Singing was the initial catalyst for creation of TortoiseClimbing™. In more recent years writing responsibilities have grown, and most recently programming responsibilities were embraced for creation of this website. Depending on your philosophy of how, or why things happen, the creation and significant evolutions of TortoiseClimbing™ might be seen as:
Here's background. You be the judge.
David began singing in elementary school choruses. (Remember when public schools included music education in elementary, then junior high, -now reorganized as middle schools - and high schools?)
NOTE. For those interested, in high school David was part the Annapolis High School choirs' performances of John Staniner's The Crucifixion. David sang the part of Jesus in those performances. A limited number of monophonic, Non-HiFi records were produced from those live performances for private release. The recording was finally Mastered (for the first time) and Restored by TortoiseClimbing™ Audio, the beginning of 2023 when the score became Public Domain. That version is now available for Free download from TortoiseClimbing™'s website in alternative digital audio file formats (and possibly limited burned CDs - at cost). For details see Download The Crucifixion.
Following high school, David decided to take voice lessons in college and privately afterward. He continued singing in choruses and doing solos through college, and afterward.
During college the choir he sang with performed at:
After college David continued participating in various singing activities, including:
In approximately 1990, to create something more lasting than performances, David started investigating possibilities for recording. At that same time, a personal friend asked David to record some duets with him at Bias Recording Studio. He worked mostly with partner Mr. Bob Dawson, but we recorded the duets mostly with then partner Mr. Bill McElroy.)
Based on those experiencies, David decided to undertake doing his recording at Bias. (The relative geographic convienience of Bias' studio to where David lived didn't hurt.)
David recorded almost exclusively with Mr. Bill McElroy as his chief audio engineer and associate producer. He was one of the two partners who established Bias. For details on Bill McElroy, see Bill McElroy.)
David made the decision to create TortoiseClimbing™ as the representive entity for the recording. That included creating a basic website, mailbox and name.
The first creation was a cassette of solo ballads, dominantly with piano accompaniments, but also a few Karaoke accompaniment tracks. The selections are dominantly from shortly before, during, and after the World War II era.
TortoiseClimbing™ had a limited number of cassettes made for private release to family and friends.
Current plans include having converted the analogue master tapes for Nostolgic Solos to digital. (The conversion to digital was completed 5-18-2022.) Future work will remix and remaster a digital version of that recording for general release. Possible release of that remixed and remastered album is 2023.
Bill has a knack for being supportive and helpful to his clients, and getting them comfortable recording in the studio.
It turns out one of Mr. McElroy's earlier experiences in the recording industry crossed with an experience David had with the industry, and is an example of how incredibly small portions of our world can be.
Prior to Mr. McElroy and Mr. Dawson starting Bias in 1973, one of the jobs Bill had was working as a recording engineer for Ed Greene (I've seen references to him as David) at Edgewood Recording Studio in Northwest Washington, DC. (It was initially at 1129 Vermont Avenue NW near Thomas Circle, then moved to 1627 K St., NW). The significance in David's life is Edgewood was the recording studio where his college choir director, Mr. Fague K. Springmann (1933 - 1983) recorded a number of LP albums. He had a magnificent bass-baritone operatic voice "to die for."
Mr. Springmann was instrumental in facilitating a number of wonderful choral experiences in David's college life. Those occurred because Mr. Springmann's magnificant, operatic bass-baritone voice was sought after as a solo artist for performances of very well-known classical compositions, which also needed a chorus. Mr. Springmann successfully suggested his chorus be used as the supporting chorus for some such productions.
In addition to his duties as Associate Professor of Music at the University of Maryland, College Park, Mr. Springmann recorded a number of LPs at Edgewood before and during David's college years. In the mid-1960's, David had an opportunity to accompany Mr. Springmann to an editing session at Edgewood.
That was before multitrack master tapes became common in the late 1960's, and editing meant using a razor blade to cut the tape, remove the unwanted recording take, and splice in the desired revised recording take. (Today that function is performed electronically with recording software commonly referred to as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Mr. Ed Greene (some bios say David) was a co-founder of Edgewood. The genesis for that was Ed was drafted in 1956 and served as a recording engineer for the U.S. Army Band and Chorus in Washington, D.C. Then for some years after his discharge, he remained in DC before going back to New York and later to Toronto, Canada.
After he mustered out of the army, while still in Washington, DC he co-founded Edgewood Studios in about 1958 with radio and television commentator Charles Osgood and composer George Wilkins. George later went to work for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts where he created scores and songs as Director of Music for Walt Disney Imagineering.
Ed went back to New York in about 1970 as chief engineer for MGM Records. Then in the early 1970's he was brought into television audio mixing by Frank Sinatra, and became a very successful (22-time Emmy-winning and 61 nominations) audio mixer for television production and post production. He died in 2017 at age 82.
In about 1993, (just as TortoiseClimbing™ was completing Nostalgic Solos), for personal reasons Mr. Bill McElroy made the decision to go do other things in life and phased out of his role as partner at Bias.
With Mr. McElroy's departure from Bias in 1993, the assistant he had been mentoring, Ms. Gerber-Salins, became David's recording engineer and helped with completing final touches of Nostolgic Solos. She continued as TortoiseClimbing's recording engineer for the next project. (More about Ms. Gerber-Salins below.)
First Mr. McElroy followed a dream to work with trains in a couple different jobs. But after a couple years, in order to be near his son, he moved to Richmond, Virginia, and returned to working in a portion of the recording industry by establishing a mastering studio in Scott's Addition, VA (a neighborhood in Richmond, VA). Then in 2001 he opened SlippedDISC recording studio in the little town of Ashland, Virginia. It is just north of Richmond, and just south of the King's Dominion theme park at Doswell, VA.
Thus, as a result of the evolution of people's lives, TortoiseClimbing™ has sort of come full circle and is again working with Mr. McElroy at his new studio, SlippedDISC. For more information about Mr. McElroy's new recording and mastering studio, click on SlippedDiscAudio.
The next significant influence on TortoiseClimbing's evolution was Ms. Heidi Gerber-Salins. She came to work at Bias in 1991, with Mr. McElroy as her chief mentor. In that role, as part of her responsibilities she occassionally assisted Mr. McElroy in David's recording sessions for TortoiseClimbing™.
That too has it’s own back-story regarding Ms. Gerber-Salins' choice after college to pursue becoming a recording engineer, rather than a gourmet cook. After graduating from college, she studied recording engineering at Omega Studios' School of Applied Recording Arts & Sciences. Upon graduation from Omega's program she was hired by Bias.
Then over the next 4 years, as they worked on the Romantic Duets project, their professional relationship came to also include Ms. Gerber-Salins fulfilling roles of co-producer and very importantly, friend. She also facilitated David and others becoming involved with DC branches of several music organizations, where he met others working in the field.
As the recording engineer and co-producer for TortoiseClimbing's next recording, they slowly worked on the envisioned album of Romantic Duets, dominantly from the early to mid 1990's, many from films and musicals. In contrast to the solo piano dominantly used on the first recording, all accompaniments on the new recording are Karaoke sound tracks. Ms. Gerber-Salins played a significant role in facilitating some wonderful draft duet recordings with various artists.
During work on the draft Romantic Duets album, David's father died in late 1996. In spring 1998 David's mother requested TortoiseClimbing™ record an album of selections from his father's and her favorite, mostly traditional hymns and songs. David and his mother jointly selected which hymns and songs to include.
They also collaborated on decisions regarding desired quality of the recording, and plans for its distribution. An obvious possible choice was to carry on as before:
That would be consistent with:
An alternative possible choice was:
David's mother recommended the latter path. Namely, she preferred:
That decision was a significant redirection from TortoiseClimbing's initial approach, and redefined TortoiseClimbing's future.
Those decisions required TortoiseClimbing™ to take on very expanded roles.
Was it serendipitous (or was it destined?)
It is a scintillatingly delicious story, and a critical part of the evolution of TortoiseClimbing™.
That redirection of TortoiseClimbing's efforts meant Hymns and Songs for Living had to take on many new roles.
David had the good fortune of previously having been involved with many life activities that prepared him to support those multiple new roles for TortoiseClimbing's. Surprisingly, many of the things from his preceeding life complimented the new endevors TortoiseClimbing™ needed. They included:
All provided foundations upon which to learn many of the new roles TortoiseClimbing needed to undertake.
TortoiseClimbing's decision to produce a quality recording for public release meant it had to undertake and accomplish everything done by:
At a high level those new roles for TortoiseClimbing included:
For the recording part -
For the publishing part -
For the website part -
Many of these were significantly new roles that required development of numerous new skills. Since there was no:
The decision this should be a quality recording led to using all live musicians, often multiple musicians on many numbers. In addition to the multiple insturmental accompaniments, some numbers wound up including multiple vocal harmonies.
That means the audio composition on a number of hymns have substantially more interacting components than the simple solos of the Nostalgic Solos and duets of Romantic Duets.
Work on initial recordings for the Hymns and Songs for Living album progressed rapidly from 1998 to 1999 on the selected list from his parents' favorite hymns and songs. Every weekend until she died in August of 1998, David took copies of the latest draft recordings to Annapolis for his mother and her care givers to review progress on the recordings. She was thrilled with the progress being made, but sadly only got to hear rough drafts.
This was a new idea that grew out of making the recording. Initially the idea was for some simple stories to accompany the hymns. However, perhaps a year after his mother died, sometime in 1999, David decided to greatly expand the initial idea. That evolved into the extensive companion book, History Through 26 Hymns and Songs. It presents histories of the times each of the hymns and songs were written, to give the reader an understanding of what shaped the hymns.
The book also includes a number of appendices. They include:
Recording work slowed after David’s mother died.
Then after 10 years at Bias, in 2001 Ms. Gerber-Salins left Bias.
The list of projects she was responsible for is extensively impressive. For anyone interested in seeing that list, Bias, TortoiseClimbing™ preserved that information for your edification. It is as of just before 2001 when Ms. Gerber-Salins left Bias. Click on this link for Heidi-Gerber-at-Bias. (Small world: that also happens to be the year Bill McElroy opened Slipped DISC in Ashland, VA.)
Unlike Mr. McElroy, who initially followed his dream of working with trains before he wound up back with a mastering studio and then a new recording studio, Ms. Gerber-Salins directly struck out on her own and started her speciality recording and production company, All-Access-Audio. First based in Reston, VA, and then in far northern Silver Spring, MD.
Then in about 2004, because of other life demands in both his and his Producer's lives, recording work on the album basically went into hold. Given the decision this should be a quality album, it was clear further work was needed to complete the album. That was the end of Phase I.
Even though audio work was put on hold about 2004, Fortunately, David and Ms. Gerber-Salins continued occassionally meeting as part of an ongoing collaboration developing and reviewing notes/plans for improvements to the existing Phase I draft of Hymns and Songs for Living.
In about 2013, Ms. Gerber-Salins' completed her Masters in Communications from Johns Hopkins University, and her life again evolved from running All-Access-Audio to becoming a full-time University teaching professor:
When Ms. Gerber-Salins became a full-time professor, she had very little discressionary time, and thus the collaboration period planning future work for completing the Hymns and Songs for Living recording ended.
The great news is that David and Ms. Gerber-Salins had put together rather detailed plans to guide Phase II on the recording. David put those plans to work beginning in 2019.
In 2019 TortoiseClimbing™ was able to turn its full attention to this project and initiated Phase II. That included:
Uncompleted loose ends for the multiple pieces of the Hymns and Songs overall project at that time included:
--Greater detail about the multiple parallel activities of:
--Greater detail about building the website included the parallel activities of:
When TortoiseClimbing™ was able to undertake Phase II the beginning of 2019, Ms. Gerber-Salins had previously become a full-time teaching professor, and thus did not have sufficient availibility. Luckily Mr. McElroy was again available at his new Slipped DISC recording studio, which he started in Ashland, Virginia the year Ms. Gerber-Salins left Bias.
Although Ashland, VA is a longer drive in miles, it is only a slightly longer travel time. That's because of substantially less traffic on U.S. 301 going south from Washington, DC, versus rush-hour traffic driving halfway around Washington, DC's beltway. Augmenting practicality of working with Slipped Disc™ are greatly enhanced electronic capabilities for exchanging music files facilitiating collaboration at a distance. Thus, in somewhat of a full-circle experience, TortoiseClimbing™ again is working with Mr. McElroy.
As part of research for the book, History Through 26 Hymns and Songs, TortoiseClimbing™ came across Dr. Nancy L. Graham. She recommended adopting a standardized style manual, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, commonly applied in academic publications.
Mr. David Mather provided initial copy editing comments to achieve greater internal style standardization throughout the book. (Mr. Mather previously worked with David when Mr. Mather served as chief editor for publication of research reports for projects at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.) Unfortunately, he had to have heart surgery, which afterward left him with without the stamina to continue with this project.
Ingrid Bartinique, also a previous colleague, agreed to take on being editor for this book.
When TortoiseClimbing™ built its initial static website, approximately 2003-4, HTML3 was the dominant protocol, CSS2 was only in its infantile stages and not widely implemented by browsers. That initial TortoiseClimbing's website did not use any server-side programming, and only rudimentary client side programming offered by the FrontPage web building software. Development of the new interactive website required acquiring a working knowledge of:
TortoiseClimbing™ was lucky to obtain bio information for most of the artists involved in Phase I recordings.
Most of the Phase I musicians were found. That was because a number are still involved in aspects of the music business in some way. Those reviewed and commented on their bio summaries. Information for a few was found via internet sources. Between those sources information about most was pieced together. (For the few not yet contacted or found via the internet, placeholder pages are included. That includes: one artist from phase I and a couple from phase II for whom biographical information is still being pursued.)
All the pieces for the Hymns and Songs project are coming together for the:
Options for distributing/publishing the recording and book are being researched.
TortoiseClimbing™ continues to have very simpatico working relationships with both Mr. McElroy and Ms. Gerber-Salins. They were and are:
While a far cry from making recordings, etc., this aspect of TortoiseClimbing™ also represents somewhat of a serendipitous or otherwise evolution. K is friends with a then neighbor who established a Pet Care services company. At one point that neighbor needed assistance with her Pet Care business, which caused K to review her situation. Namely, she:
Therefore, K volunteered to help out the neighbor's company in providing such services. Just as other aspects of TortoiseClimbing™ have evolved, K's efforts evolved into assisting her friend and other friends, acquantiences and then others. As part of this service, K has acquired a variety of additional specialized training and skills in providing care for animals needing special assistance.
Thus, over time that initial volunteering to help has grown into what is now K's ongoing Pet Care services, which now includes a webpage on TortoiseClimbing's™ website, and David assisting.
There are a number of currently envisioned projects in the "pipeline" for producing recordings and/or companion books. As those projects evolve, additional information about them will be added to this website. They include:
After all these, and more, TortoiseClimbing™ was created and has now functionally evolved into an independent:
Were all these: logical evolutions; serendipitous happenstances; destined; or maybe some combinations?
What do you think?
For those interested, here is a more detailed illustrative list of things that must be accomplished within the business models for producing recordings; book publishing; and interactive website, including:
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