Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 5 - Can't think of a catch phrase to write here

Part 2 of the Gothic symphony, sectional practice. Peter Luff, french horn extraordinaire, put us through our parts with out any let up. His open, witty, friendly personality plus the fact that he can actually conduct, made for an enjoyable and productive morning.

In typical fashion, as soon as the documentary carmera rolled up, his vanity levels  peaked. He was so concerned about how good looking his hair was, I actually offered to loan him my hair brush! But seriously, the camera and boom mike guy didn't interfere with our work.

After witnessing how much time was wasted the day before, with the strings sorting their parts out at the rehearsal almost making the brass section shout out "do it in your sectionals", our "sectional"  feelings were justified. Quite a few sections from vairous parts differed from what was written in the score. Most notably in the tuba parts were 2 sets of rest bars inaccurately numbered. Now our parts have the same number of bars as the score, we hope! Another part, for the entire "tuba section" ;-) had the wrong rhythm according to the score and euphonium parts. Funny enough, even with this error, it seemed to fit in during the tutti rehearsal.

Tuba parts and trumpet parts were now fixed. A few intonation issues had crept into the "tuba section" but after 4 days, we were tired. Having the afternoon off in addition to Saturday (RDO) will benefit all brass who perfromed all week. Sunday rehearsal will be a tour de force, well... It might be a rest for us (brass) slightly. I'm sure most of the time will be spent with the choir and managing the "brass bands". Brass band consists only of 8 brass plus a set of tympani, they are not your standard British or American style brass bands.

More fun for the organisers, managing almost 500 performers on Sunday. It will be an experience!

Divas and egotistical 'soloists'. Our MD John Curro was relaying to the orchestra that the 4 soloists chosen for this performance of the Gothic Symphony, had quit, for varying reasons, but mainly due to their egos. He suggested to our vocal director that we extract the 4 necessary soloists from the choir. They wouldn't be pretencious and they would compliment the choir, as they already have a "choir" sound in their head and voice. I could be wrong in this interpretation but this is what happens when you sit at the back of a double sized orchestra with many noises to contend with the MD's talking, it all becomes white noise!!!

I mentioned this fact in the very first post in this blog. Since then, others (espcially those sitting toward the rear of the orchestra) have been justifying my noise claims. Yes, John does have a microphone to use but it's on a mike stand and if he keeps it infront of his face, it gets in the way of his conducting. Some times he does use it, quite often at the end of a long "chat" to the orchestra, which doesn't help the fact the previous 95% of what he said turned into white noise.

A wireless clip mike attached to his shirt, or even a wireless headset would work much better than what we have. What we do have will work, if John uses it all the time. Oddly enough, the orchestra is very well disciplined with regard to this noise issue. Yes, there are "cacophonic" moments but "we" pull our heads in and make sure we can hear our MD. It's not a perfect situation but given the fact that so far well over 100 strangers are in the same place at the same time, we are doing quite well.

Let's see how we cope with an extra 200+ performers, sitting even further back from the msuical director. Let the good times roll I say!

Stay tuned (as more performers join us) with the Gothic Tuba Experience

John Szkutko

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