What is TortoiseClimbing™
How did it come to exist?
How is it evolving?
Depending on your philosophy of how, or why things happen, you could perceive the creation, or coming into existence and evolution of TortoiseClimbing™ as:
You be the judge. Here's the story.
Singing was the major catalyst.
David began singing in elementary school choruses. (Remember when public schools included music education in elementary, junior [reorganized as middle] and high schools?) He took voice lessons in college and afterward. He continued singing in choruses and doing solos through college, and afterward. Those provided many wonderful life experiences.
After college David became involved in various singing activities, including:
Beginning in approximately 1990, based on a desire to create something more lasting with his singing than just concerts, he started dabbling at recording.
He wound up recording at Bias Recording Studio because of a request from a personal friend that was making personal recordings, and asked David to do some duets with him. The geographic convienience of the studio didn't hurt.
David's friend largely worked with Mr. Bill McElroy. Thus, when David began recording Nostalgic Solos, Mr. McElroy became David's recording engineer at Bias Recording Studio. (Mr. Bill McElroy was one of two partners who established Bias.) He has a knack for being supportive and helpful to his clients, and getting them comfortable recording in his studio.
Mr. McElroy's previous experiences in the recording industry provides an illustration of how incredably small a world we tend to revolve within. Before Mr. McElroy and his partner started Bias, Bill worked as a recording engineer at Edgewood Recording Studio in downtown Washington, DC. That recording studio was used by David’s college choir director, Mr. Fague K. Springmann (1933 - 1983), who had a magnificent bass-baritone operatic voice "to die for."
Note. Mr. Springmann recorded at Edgewood before multitrack master tapes. Editing meant using a razor blade to cut the tape and take out the unwanted recording take and splicing in the desired recording take. During the period David sang in Mr. Springmann’s choir in college, he had an opportunity to accompany Mr. Springmann to one of his editing sessions at Edgewood.
Mr. Springmann was instrumental in facilitating a number of wonderful choral experiences in David's college life. Those occurred because of Mr. Springmann's operatic bass-baritone voice. His magnificant voice caused him to be selected as a solo artist for very well-known classical compositions which also needed a chorus. Mr. Springmann successfully suggested his chorus be used as the supporting chorus for such productions.
A subsequent influence on David's recordings is Ms. Heidi Gerber-Salins, who came to work at Bias in 1991, and initially occassionally assisted Mr. McElroy in David's studio sessions as part of her responsibilities.
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 and was hired by Bias.
Then, in about 1993 for personal reasons, Mr. McElroy decided to go do other things in life and started fazing out of Bias. First he 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 near Richmond, Virginia, and returned to the recording industry by establishing a mastering studio in Scott's Addition, VA (a neighborhood in Richmond). Then in 2001 he established the new SlippedDISC studio just north of Richmond, Virginia in the little town of Ashland, Virginia (just south of the King's Dominion theme park at Doswell). David now works with Mr. McElroy at SlippedDISC. You can find out more about Mr. McElroy's new recording and mastering studio by clicking on SlippedDISCAudio.
After about 10 years at Bias, just as Mr. McElroy before her had left Bias, Ms. Gerber-Salins left. 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 struck out on her own and started her own speciality recording and production company, All-Access-Audio. First in Reston, VA, and then in far northern Silver Spring, MD.
To see a summary of archived information for numerous projects Ms. Gerber-Salins was responsible for as a recording engineer and producer while with Bias, click on this link for Heidi-Gerber-at-Bias. This archived material is from around 2001 when Ms. Gerber-Salins left Bias (and when Bill McElroy established Slipped DISC.) This archived information is preserved by TortoiseClimbing for your edification.)
In about 2013 Ms. Gerber-Salins' life moved on again from running All-Access-Audio to becoming a University teaching professor.
TortoiseClimbing was created by David Goettee as part of his recording his first simple, private album, Nostalgic Solos. On that album, the accompaniments are dominantly piano, with a couple Karaoke accompaniment tracks. The songs on that album are dominantly from shortly before, during, and after the World War II era.
That recording was being completed about the time Mr. McElroy decided to phase out of Bias. Ms. Gerber-Salins became David's recording engineer to provide a few final touches of assistance for completing that album.
A limited number of privately released cassettes were produced and made available to family and friends.
Current plans are to have the analogue master tapes David has from that project converted to produce a digitally remastered and remixed version of that recording.
When Mr. McElroy left Bias in 1993, Ms. Gerber-Salins became David's recording engineer and co-producer. Together they slowly worked on recording what was envisioned as the next album of largely Romantic Duets, dominantly from the early to mid 1990's, many from films and musicals. The accompaniments are dominantly Karaoke sound tracks.
Over the next 4 years dabbling on that project, Ms. Gerber-Salins’ professional relationship expanded to include her fulfilling roles of co-producer, singing collaborator and very importantly, friend. Ms. Gerber-Salins played a significant role in helping David record some wonderful draft duet recordings with various others. Ms. Gerber-Salins also facilitated David becoming involved with DC branches of several music organizations where he met others working in the field.
This project is an example of a succession of serendipitous (or was it destined?) events. It is a scintillatingly delicious story, and a critical part of the evolution of TortoiseClimbing™.
Following completion of the Nostalgic Solos recording, and during the ongoing work on the draft Romantic Duets album, David's father died in late 1996. Then, in spring 1998 David's mother asked him to record an album of his father's and her favorite, traditional hymns and songs. That became Hymns and Songs for Living.
His mother's request created a short but critical collaboration with her where they discussed what the album should be, i.e., either:
The decisions made redefined TortoiseClimbing's future. Namely:
Their decisions to create both a quality album and to make it available for general distribution was crystallizing! It also was a departure from David's previous efforts which had made simple, private albums for friends and family.
For accompaniments, the first recording, Nostalgic Solos, used a live musician playing piano on most cuts, and a couple Karaoke tracks. The Romantic Solos album used almost exclusively Karaoke tracks for its accompaniments. The decision to make a quality recording significantly changed the focus for accompaniments to be used by TortoiseClimbing for the Hymns and Songs for Living album.
For the Hymns and Songs for Living album all the accompaniments are live musicians, often multiple musicians, plus some of the accompaniments were explicitly developed for this recording, including for some of the multiple vocal harmonies. Thus, this recording is a considerably more complicated and producted structure than the simple solos and duets of the Nostalgic Solos and Romantic Duets recording.
David immediatly began work on the hymns and songs album with Ms. Gerber-Salins, working from the list of hymns and songs selected with his mother. Every weekend until September of 1998 he took copies of the latest draft recordings for his mother and her care givers for them to be part of the progress of making the recording. She was thrilled with the progress being made, but sadly did not live to hear the final recording.
David was trained (inculcated?) in the philosophy of diligently preparing for your future. Surprisingly, many of the things that preceeded in his life, seemed to compliment this new endevor. They included:
They helped lay foundations for undertaking many of the new actions TortoiseClimbing needed to undertake.
The decisions that Hymns and Songs for Living would be a quality recording, made for general availably, meant all the following new things became necessary:
That meant it was necessary to undertake and accomplish everything done by:
Some of these were new, significantly different undertakings from those involved with the beginning simple concept of TortoiseClimbing. They also had to be undertaken without a mentor.
All the new dimensions of detailed business knowledge about what record labels, technical programers and website publishers must do, either had to be hired or learned to create an album, book and website for release to the public. Fortunately David had a solid foundation of previous skills on which to learn and build the new skills necessary.
For those interested, here is an illustrative list of examples of things that must be accomplished within the recording; book publishing; and website business models:
-That version of the website was simplistic static HTML, i.e., did not include any server-side programming to provide intelligent interactions such as a contact form, or any other interactive capabilities, from either server based programming, or client based programming.
- Note. The final software release of FrontPage was in 2003, and Microsoft discontinued that HTML editing software after that.
The initial Phase I of recording the Hymns and Songs for Living album progressed rapidly from 1998 to 1999. Work slowed after David’s mother died, and basically went onto hold around 2003 because of other life influences in both his and his producer's lives.
A related decision was also made around 2002 to expand what were initially conceived of as the CD notes to become what is now the book of detailed Hymn History Stories for each of the hymns and songs.
About 2003, because of conflicting demands in both David's and Ms. Gerber-Salins lives, work on this album went into hiatus.
In 2019 David was able to turn his full attention to this project and undertook Phase II to complete all aspects of the Hymns and Songs project. In addition to completing the audio recording, there were the additional parallel projects of:
David had very simpatico working relationships with both Mr. McElroy and Ms. Gerber-Salins during those years, and still has. They were and still are:
As noted above, in January of 2019 David again became able to devote all his time to tying up the multiple long hanging loose ends for completing the Hymns and Songs for Living project that resulted from his mother requesting him to record their favorite hymns and songs.
The loose ends for Hymns and Songs are:
Luckily from a recording perspective, since Ms. Gerber-Salins had moved on to being a teaching professor, Mr. McElroy was again available at his Slipped DISC recording studio in Ashland, Virginia. Thus, in somewhat of a full-circle experience, David again began working with Mr. McElroy.
From an editing perspective, as part of his research for the Hymn History Stories book, David came in touch with Dr. Nancy L. Graham, who expressed an interest in providing general editorial comments for the Hymn History Stories book. Her comments focused on recommenations for standardizing the presentation structure throughout the book. She recommended selection and application of one of the style manuals commonly applied in academic publications. David selected the Chicago style manual, and revised the book to conform to it.
Next, David turned to Mr. David Mather for detailed content/copy editing throughout the book. David had previously worked with Mr. Mather when he served as chief editor when David was publishing research projects he managed for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Another lucky evolution was being able to find bio information for most of the artists involved years ago with the phase I recording. That is because a number of artists in the music business now either place, or others do, information about themselves on the internet. From those sources, and the artists David succeeded in contacting, he pieced together information about most, and succeeded in contacting most of the artists to review the summaries. As a result, David completed summary biographical information for almost all the artists. (Placeholder pages are included for one from phase I and a couple from phase II for whom information is still being pursued.)
Luckily for learning the technical skills need to build this website, David had a relatively extensive background in Information Systems from college and various job responsibilities over the years, including teaching Information Systems.
(A couple of these are still pending as of late 2020.)
David drew on his Information Systems background from both college and work. Those gave him the foundation on which to learn the new details and become competent with current internet protocols and languages.
When he built the initial website in 2004, HTML3 was the dominant protocol, CSS was only in its infantile stages and not widely implemented by browsers, and he did not use any client or server-side programming. That meant he had to acquire a working knowledge of:
All the pieces for the Hymns and Songs for Living project are coming together in 2020 for the:
There are three other planned projects in the pipeline to produce recordings, presumably accompanying publications, and expansions of this website to include details about them. These will be elaborated on later. They include two earlier projects, and a contemplated new project:
This too represents somewhat of a serendipitous or otherwise evolution. K was friends with a then neighbor who had relatively recently established a Petsitting services company. At one point that neighbor needed assistance with her Petsitting business, which caused K to review her situation. Namely, she:
Therefore, K decided to volunteer to help out the neighbor's company in providing such services. That evolved into K providing such services to other friends, acquantiences and then others. As part of this service, K has acquired a variety of specialized training and skills in providing care for animals needing special assistance.
Thus, over time that initial volunteering has grown into what is now K's ongoing Petsitting services, which now includes David assisting.
After all these, and more, TortoiseClimbing™ has functionally evolved into an independent recording label, publishing house, web content creator, and also providing Petsitting services in central Southern Maryland. What might be next?
So, were all these logical evolutions, serendipitous happenstances, or destined?
What do you think?