Depending on your philosophy of how, or why things happen, you might think of the creation (or coming into existence) and subsequent evolution of TortoiseClimbing™ as:
Here's some background into how it happened. You be the judge.
Singing was the major catalyst that led to creation of TortoiseClimbing™.
David began singing in elementary school choruses. (Remember when public schools included music education in elementary, then junior high, -now reorganized as middle- and high schools?) Following that he took 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, based on a desire 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. (He was recording at Bias Recording Studio, mostly with partner Mr. Bob Dawson, but occassionally with partner Mr. Bill McElroy.)
After recording several duets with his friend, David decided he would do his recording at Bias. (The relative geographic convienience of Bias' studio to where David lived didn't hurt.)
David began working 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.)
As part of recording the first album for private release, David made the decision to create TortoiseClimbing™ as the entity responsible for the recording. That included creating a basic website, mailbox, name, creation of the cassettes, etc.
The first album was 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.
The newly created TortoiseClimbing™ had a limited number of cassettes of Nostalgic Solos made for private release to family and friends.
Current plans include converting the analogue master tapes David has for the Nostolgic Solos album to digital and creating a remixed and remastered digital version of that recording for general release. (The conversion to digital was completed 5-18-2022.)
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 some experiences David had with the industry. It 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. (Initially at 1129 Vermont Avenue NW near Thomas Circle, then moved to 1627 K St., NW). The significance is Edgewood was the recording studio where David’s 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 very well-known classical compositions that also needed a chorus. Mr. Springmann successfully suggested his chorus be used as the supporting chorus for a number of such productions.
In addition to his duties as Associate Professor of Music at the University of Maryland, College Park, Mr. Springmann privately recorded LPs at Edgewood before and during David's college years when David sang in Mr. Springmann’s choir. 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 and take out the unwanted recording take, and splice in the desired recording take. (Today that function is performed electronically with recording software commonly referred to as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Edgewood was co-founded by Mr. Ed Greene (some bios say David), who 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 was 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 established SlippedDISC 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.
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 dabbling on the Romantic Duets project, Ms. Gerber-Salins’ professional relationship expanded to include her fulfilling roles of co-producer and very importantly, friend. She also facilitated David 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 recordings with David, they slowly worked on recording that next envisioned album of largely Romantic Duets, dominantly from the early to mid 1990's, many from films and musicals. The accompaniments are Karaoke sound tracks. Ms. Gerber-Salins played a significant role in helping record 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 his father's and her favorite, mostly traditional hymns and songs. David and his mother collaborated on selecting which hymns and songs to include.
They also collaborated in making the decisions regarding desired quality of the recording and distribution of the album. 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 choice. Namely, she preferred:
That was a significant redirection from TortoiseClimbing's initial approach, and redefined TortoiseClimbing's future.
That redirection of TortoiseClimbing's efforts to instead produce a quality album for public release, 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 used all live musicians, often multiple musicians. In addition to the multiple insturmental accompaniments, some numbers also wound up including multiple vocal harmonies.
That means the audio composition for a number of the hymns on the recording have substantially more interacting components than the simple solos and duets of the Nostalgic Solos and Romantic Duets recordings.
That also meant TortoiseClimbing 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 from the initial simple concept of making simple recordings for private release, and required development of numerous new skills. There was no:
Thus, TortoiseClimbing™ undertook learning how to perform all those roles. Fortunately, David had a strong foundational base of knowledge and skills to assist in learning and building the necesary new skills needed by TortoiseClimbing™.
Work on recording the Hymns and Songs for Living album progressed rapidly from 1998 to 1999. Working from the list of favorite hymns and songs David and his mother had selected for inclusion on the album, 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.
Recording work slowed after David’s mother died.
A related decision was made, perhaps a year after his mother died, sometime in 1999, to greatly expand the initially conceived notes to accompany the recording. That expansion evolved into the extensive companion book, History Through 26 Hymns and Songs. That book presents the histories of the times each of the hymns and songs were written, and thus shaped what the hymns are.
It also includes a historical appendix summarizing the sweep of history from Christ's death until the past century that influenced development of congregational hymn singing; plus an appendix of history about the American Colony after writing of the hymn "It Is Well with My Soul." Lots of footnotes and index cross references are included throughout the book.
Another impact on the recording process occurred in 2001, when after 10 years at Bias, Ms. Gerber-Salins left Bias.
For anyone interested in seeing the extensive list of projects Ms. Gerber-Salins was responsible for as a recording engineer and producer while with Bias, TortoiseClimbing™ preserved that information for your edification. That material is as of around 2001 when Ms. Gerber-Salins left Bias. Click on this link for Heidi-Gerber-at-Bias. (That also happens to be the year Bill McElroy established 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, recording work on the album basically went onto hold because of other life demands in both his and his Producer's lives. Even though Phase I audio work was put on hold about 2004, it was clear the very solid work accomplished could further benefit from additional work to fully achieve David's mother's preference for a quality recording of the selected favorite hymns and songs.
Fortunately, David and Ms. Gerber-Salins continued occassionally meeting as part of an ongoing collaboration. That process developed notes/plans for improvements to the 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 planning for the future David and Ms. Gerber-Salins had accomplished together was finally put to work beginning in 2019. It provided significant guidance for Phase II of the audio recording.
David was trained (inculcated?) with the philosophy of diligently preparing for your future. Surprisingly, many of the things that preceeded in his life, complimented this new endevor with TortoiseClimbing™. They included:
All provided foundations upon which to learn many of the new roles TortoiseClimbing needed to undertake.
In 2019 TortoiseClimbing™ became able to turn its full attention to this project and initiated Phase II of the project. That included:
Uncompleted loose ends for the multiple pieces of the Hymns and Songs overall project then 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 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 is because there is substantially less traffic on U.S. 301 going south from Washington, DC, versus rush-hour traffic driving halfway around Washington, DC's beltway. Augmenting the practicality of that decision to work with Slipped Disc™ is the greatly enhanced electronic capabilities for exchanging music files for 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.) He had to have heart surgery and afterward did not have 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 in approximately 2003-4, HTML3 was the dominant protocol, CSS was only in its infantile stages and not widely implemented by browsers. The initial version of 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 who were involved years prior in creating the Phase I recordings.
Most of the Phase I musicians were found, because a number are still involved in aspacts of the music business in some way. Thus, they or their current employer placed information about them on the internet. Those those artists 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:
This too 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 TortoiseClimbing™ has evolved, K's efforts evolved into establishing a service to assist 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 4 to 6 other 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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