Interlochen!

I recently reunited with one of my cabin-mates at Interlochen from NINETEEN YEARS AGO! We haven’t seen each other since that amazing summer, but I still feel like we are and will continue to be lifelong friends. Here’s what Andrea — an outstanding horn player and music teacher — had to say:

This is a little late, but on Valentine’s, Ryan Vella and I went to see “Hamilton” at the Straz in Tampa. And if you know me, you know how much I love it, but that’s not why I’m writing this post. The best part of the night was when I first opened the playbill, and to my complete surprise, it flipped open to a photo of one of my cabin-mates from Interlochen Arts Camp ‘00, Ashley Baier who is performing in “Hundred Days,” which is running next door to “Hamilton.” So, after 19 years (seriously, how has it been that long!?) and yet again, thank you to Victoria Guyre, we got to see Ashley’s performance last Friday. Even though we could only chat for a little afterwards, it was wonderful and surreal to see you, and like you said, I hope we don’t wait another 2 decades until we see each other again! Congratulations on a beautiful performance - you all certainly give the Hamilton casts in Tampa (and NYC) a run for their money. If you’re reading this and in the Tampa Bay area, go see “Hundred Days!” They’ll be there until the end of March. ❤️

Here are some pics Andera shared as well:

I’d never seen this picture before! Me in the center with Erin to the left and Andrea to the right.

I’d never seen this picture before! Me in the center with Erin to the left and Andrea to the right.

Our awesome cabin! So many amazing ladies in this group. Can you spot me?

Our awesome cabin! So many amazing ladies in this group. Can you spot me?

Andrea and I outside of the Straz after the show. It was so nice to catch up and meet her husband.

Andrea and I outside of the Straz after the show. It was so nice to catch up and meet her husband.


Back at it: Hundred Days

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The latest version of Hundred Days is up and running at the Straz in Tampa. We had two days of tech and open Tuesday. My friend from college, Scott Crawford, provided the rental — a beautiful, brand new Pearl Session Studio Classic kit. It sounds great! Scott is a fantastic percussionist and all-around great guy. It was a dream come true to have him tech for me on Sunday. I can’t wait to hang with him some more on this 2.5 month stint in Tampa.

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Down the Mountain

Here is one of my highlights of the Grinch. “Down the Mountain” starts and ends on timpani and has a rockin’ tom part. This scores the scene in which the Grinch sleds down Mount Crumpit, cracking the whip (as played by Key 2) at his dog, Max. It is always a thrill to play.

Rig Rundown: The Grinch

The Grinch is off to a good start here in Green Bay. Let’s take a look at my setup for this season:

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This year I’m playing a Champagne Sparkle DW kit It sounds great for this particular show. Beefy toms! I’m using a variety of Zildjian cymbals.

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Using the always trusty Roland SPD-SX with 9 different kits programmed (woodblocks, gong, tambourine, bass drum, chimes, glock, sleigh bells, triangle, finger cymbal, ratchet, and one timpani patch are all programmed). Two Adams timpani (29” and 26”). I also have an acoustic cowbell and Jam Block, but they didn’t make the pictures.

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Mmmm… I love a good metal station. Mark tree, two triangles, one finger cymbal, and three Miller Machines.

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Delvcam mounted on my music stand so I can see the conductor when I’m reading the music.

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Stick tray with a variety of multi-sticks, timpani mallets, brushes, triangle beater, sus mallets, and two caxixi.

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And finally, Aviom land. Each band member has their own channel in addition to a conductor mic and onstage mic.

That's a Wrap: Hundred Days

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My time performing in Hundred Days at La Jolla Playhouse was a dream come true. It was a pleasure to get to work each day with some of the most artistic, compassionate, and talented people I've ever met. I can't wait to start up the show again in Tampa in January. Until then, I'll be walking, I'll be walking.

📸: Lindsey Augusta Mercer

Rig Rundown: Hundred Days

The cellist is naked! The throne is falling off the riser! What kind of show is this??? Let’s take a look at my setup for Hundred Days here at the La Jolla Playhouse!

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La Jolla Playhouse provided me with this black Gretsch Catalina maple kit. It was amazing not having to worry about schlepping drums across the country or setting up a rental in San Diego. The kit sounds great. We are expecting some new heads to arrive any day now.

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AVIOM land is a good scene! I have two running here: One for each instrument and voice and a dedicated one for just the drum mix. We are all using in-ear monitors which has been a godsend. I may never be able to go back to a wedge again!

Drum key and Moon Gels in an accessible position in case of emergency.

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I’m using my trusty SPD-SX for this one. I’ve built 12 kits (some of which are just running click tracks). The electronics add a nice element to this show. All sounds were provided by the composer, Shaun Bengson, except for a few 808 bass drums and claps. I’ve enjoyed working with our sound designer, Nicholas Pope, on dialing in levels and effects for each sound. I have a few glow dots on the machine so I know where to hit during two black out sections.

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I’m running a pedal trigger out of the SPD-SX for bass drum and other sounds and using a foot switch to turn the click track on and off. More glow dots!

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I finally get to put those contemporary percussion ensemble skills to use during a song that features bowed crotales. It’s a nice effect for the piece and serves as a few meditative minutes for me to re-center and think about what’s coming up next.

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Oh yeah, I’m a singer now! I sing harmony on a few songs. It has been a challenge for sure, but I’m surrounded by many amazing and supportive singers who are always uplifting.

The show runs in San Diego through October 21. If you are in the area, come on out to a show! Otherwise, perhaps I’ll see you this winter in Tampa or Miami!

From the Rehearsal Room: Hundred Days

Hello from Day 2 of rehearsals for Hundred Days. Things are going along swimmingly! I’m an actor now! In addition to drumming for the show, I do some singing and choreography. Pray for me! Here’s a pic of my rehearsal setup. The midi keyboard is not part of my track, it’s just to help me with the vocals, as I’m singing on stage for the first time since singing a song from Annie at my seventh grade choir concert. Yikes.

VÉRITÉ

Vérité is the truth, ya'll. It was a pleasure to backup Kelsey with an all-female orchestra at National Sawdust last night. She has a rabid fan base and it was heartwarming to watch the audience sing along to every tune. Thanks to The Hum and Kristine Kruta for making this happen! 

Take Flight

Thanks to Cameron Kinnear, who I first met on Grinch last year, for having me at Lake Dillon's gala last week. We played a wonderful program consisting of blocks of music from Cole Porter, Pasek & Paul, and women composers of New York. Colorado was amazing. I hope to be back next year! 

Altar Boyz

I had the pleasure of being the rehearsal drummer for Cape Playhouse's upcoming production of Altar Boyz. It was my first time working on a show from it's absolute beginnings. I was incredibly impressed with the leadership of director/choreographer Jason Sparks and his associate, Gina Duci, as well as the dancing and singing capabilities of the 5 performers. It was a fun and rewarding challenge to work literally measure-by-measure with Jordan Jones-Reese, who I first collaborated with during The Grinch in 2016. If you're in Cape Cod over the next two weeks, I highly recommend checking out the show! 

That's a Wrap: Interstate at NYMF

We closed Interstate last week after 6 shows. I wish we could've played at least 6 more. Thankfully, I think this is only the beginning for this powerful show. 

Because there's such a quick turnaround and it's easier to control the sound, every drummer playing a NYMF show has to play the provided electronic kit. I've used the Roland TD-30 in the past, but this was my first time programing it. I built 4 kits and setup a kit chain for the show. It was a pretty easy & intuitive process, as is usually the case with Roland. 

If you saw the show, please considering voting Interstate as the best of the fest

Support Interstate

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I start rehearsals for Interstate next week. It's one of the 12 shows chosen for the New York Musical Festival this season -- and the opening night show, taboot, taboot!

The music is wonderful and the story is one that is close to my heart, to say the least. Please contribute to the Kickstarter if you can and I hope to see you at one of the shows! #RepresentationMatters

Congrats, Reiss!

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Congratulations to Reiss Mikula, recipient of the second Ashley Baier Award in Percussion Excellence, presented by the Allegany High School Band Department. Good luck in the fall as you enter Frostburg State University as a percussion major! Here is Reiss pictured with ALCO Director of Percussion Studies, Mark Gauthier.