Saturday, April 05, 2014

Playing Sound of Music with just one trombone

I'm now doing my second run of the sound of music as a single trombone in the orchestra. It is scored for two, plus the tuba.

I suspect that, more often than not, orchestras will do it this way. The second bone part and to the tuba part aren't exactly superfluous, but it is reasonably easy to cover all the best bits with one instrument. (As long as the instrument is a large bore symphonic horn, that is. Also presuming that there is someone playing the trumpet book. There are several spots with unison trumpet and first trombone, and I've tried to avoid those, opting for harmony parts instead.)

There really isn't much of any interest in the tuba book, but here are the numbers where I've been playing second instead of first. 

6. My favorite things - m167 to the end

21. The grand waltz

24. So long, farewell - play cues at m93

28. Climb every mountain - m28 to the end

29. Entr'acte

32. Reprise: my favorite things

37a. Processional

37b. Canticle (if nothing else 37a and 37b are crucial - and fun to play)

46. Finale ultimo

47. Bows - m53 to the end

Actors' performance notes

For Elsa's second go at Gretl (Footlight Club this time), I made up a little notebook for her to keep track of the notes given by the choreographer, director, and music director after each rehearsal.

I had a page for every number and act that she was in. I started with some notes that I already had for her, and some from the directors. Then, after each rehearsal, we took any additional notes and wrote them in by hand.

Then, we reviewed them before each subsequent rehearsal and performance! Organizing the notes this way made it much easier to review scene by scene and number by number, and it made a big difference!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

CCB Spring Concert

Our first concert with Lucinda Ellert as director went great! Especially considering the limited rehearsal time we had. We were at the Elks again, and that worked just fine for us. Because she had a conflict later in the day, we swapped our part of the program with the jazz band, and I think that worked okay - it didn't present any real problems, anyway.

Our audience was pretty good - they outnumbered the band, which isn't something we could boast of at some of our our concerts!

I also enjoyed introducing Lucinda at the start.

Here's our program:
  • Flourish for Wind Band (listen below!)
  • Army of the Nile
  • First Suite in Eb
  • The Sun Will Rise Again (listen below!)
  • The Magic of Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Suite Miniature*
    • III. Moment Triste
    • IV. Tarentelle
  • Eros Thanatos*
  • Festival March*
* Arranged and directed by Timothy Moore

Flourish For Wind Band by ahconway

The Sun Will Rise Again by ahconway

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Trombone's POV in the Pit

Here's my view from the pit. I'm at the back on this side, with only the percussionist behind me. Fortunately for me, I can see most of what goes on on stage when I'm not playing!

What I hear is usually quite different from what the audience hears. 

Here's the Pirates overture from the audience.

Pirates Overture by ahconway

And here's what I recorded from my seat:

Pirates Overture from the Trombone's POV by ahconway

Candidate Statement for Sudbury Savoyards Board of Trustees

Yesterday, I was elected to the Sudbury Savoyards Board of Trustees. Here's my the statement I submitted to the group in advance as part of the election process.

I’m a trombonist, and I live in Arlington with my wife and two daughters – all big G&S fans like me. The 2014 production of Pirates will be my third show with the Sudbury Savoyards, following The Gondoliers (2013) and Ruddigore (2012). I’ve also played The Mikado (second trombone, no less), The Yeomen of the Guard, and The Grand Duke, in addition to many other musicals. I’m the trombone section leader with the Chelmsford Community Band and President of the band’s board. Before settling in Arlington, I lived in London for many years, where I developed my appreciation for all things Victorian.*

The Sudbury Savoyards has a different feel from other musical or theatrical groups with which I’m involved – this could stem from the charitable focus, or the tradition of the cast applauding the orchestra in the music room after each performance, a rare phenomenon indeed! I’m very interested in learning about what goes on in a production outside of the pit, and this seems an ideal opportunity pop my head above the parapet. I’ve also developed a deep appreciation for Gilbert and Sullivan and I would relish a chance to broaden my exposure beyond the trombone book. Finally, I admire the dedication of the Sudbury Savoyards  to relief of world hunger, and I would be honored to have a more direct role in supporting this mission.

Apart from my boundless energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity, I do have a handful of practical skills that may prove useful. I led the search committee for a new conductor of the Chelmsford Band, so I’d be quite comfortable helping find directors. I also have lots of experience with nonprofit groups and fundraising.  I’m an I.T. guy in my day job, with various social media and marketing mumbo jumbo thrown in, if that’s any help.

* With the possible exception of doilies