I have just returned from two blissful days with some of the most wonderful people in the world of music. I have spent two days with the amazing studio singers at "The Lodge Recording Studios" in Indianapolis.
When you go to The Lodge to record music, you quickly discover that you are in the presence of "family." This family works diligently to produce a musical product that blends artistry, love, and musical expertise into an amazing musical product for clients. The singers truly delight in each other's company, working together for hours, and working to please "the client" (me). I love going to The Lodge, and one of these days I'll go back.
Singers at The Lodge have sung my music for years, yet I did not know their names or faces. It is important for all of us composers who have benefited from these singers to see them. Take a look at their smiles, look in their eyes, look into their faces, and see beautiful people, because they are beautiful people. They are also wearing very cool July 4th caps! Yes...we had a light moment when I gave them a tiny gift of appreciation. These caps had enough "bling" that some singers finally had to remove them, as it appeared that a mirror ball was twirling in the studio. However, we enjoyed a few moments of being "capsized" before jumping into a new patriotic piece...Let Freedom Ring. I had a piece that was going to need some additional energy because of the harmonic movement and the style...and I got it! Maybe the caps? Who knows? We got it done!!
Through it all, we are under the leadership of an outstanding recording engineer, pictured above. Michael Graham has been recording my music since 1994 or so. He worked with Warner Chappell when I began writing music. Michael is an incredible professional, and together....I am speaking of all of us...the singers, Michael and me....we hear sounds that are wonderful and others that should be improved. We are all working together to bring about an outstanding musical product. We are of one purpose and one mind.
Let me introduce you to some of the Lodge Singers, whom you have likely heard many times. I want you to see them. I don't know all the last names, and I might not even spell the first names correctly, but I call them by name:
This is Julie. She is an amazing Soprano I, Soprano II, and I even think I've seen her singing Alto at times. She has a range like the stars above, and she can do anything. She is an incredibly versatile musician.
This is Amy. She is an Alto, and there is no doubt in Amy's mind that whatever I request is "done"...no question...such a prefessional! She is also delightful.
Okay...both of the photos above are Greg Gilpin, a wonderful tenor, composer, editor of choral music, and the funniest guy you can imagine. In the upper photo, he is trying to get the cap sized, to jump into rehearsal. Greg is an amazing musician, and I wanted all of you to see Greg as he is on a "work day." He is usually in a suit at a convention, presenting a session, but at The Lodge he is just Greg, working with his colleagues. Wonderful man!!
ERIN and SARA
These two cute ladies are Altos...Erin and Sara. They are such delights to have in rehearsal. They are always "getting it done." Whatever I request, there is a nod, and it is done. So, so great to have in a session. They are incredibly talented singers, and they sent this photo to me on the evening of July 4th. They celebrated with their caps!!
Okay...Stephanie is going to find me one day, and "let me have it," I'm afraid. She is the person who is singing to the sky on high "C"s and such. She has no limits...she can make a Z-flat happen! However, for my session, the way it worked out, I had way too many high X's, and I felt terrible about it...until Michael said, "Hey...this is what they do. They are professional singers." OOOOOOHHHHHHKAY! That puts it in perspective. Good job, Stephanie!!
Steven is a tenor, and he is an astute, creative musician who has offered suggestions at times that really helped me as a writer. Steven is delightful, and the tenors are spot-on at every turn. It is always so great to have Steven working with me.
Doug is a tenor, and I think he is the one who makes all sorts of vocal sounds at times that are totally hilarious. All sorts of "bluesy" sounds...is that you, Doug? So neat, so versatile, so talented. Funny guy...
MAX and BRENT
Max (left) and Brent are Basses. Max has an attention to detail that I appreciate so much. He has been singing my music for years, and is a professional's professional in studio singing. He knows his stuff.
Brent is a soulful individual with the depth of the ocean. He is aware of people, and the needs of humanity are paramount to who he has developed himself to be in a spiritual context. His perspective on the journey of life is enriching and insightful.
Amanda is a Soprano who has literally "grown up" in the recording studio. Sometimes children are incorporated into the sessions to bring integrity to music for children's voices. Amanda was one of those singers at one time, and she finally said, "I can sing like a grown up! Really! I can!" She got the gig. Amanda is a delightful, beautiful human being, and I am so glad she sings in my sessions.
Leah is a Soprano whom I have just met, and I was delighted to have her in my 2-Part recording session. Again, a wonderful person who is just terrific in the studio.
Does Mark look like a Bass to you? Mark is definitely a bass, with the richest, warmest, most wonderful bass voice you can imagine. Mark "gets it" that people will remember how they "made you feel." Mark, you made me feel really good about my music, and when I saw you singing, I knew your performance was coming from a place of deep musical integrity and passion. That is an incredible "thing" to have within. I am fascinated from whence that deep place might have come...taken root...and grown into such artistry. Really neat...and...take a look at the way Mark chose to celebrate on July 4th with his gifted "cap." All coordinated, looking fun. I want the trifle!!!
MARK and Beautiful Trifle
You get the idea...these wonderful musicians are really, really nice people who can sing the dots and sticks off the page as they assist people like me in creating a promotional product for my company, Earlene Rentz Online Publications. However, for me, the best part is knowing that when I go to The Lodge, I visit "family"....the family of singers who have residence there as singing professionals, but also the family they allow me to "join" for a few days here and there along my musical journey. Thank you, Lodge family!!
THE LODGE 2-PART ENSEMBLE
"Family" doesn't just happen. Someone makes it happen. It is with a full heart of love and gratitude that I say a huge "Thank you" to the one who structured such love, support, encouragement, and genuine well-being among his singers.
Michael Graham and Earlene Rentz
Thank you, Michael Graham. You have created an amazing community of love.