took some pictures this afternoon of just a very few of the gold and platinum records that decorate the walls at Fantasy, as well as the beautiful garden out front, but I’ll have to upload them later today because of wi-fi issues at the airport. 🙂
The flight left at 10:15pm California time, and about 4 hours later…
I’m finishing this up sitting on the floor at the Charlotte airport, waiting to board my last little flight to Greenville/Spartanburg. I’m not really quite sure I believe that it’s Tuesday, but it appears to be, so we’ll go with it. 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing the folks who wait for me at home, I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and I’m grateful to God and to so many of you who have supported this project and who made my time in California possible. A new stage of album work begins next, and I can’t wait to share the finished work with you so very soon! Mark your calendars for a release party on or around October 23rd.