Following the death of David's father in late 1996, in early 1998 his mother requested David record a selection of their favorite hymns and songs. David and his mother collaborated in developing the list of hymns and songs to include.
Included are 21 congregational hymns, sung as they might be in church, with the following variations:
Also included are 5 religious songs important to them.
(David put the then ongoing project recording, Romantic Duets, on hold to focus on producing Hymns and Songs of My Mother.)
Later that year, his mother also died. Subsequent intervening events in the lives of both David and the Phase I producer of this recording, Ms. Heidi Gerber-Salins, led to an extended hiatus in completiong of this album. (That initial period of work on this album is referred to as Phase I.) It succeeded in recording all foundational components, including a reference version of "Welcome Home" with Kathy Brigman Haupt singing and playing aoustic guitar. (We later used titbits of Kathy's vocal from that Phase I recording in the Phase II final master.)
The challenge was to complete the truly quality recording requested by his mother from the the nice, solid foundational materials recorded in Phase I. That was done as Phase II, which began in 2019 and magnificantly achieved that goal.
The dropdown submenu top left provides links to both 1) a simple and 2) an augmented playlist for the 26 hymns and songs. Except for the lyrics to the hymn "Morning Has Broken", all hymns are now out-of-copyright, i.e., public domain. Additionally, two of the songs are still under copyright:
"Mechanical licenses" were obtained for lyrics to "Be Thou with Them" and "Morning Has Broken." Ms. Kathy Brigman Haupt, author and composer of "Welcome Home," gave permission for TortoiseClimbing™ Audio to arrange and record the initial release of her song on this album of Hymns and Songs of My Mother.
The 21 congregational hymns were selected from the hymnals his parents collected over their lives when their churches bought new hymnals and disposed of the old, and represent a wide range of types.
In addition, the album includes 5 religious songs representing a combination of service and religious songs.
Two are service songs from the back of hymnals, which are commonly considered doxology or service songs/benedictions, rather than congregational hymns. They are:
The other 3 songs came from several sources:
(Note. A more detailed discussion of why Kathy wrote this song, and why it was very special to David's mother, is found under the dropdown link above left for Kathy Brigman Haupt: Author and Composer, "Welcome Home." However, because "Welcome Home" is an unknown Contemporay Christian song, a few notes are provided here.)
This song became a favorite of David's mother because Ms. Brigman Haupt wrote it as a tribute for her grandmother's funeral, who she was very close to. That occurred when her grandmother suddenly died on a trip to help another grand-daughter in Alaska. Ms. Haupt's grandmother was the elder sister of David's mother (i.e., David's Aunt), and David's mother loved the song written for her sister's funeral by one of her sister's grand-daughters.
The other grand-daughter involved in this story, is the one David's mother's sister went to Alaska to assist, Ms. Donna Hicks. She later sent an artistic rendering as a framed copy of the song's lyrics to David's mother from Alaska. She hung them on her bedroom wall, where they hung until she died. (David now has that copy of the framed lyrics Donna sent to his mother.)
Kathy also sang this song at the memorial service for David's mother.
(It was during Kathy's trip back to Maryland for that memorial service when we were able to record Kathy's version of the song at Bias, portions of which are used in the final album mix. FYI - That was a Labor Day Weekend, and getting an audio engineer to work that Saturday was not easy!)
The original goal/mission of TortoiseClimbing™ when created in 1992 was the very modest hobby orientation of recording nice albums for private release.
That changed in 1998 because of his mother's preference for the Hymns and Songs recording to be:
To achieve her preferences required a significant change in goal/mission of TortoiseClimbing™, plus required becoming functional in capabilities beyond those conceived in 1992. That led to creation of specialized subdivisions:
The project came to consist of at least 6 significantly separate parts:
Creation of these multiple subdivisions in turn led to another subsequent revision in TortoiseClimbing™. Namely, to become a for-profit endevor, to try recouping the substantial expenses creating the publicly available:
Mr. Goettee and Ms. Gerber-Salins (producer and engineer of Phase I, and a significant vocal talent on this recording) worked with the older traditional congregational hymns and songs they grew up with. They completed production of the Phase I draft recordings, which included all portions of the project, plus with the help of Mike Griffith over a labor day weekend, a reference recording of "Welcome Home" with Kathy singing and playing her acoustic guitar. (Note. A future possiblility is making a simpler arrangement recording of "Welcome Home", using Kathy's simple acoustic guitar accompaniment reference version.)
For Phase I of the recording, Ms. Gerber-Salins was:
Every weekend until late August of 1998 David took working copies of the latest draft recordings to play for his mother and her friends and care givers. She was thrilled with the progress, but sadly did not live to hear the final version.
Shortly following mother's death, a major hiatus of many years' duration occured because of various preemptions in the lives of both Mr. Goettee and Ms. Gerber-Salins. However, over a number of those intervening years they worked together developing notes for finishing the recording.
Production resumed in January of 2019 to complete the requested quality product for public distribution.
It was during Phase II that the evolution to a for-profit endevor occured, to try making TortoiseClimbing™'s activities pay their own way.
Because Ms. Gerber-Salins was no longer available, David took on the role of producer, working from the notes he and Ms. Gerber-Salins developed during the intervening years. They provided significant guidance for: harmony additions; changes in mixes; and replacing the unsatifying electronic keyboard synthesized organs used on the recording.
New production initiatives included all steps for adding handbells, handchimes and shuttle pipe (baby bagpipe). That included:
Recording engineer and associate producer functions were accomplished by returning to work with Mr. Bill McElroy. (He was David's recording engineer for the 1st private album, Solo Collection). It was possible to return to working with Mr. McElroy because he had returned to working in the recording industry. He helped implement ideas from the notes developed with Ms. Gerber-Salins.
Mr. McElroy located and arranged participation of several additional artists from the Ashland, VA area, who:
Mr. McElroy also made himself available to travel to Westminster, MD and bring his recording equipment for that onsite recording of the shuttle pipe part and the Westminster Ringers at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster, MD.
In addition to Producer, David took on the technical role of audio post production processing for reviewing and editing vocals, and as necessary, tuning vocalists.
-- End of Accordian Window on Phase I & II --
The quality acheived by this recording was possible because of the numerous professional artists who participated. Separate webpages are included for each of the artists (instrumental, vocal and technical). Their wealth of training, experience and skills contributed to creation of this exceptional album.
The artists' credit pages are grouped by which phase the artists were involved with:
For convenience of those not familiar with the creation timeline, an artists' Cross Reference webpage is provided to assist finding credits for any artist or instrument used on the recording. See Cross References webpage for Hymns and Songs of My Mother.
Information about the extensive companion eBook History Through 26 Hymns and Songs is found under Publications at: History Through 26 Hymns and Songs. Target for availability of the ebook is late early 2024. At that time the eBook will be offered as part of a discounted bundle with the album.
This eBook provides extensive historical details about the times each of the hymns and songs were written, and how those world histories influenced the hymns and songs. Publications can be reached by selecting that choice on the Top menu. Or, for easy access you can click the above link to jump directly to the write up on the extensive companion hymn history book.
When the companion history eBook becomes available (target early 2024), we will begin producing advance podcasts of the chapters. They will be offered via an advance subscription series for the audiobook, with a free download of the audiobook to subscribers when completed. The subscription series is targeted to begin in early 2024.
The plan is to also offer each of the subscription podcast chapters for standalone purchase, i.e., individual chapters will be available separate from the subscription series. These will not include a download of the audiobook when the subscription series is completed.
The audiobook of the companion history eBook is targeted to become available after completion and release of all advance subscription podcasts, with completion of audiobook targeted by the end of 2024.
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