I've finished a master's degree in theatre research and musicology at the University of Copenhagen. At the end of my final year, I had to arrange a song for big band and afterwards I, myself, had to conduct the whole thing. I chose to arrange the disco version of "One Night Only" from the movie "Dreamgirls". It was a powerful and totally awesome experience to conduct an entire big band with a brass section, drums, guitar, bass, piano, and vocals.
After my exam, I felt like I wasn't 'finished' with the song. It had grown on me, and it felt like I had to get more value out of my many arrangement hours 😉 Ever since then, I've been wanting to re-arrange the scores from my big band arrangement and turn it into pure a cappella. However, it weren't as applicable as I had thought, so I ended up re-arranging the whole thing for voices only... 😛
Through the past couple of years, I've tried different ways of performing the arrangement - should it be sung by a vocal group whose singers would record one section each? Should it be sung by a big choir? What kind of sound would match the arrangement and make it stand out?... Well, I ended up recording the arrangement in a studio, as I learned that it fit the sound of the arrangement the best.
The sheet music
My a cappella rendition of the disco version of "One Night Only" has been arranged for 8 different groups of voices:
- A lead vocal
- A 4-part choir section
- A 4-part piano role
- A 5-part brass section
- A 3-part string section
- A guitar
- A 2-part disco bass
- A multi-layered beatboxer
In total that makes more than 20 different voices. On top of that, I can tell you that several of these voices have been dubbed by other singers - so the final vocal production has more than 50 tracks in it 🙂
When I arrange a cover like this, I sit down and listen closely to the instrumentation and the individual instrumental parts in the song, so I can copy melody parts and sounds as close to the original as possible. Therefore, the goal of a production like this, is to make it sound as close to the original music. For instance, we spent quite some time in the studio trying to produce a trustworthy brass sound - that took a whole lot of time, effort, and spit...
All of the vocals have been recorded by Cowfish Audio owned by Kaspar Frederiksen. Kaspar and I studied together at the University of Copenhagen and have since then teamed up and co-operated on a number of different productions. He was also in charge of the recording of my Stockmann Stage jingle.
The final track has been mastered by Holger Lagerfeldt.
Some of the singers in this video are new acquaintances to me - others are singers that I've worked with for years. It was a blast working with this constellation of different singers, talents, and energies - a group put together for the specific purpose of creating this one a cappella track.
Around half of the singers in this production sing in a gospel choir called Oikos - a choir that I've had the privilege of working with on different occasions. Last time we teamed up was to perform a wedding flash mob.
The other half of singers are primarily singers that I've worked with in other productions and singers of choirs that I've conducted or arranged for at an earlier stage. The group also consists of singers that have contacted me and asked if they could join the production of this specific song.
After recording everything in the studio, we shot a music video at my work place Kastanievej Efterskole. Louis Messell was the man behind the camera.
Not all of the singers that joined me in the studio were able to make it the day of the video shoot. As their beautiful voices are part of the final audio track, I'd like to pay a special thanks to all of singers participating in both recording and/or the music video:
- Christina Winkel Donskov (lead)
- Maj Nyled Madsen
- Louise Desirée Bottelet
- Anna Bjerning Berg Andersen
- Sara Bøge Breinholt
- Sidsel Bjelke
- Signe Hertz Brock Roslind
- Susan Torres Engelin
- Randi Bech Højgaard
- Rasmus Ludvigsen
- Ditte Lykke Eisner
- Silja Kofoed
- Mette Balling Lisby
- Christina Boje Johannsen
- Jannie Marie Bülow Sand
- Dina Graae Kristensen
- Freja Venning
- Bjarke Brandt
- Simon Husum Fyhr
- Kristian Bernth
- Julian Christian Thiesgaard Kellerman