I first met Fiona Pears at the Woollaston Nelson Jazz Festival in 2007 where she was performing in the fantastic cellar at Woollaston Estates. This largely concrete and glass venue is somewhat challenging sound wise, but everyone was impressed and I’ve since gone on to engineer many concerts and also albums with Fiona and her band. However one of the most formidable challenges working with Fiona occurred when she asked me to provide sound and record a concert in Christchurch Cathedral for a DVD.
The Cathedral in Christchurch is large and very reverberant, so I decided to use three pairs of speakers on delay lines down the nave, tilted down into the audience. We packed in that morning and spent a very busy day setting the stage and front of house up only to find we had to break everything down again for a choir rehearsal at 4pm! This put immense pressure on resetting the stage before the concert and we’d just finished line checking when doors opened. Incredibly everything went smoothly and we ended up with an excellent recording. Fiona and the band are a pleasure to work with. Her stunning music is difficult to describe, a fusion of classical, gypsy and jazz, but I really enjoy working with music which is of such a high standard and which can be professionally produced in a live setting.