I found myself wondering how much time it would take to go from "let's make an orchestral version of 'Here We Go'" to having a recorded performance good enough to play on the radio.
The song is not very complex or subtle; its primary virtues are that it covers the essential points (i.e., "Here", "We", "Go", and "Steelers"), and it's straightforward enough to be performed by inebriated fans. For those who don't know the song, it's probably of similar complexity to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".
The orchestra is composed of professionals; they're probably good at picking up tunes. On the other hand, they have fairly high standards for what they're willing to release on the radio.
My guess is that the reality falls somewhere between these two scenarios:
• The conductor says "Hey, let's play 'Here We Go' in D". Almost everyone is ready to go in a minute or two. There's one violinist who doesn't know the tune, because he has recently immigrated and not gone out much, but his seatmate hums it for him and he's ready to go by the time the conductor finishes giving quick instructions to the woodwinds. On the second playing, they're ready to record; on the second recording, they've got something to send to WQED.
• The musicians need sheet music to perform their best, so somebody takes a few hours to arrange the song for the orchestra. Each of the musicians takes an hour of solo practice to get it note-perfect. Once they play together, it takes an hour to make sure that they all sound great together, then three recordings to make sure they've got a good one.
Can any of my readers shed more light on how long it really takes?