Photo Credit: Michel Zylberberg
Fifteen students from the TASIS Elementary School Choir (directed by Melody Tibbits Zanecchia) and seven students from the Middle School Choir (directed by Sarah Grove Locke) recorded backup vocals for Gotthard, one of the most successful Swiss bands of all time, on the afternoon of September 20. The vocals will be used in a song on the band’s 12th studio album, which is set to be released on January 13, 2017.
The incredible opportunity arose after Zanecchia, who performs professionally with the band Melody Tibbits & The Cade, formed a connection with Gotthard when she sang sang backup vocals and a duet with vocalist Nic Maeder on the band’s 2014 album Bang!, their 11th consecutive studio album to reach number one on the Swiss charts. She has since performed live with Gotthard in Zurich and at the Lugano Art and Culture Center and sung backup vocals for several songs on their upcoming album.
Gotthard guitarist Leo Leoni, who co-founded the band in Lugano with Steve Lee in 1998, came up with the idea of having children sing backup vocals for the new album and ran it by Zanecchia, who has been the Elementary School Music Director at TASIS since 2013. She recorded a brief audition with her iPhone and sent it to Leoni, who was impressed enough to soon make the trip, along with Maeder, to Zanecchia’s music classroom in the Aurora building on the main TASIS campus.
After the simple instructions from Maeder that “this is a song about peace,” Zanecchia and Locke guided students through several recordings of the line, “We got a world to save, and only love is real.”
The student vocalists gained confidence with each take, and Leoni and Maeder let them know how good they sounded. (“Sounds fantastic!” said Leoni. “Really good!” added Maeder.) They then played back the vocals on top of their pre-recorded instrumentals and provided students with a brief overview of how they will use editing software to achieve the precise sound they desire.
After taking a moment to pose for a group photo with the band members, students sang the lyric “together” for a second song that will be featured on the new album. Leoni and Maeder then bid the children farewell and expressed sincere gratitude for everyone’s efforts.
“Thank you to Melody and Sarah for helping us and for directing the children to get the sound we wanted,” said Leoni. “Everyone did a great job!”
Check out our ES and MS students on the front page of the September 22 issue of 20 Minuti!