Well, a certain choir are, all for the sake of a wonderful book that we are delighted to be publishing tomorrow!
You have no doubt found your way to the Borough website through the Chilbury blog tour, which we are just thrilled so many lovely bloggers have been involved with.
And now for our pit stop, we do have a treat for you. Here’s HarperCollins’ Senior Audio Editor on the amazing audiobook of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and how she brought it to life. We have a clip too, so, headphones out, speakers up! Over to Fionnula:
As soon as I read Jennifer’s book, I realised that we needed to put music at the heart of our audiobook edition – the novel is all about the power of music to bring people together and help each other through dark times, and an audiobook that didn’t feature music would fall flat. But to fit the story, we needed an all-female choir, and one of a particular size, and we needed them singing very specific songs: music from a library wasn’t, I suspected, going to cut it. Thus at the end of 2016 we ran a competition to find our very own Chilbury choir, receiving applications from choirs across the country for the prize of featuring in the audiobook at moments of high drama. Though the competition was steep, we were bowled over by our winners, Mums N’ Roses from Kent, who matched the sound we were looking for … and, as an extra bonus, they happened to come from the same county in which the story was set (clearly, it was meant to be!).
On a dreary Saturday in January our winners made their way to Queen’s Park in London for their recording day at ID Audio. Sound engineers Patch McQuaid and Richard Lee were waiting to put them through their paces in recording their four pieces, “The Lord’s My Shepherd”, “Ave Maria”, “Abide with Me”, “All Creatures of Our God and King”. Happily the choir members were enthusiastic and engaged and had been well prepared by their musical director Craig Hudson, so the afternoon’s recording went very smoothly and enjoyably. The choir went home with proof copies of the novel to find out more about their fictional counterparts, but not before going for some very well-deserved cocktails!
Listen to a clip of the choir in action here.
Shortly afterwards the studio delivered to us the fully edited audiobook, blending the narration and music together. I am delighted with the result, combining Jennifer’s affecting story, the narration of our voice artists, music from the choir, and editing from the talented people at ID Audio. But more importantly, so too is Jennifer! You can buy the audio edition here.