In the Studio

It has been a busy month around here. Besides traveling hither and yon and keeping up with things at home, we've been in the middle of a recording project. A very unique one, in fact. It all started fifteen years ago... It was 1992, and Pastor Mark Swanson, youth pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois, contacted us one day about coming to Camp Berean. It would be their first year of Camp, and they were using a little Brethren camp out in a little town called Mount Morris, Illinois, about 30 minutes from the church. It would be open to the church teens and bus kids from the church's bus routes. Pastor Mark spoke with Deborah--who at the time was in charge of scheduling our meetings--and mentioned that he would like for her to write a theme song for the week of camp. The theme was to be "Press Toward the Mark", and he was convinced that she could write the song. Although Deborah had written several songs that included "He Made It Again" and "Rejoice, My Soul", she protested. "Pastor Mark, I don't think so...," she hesitated. "I can't do that." "I believe you can. At least just try it," he insisted. And he would not take "no" for an answer. So saying, Deborah put her mind to the task and the first song was written. Fast forward to today... Now it's been fifteen years since we learned the first camp song. Since 1992, Deborah has written thirteen songs and the words for a fourteenth. Our oldest sister, Julia Montoro, wrote the music for one and we used her song "I Am Not Ashamed" as a camp theme song, although it was not written specifically for camp. The Lord laid it on Pastor Mark's heart to make a recording of all the camp songs from fifteen years of Camp Berean. For this very special project, he flew our family into Rockford, along with Sharon and her little son, Teddy. Jonathan and Matthew came as well, and we all met at the studio on Monday, May 7. With minimal preparations in the practicing area (except for some practice time with the girls and the youth group at church Saturday evening), we felt a little unsure as to how things would unfold. We had only four days to record fifteen songs. Of course, anyone who knows us and who has ever been with us in the studio knows that we try to practice for about six months ahead of time, and we usually have about eighty hours (give or take) to record from start to finish--of course, that includes the mix-down. Here we were, with quite a list of songs, and only four days to get the job done. Jonathan became producer, and we all tried to follow his lead throughout the project. We totally confused our unfortunate engineer as we scrambled from one set-up to another and from one song to another. The youth choir joined us on six songs, and although the studio was stifling and they were dressed in their Sunday best, they managed to survive and did a wonderful job. Both Jonathan and Matthew had to leave Wednesday. We were left with two songs to record, plus some other parts to add to several other songs. We ran into a slight snag on the last song and after much confusion, finally took a break to clear our heads. The Lord helped us to finish the project later in the evening. It happened to be Dad's birthday, so he spent a good deal of it at the studio, poor man! We headed to a restaurant to celebrate a little. While there, we realized that the date for our departure had been mixed up. Our flight had left that day! Pastor Mark had to quickly secure another flight for us on the morrow. It seemed necessary to take the recorded project to another studio to mix-down. Sharon and Jessica worked on the mixing at a studio in New York City. They had to re-do some parts, but eventually the CD was ready for the critiquing crew...which includes all of us who were involved. Lord willing, if all progresses well, we should have this new CD available sometime this summer.