In late October, GoodSeed’s songwriter Allan Ellingsgaard and special project consultant James Janzen, along with our video team, made a trip to Surrey, British Columbia, to record all the instrument tracks for No Ordinary Story. With the invaluable help of a professional recording studio and quality musicians, this goal was achieved over a span of nine days.
When asked about how he felt about the whole experience, Allan says that he entered this phase with a lot of nervousness. “Having just the piano until this point had made me feel sort of boxed in,” he recalls. “I knew I wanted something but I didn’t know exactly what.” The idea of working with professional musicians was a little intimidating. Would they appreciate the musical for what it was?
But there was excitement as well. “This was going to be a huge jump, after all the waiting. Just two weeks, and all the songs will be finished.”
Allan adds, “And I must say it was fun.”
The nervousness evaporated as Allan, James and Roy, the producer, set to work. The first three days were spent on pre-production—scheduling, planning and preparing each song for recording. They set the tempos, measure and bar numbers and laid the bed tracks.
On days four and five, the drummer and bass player came into the studio. That first day, Allan felt like he was dealing with professionals. On the second day, he felt like he was also working among friends. They recorded the drums, bass and piano together in order to give the music a “real” sound. The two musicians became part of the project as they strove to accomplish what Allan wanted with the music. A fun connection was discovered when the drummer revealed his wife’s parents attended Allan’s church. And he had also played in a Jewish band for several years. He was able to add a special touch to “Come On and Celebrate” which already been written with a Jewish musical style. This particular song expresses the expectant waiting of the Jewish people for the coming Deliverer and it was good to give it a distinctive Jewish flavour.
The final four days were spent adding guitars and additional instrumentation. Roy provided the guitar performances using instruments from his collection of 40 guitars. He was thrilled when Allan requested him to play classical guitar on “Let There Be Light,” one of the opening songs about Creation and God’s character.
“No one ever wants the classical,” he said, “but I love to do it!” And it brought the song to a completely new level. That’s actually what Roy did to the scores in general. He was good at envisioning the performance as a whole. His experience allowed him to ensure the instruments would fit together.
At one point, Allan said, “I would love there to be an accordion on this one.”
Roy’s response was a happy surprise. “I play the accordion, and I would love to do it for this.” And out came his antique accordion for two of the songs.
By the end of the nine days, all 17 songs had raw instrumental tracks fully recorded. Now comes the mixing and sound engineering. While the project is by no means finished, we’ve reached a significant milestone.
Allan admits, “I’ve struggled with how long it has taken to get to this point. It’s been hard to explain what I do and for people to see that it is making progress. But now I have something to actually show.”
He goes on to say that the first stage, of writing and composing and adjusting and testing, took a long time. This recording stage took the grand total of two weeks. “Now we’re at a totally different level. There’s something concrete. It’s coming together. Going to the studio and having other musicians take it and feel it and use it and make it come alive was so good.”
We thank the Lord for this encouraging progress on the production of No Ordinary Story. God has been very faithful to provide what has been needed so far, and we are excited to see what he will continue to do.
Please continue to pray for this project as we move forward:
1. Choir. The next stage is finding a choir and bringing them to the point of being able to record the choral parts of the musical. James Janzen will be working on getting that coordinated, while Allan brings together the needed soloists. Pray that we will be able to find a choir that will be able to learn all the songs and then record them. We want a quality product that people and churches can use.
2. Recording the voice actors. Thank God for the voice talent who have graciously volunteered their time. We are making arrangements to have the voice actors come to our studio at the international office to record the drama portion of the musical. The voice performance, along with the music and singing, will go into the audio drama CD.
3. Continued resources. Pray that God would continue to provide the needed resources to complete this project. Not only does this project continue to need financial support, but there is also still a need for qualified professionals, such as a sound engineer, as we push this forward in production.
4. Patience. Sometimes it’s hard to wait. Pray for patience in the midst of each stage—for both us and you!