Lift Up Your Voices – Documentary

Over the years we have worked with many delightful and amusing people.  Someone Al & Stu met way back in 2003 was a mysterious man, monickered Mervyn. He is a man who delights with his passion for music, hosting wonderful events for teachers and possesses the world’s best laugh. In 2009 the Turtles collaborated with him to produce a documentary about a cathedral choir singing project in Liverpool.

  • The project was part of the ‘Sing Up!’ Chorister Outreach Programme, which involved fifteen  schools coming together for two days workshops and performances at both the Anglican and Metropolitan Cathedrals in Liverpool. Friends, family and the public were invited to watch the performances after two days of intense training, learning and activities based around singing. The ultimate aim being to increase the pupils’ appreciation and enjoyment of singing and ability to work as a team with people they had never met before.

So, late May 2009, Al and Stu loaded up their car with kit and began the three hour journey to Liverpool. In these early days Amy worked in The Canyon and dealt with production issues for The Turtles. In order to increase her enjoyment of life we would compile lists of everything that we felt could be improved on the next shoot. Here are some examples from this particular shoot:

  • “Inexplicable presences of traffic jam on a motorway at 11pm.”
  • “Possible dead kangaroo at early point of journey soured what would have been an otherwise excellent start to the journey.”
  • “Al had to drink from a tap.”
  • “At 7:10am a lady knocked at the hotel door only to announce that it was 7:10am. This was arduous.”

Aside from those inconveniences (massive inconveniences) it was a frantic and most enjoyable shoot that resulted in really top-quality footage that was due, in part, to the shooting locations being beautiful and ornate cathedrals and, in part, due to the incredible talents of Al and Stu. (Stuart wrote this didn’t he? – Ed)

“The shoot was to take place over three days,” explained director Stuart Laws, “to allow us to film the various workshops and activities that were designed to develop the pupils’ confidence in their singing. With four different classes taking place at the same time it kept us busy, darting from room to room to capture the growing confidence and enjoyment of the pupils.”

When it came to leave we knew that the hardest work was yet to come, with over 5 hours of footage to be edited down to a fifteen – twenty minute documentary piece. Eager to get back to the office and start the process we were held up by a photo request. Rest assured that that issue was added to the list for Amy’s attention:

  • “Mervyn wanted to take a photo with us by the car, it took a long time to organise.”
  • “We’re on the way home. It’s quite a long way, perhaps Liverpool would consider moving a little closer in time for next week’s shoot.”

“Turtle Canyon are just so good at what they do; always professional, forever creative and never dull.  The quality of their work is superb; it is a joy to work with them.”  said Mervyn, after we asked him to say something about us.


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