On December 5, a choir of over 5,000 singers came together to sing Zach Sobiech’s Clouds at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota as a tribute to the singer-songwriter. A matched pair of Earthworks QTC40s was used to record the 5,000-person choir on the first anniversary of the song’s release to benefit the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
Watch Zach Sobiech KS95 Largest “Clouds” Choir
Veteran producer Karl Demer of Atomic K Records & Productions, produced the original version of Clouds. “A year ago I was asked to produce a song for a teenager name Zach Sobiech who had terminal cancer and wrote a song to say goodbye to his family and girlfriend,” explained Demer. “A video was made of his experience recording the song. This video went viral on the internet; the song went to #1 on iTunes and Billboard and to this day, has raised nearly 1 million dollars for Children’s cancer research specifically to find a cure for the type of cancer that took his life.” Being the producer of the original version of Clouds, Demer was asked by Dan Seeman, KS95 general manager and close friend of Sobiech, to produce a recorded audio track and direct the choir for the one year anniversary event. The hope for the event was to have 1,000 singers, though that goal was quickly reached and a cap put on registration for participation knowing that many more would be there as spectators. “They wanted to ask several local choirs to sing the song at the Mall of America rotunda during their annual KS95 for Kids Radiothon sponsoring the Children’s cancer research fund,” said Demer. “They were hoping to get up to 1000 singers. Day 7 of promotion for the event, we had to stop registering singers at 3,600 due to the capacity of the venue! The Mall of America estimates the number in attendance singing at 5,000.” Demer now had the task of figuring out how best to record the choir of in a less than ideal location. “I was doing pre-production research as to how I should go about recording the singers on four levels in a full circle with reflective surfaces everywhere,” he says. “Earthworks mics kept coming up in my searches for realistic symphonic recordings from a stereo pair, so I reached out to Earthworks through their website and told them of my challenge. Later the next day, to my surprise, Craig Breckenridge responded with a very detailed description of how he suggested I go about placing mics for the recording. He apologised for the delay in response but wanted to get the input from his whole team at Earthworks! I was blown away by such personal service despite never meeting Craig.” For the event, Demer ran the matched pair of QTC40s through Midas preamps and recorded directly off the preamps to his Macbook Pro running Cubase.
Though familiar with Earthworks microphones, this was the first time Demer had an opportunity to use them. He explains his experience using the QTC40s to record the 5,000-person choir: “The QTC40s responded with superior clarity and frequency response. Basically what I heard with my headphones off is what I heard with my headphones on while soloing the QTC40s. The benefit of this stereo pair was that they gave me a beautiful true stereo image of 360 degrees on the x-axis and nearly 180 on the y-axis.” While the Largest Clouds Choir event was Demer’s first experience using Earthworks microphones, they have quickly found a home in his studio. “I’ve since used the stereo pair of QTC40s as room mics for a horn session,” explained Demer. “I was equally impressed by their natural response. I’ve never had an easier time integrating a horn section into a mix while retaining such detail in the instruments.” “As I said earlier, I had never experienced such great personal service from a company that I had never done business with before,” Demer concluded. “The fact that they collaborated as a team to help me find the correct solution for my recording dilemma shows their true passion for audio excellence.” childrenscancer.org/Zachwww.earthworksaudio.comwww.atomick.com