“David Brandon has been a top influence in my son’s life. His excellent guitar instruction has catapulted my son to a level of playing that has made him stand out among his peers. Even more importantly, he is a model for my son’s character. That is something no one can put a price tag on!”

- G. Eddins, mom

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The Sound of Perfection

My favorite movie has long been The Sound of Music, with its great music, spectacular scenery, and inspiring story. So when guitarist Christopher Parkening asked me to record Silent Night with him and Julie Andrews for her 1990 Hallmark Christmas album, I was thrilled for the opportunity. I flew to Los Angeles, and after rehearsing the piece with him, we went to Julie’s office to work out the musical interpretation with her. Julie was as warm and gracious as she seems on the big screen. I remember thinking as I played and she sang, that I was hearing the very familiar and famous voice of Maria von Trapp and Mary Poppins along with our guitars. She remarked she had chosen Silent Night for her recording because it was originally written for guitar and voice, and that it has a lovely, intimate quality.

After we worked out the musical details, we recorded a version with her right there in her office on a small tape recorder. Chris and I then headed to Capitol Records, where we recorded our real guitar tracks with Neumann microphones while listening to our demo version through the headset. After we were satisfied with our recording, Julie recorded her voice on top of that. The producer then added the London Symphony Orchestra and Ambrosian Boys Choir to fill out the arrangement. The result is a intricate full version of Silent Night that just started with an informal recording at the Julie Andrews headquarters.

We met with Julie again two days later at Capitol Records to do a promo video for Hallmark. It was a staged production, with Chris and I actually “guitar syncing” to our real recording. Julie’s voice was live, but it was not the actual final version. It was great to hear her wonderful voice once more along side our playing. Overall we spent hours and hours on the project, making sure every detail was right. Julie Andrews is indeed a perfectionist, and she was brilliant to work with. In fact she said that, “The amateur works until he can get it right. The professional works until he cannot go wrong.” That’s great advice from one of the greatest movie stars and singers of our time.

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