Music while you wait to receive your jab Salisbury cathedral has released a digital ‘vax’ album raising funds for NHS Charities
Together. We hear the story behind the project from those involved.
SALISBURY CATHEDRAL is one of the more unusual venues for Covid vaccinations and people who receive their jabs there are treated to live music. Between them assistant director of music, John Challenger and director of music, David Halls have clocked up around 270 hours playing the organ during the vaccination rollout.
The music is now set to reach a far wider audience. John Challenger and a small group of music specialists have recorded Salisbury Meditation – Music for the NHS, a digital album of classics played during the vaccination sessions.
John explains how the project came about: “I was approached by Andrew Mellor from AJM Productions and Richard Gay from PIAS, an independent music company, following the huge media interest in the organ music we have been providing during the vaccination sessions.
The overwhelmingly positive response from staff, volunteers and patients has demonstrated the enormous power of music as a force for good, especially in times of great uncertainty. I have so enjoyed getting to know our local health-workers and volunteers through the vaccinations, and Andrew Mellor’s proposal for a fundraising album for NHS Charities
Together was completely irresistible. Andrew is one of the most impressive and highlyprestigious recording producers in the industry, and it has been a privilege to work with him.”
John continues: “Andrew and I had to ensure we followed strict guidelines to operate safely. During recording sessions, I listened back from the organ loft via headphones, with Andrew operating independently in the cathedral vestry.
“The album is a selection of the pieces we have been playing at the vaccination sessions, which were chosen to provide comfort, reassurance and enjoyment to those visiting for their jab. The cathedral’s Father Willis organ is a celebrated instrument, and following a 14 month restoration, this is a great way of sharing it with listeners once again.”
Music producer, Andrew Mellor explains they had very little time to complete the project: “We recorded the album over three nights between February 22 to 25, and all the post production was finished the following week. Six months is usually the average time to get a recording finished, so it was a very quick turnaround.”
To record and work in the cathedral, after an extended period of lockdown, felt hugely uplifting.
“We placed microphones around the building to capture the sound of both the instrument and the space it inhabits. There’s an increasing appetite for Dolby Atmos (surround sound) recordings, so we’ve captured the organ so that it can be released in this format, allowing people to get a sense of the space and sound of the organ in this beautiful building.”
Dr Polly Jacobs is a GP partner at Salisbury Medical Practice and she has been a part of the NHS team working at the cathedral, she describes what it means to hear live music as they vaccinate people: “Momentous. This is the word I would use to describe being part of the vaccination team at Salisbury cathedral.
The sound recording equipment in the choir..
The new album cover.
Th a n k y o u a n k a n k k n k k