The project began life on A level results day when I was asked if we were interested in providing a choir for an episode of an upcoming Netflix series ‘Safe’ – and could I find some suitable haunting music for a short assembly scene, ideally not in copyright!
After much consultation with other musical/choir friends, Red film company unanimously liked the beautiful English madrigal we chose – ‘Weep o mine eyes’ by Bennet. Written in 1599, during a wonderful compositional period of English madrigal/part-songs, this SATB piece was perfect for the remit: poignant, not too long, and for the mixed voices of the film choir scene.
We approached AGSB for tenor/bass voices and were delighted when they found 7 students who would like to sing with the 15 AGGS Chamber choir soprano/altos.
After just one rehearsal – augmented by just a few adult teacher singers, the film production team recorded the track professionally at school.
The project culminated in a long film shoot Sunday, beginning with breakfast at 7.30am, ending with the last shot taken at 5pm! The school was unrecognisable, with the Main Hall now the assembly space of the fictitious ‘St Winifred’s School’, complete with new school uniforms for all the choir, a false wall in place in the hall and a different school crest etc etc…
The complete cast of around 80 were present, including some famous names – watch the series to see who!
After a total of 15 takes of the recording, where we sang over our pre-recorded track, different actors were featured/different angles of the choir were taken, and all students were a credit to themselves in their professionalism during what was a fairly arduous process. Despite this, however, no one grew tired of the madrigal: the hallmark, possibly of great music! Indeed, several film crew and cast commented how much they loved the music…
I was privileged to have coached the 7 actors who formed part of the choir, to mime convincingly as they sang with the choir – who also did brilliantly and very much looked the part.
This has been a wonderful joint venture for all students and staff involved, not least to sing Renaissance polyphony together, but to sing 4 part harmony, and to collaborate across both schools.
We feature in the opening scene of episode 4, but our choir madrigal recording will be used as a theme throughout….!