Sunday, July 29, 2012

Performance Diary

The Kenwood Players recently performed at the annual summer family barbecue and picnic over at James Madison's Montpelier. Thanks to my cousin Ada and her husband Ed for taking these photos and passing them along, and to the Montpelier Foundation for granting permission for me to put them up on the blog.

The threat of rain moved the event from the back yard of the mansion to the Grand Salon in the Visitor's Center. While people were gathering four of us played some music from the time of James and Dolley Madison. We started out with flute, alto flute, clarinet and drum playing selections from Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. While people were getting their barbecue I switched to guitar and we played Mrs. Madison's Minuet and Mrs. Madison's Waltz, both of which were originally written for the piano. More info on the music of the Madison era is here.
I'd asked brothers Don and Bob (a docent at Montpelier) to help us out by singing some of the period songs and here's a nice shot of them doing that.
Here's a shot of the group during our second set. You can see the little monitor speakers, which were all the amplification we needed indoors. The most important thing they do is to let the players hear the guitar. I use them even in small churches, because when I'm out in front of the group the guitar is hard for them to hear.
In this photo you can see a little condenser mic which is meant to be clipped onto an instrument, but works very well clipped onto a music stand. It reinforces my voice just enough that I don't have to strain to project when in the lower register.
Here's a shot of Ed doing the sound for us. We used that larger condenser mic for the period vocals by Don and Bob, and for announcements. The Mackie mixer just has that mic, the guitar, my vocal mic and a mic for the harmonica (which one of the tuba players used on a few tunes) running into it and going out to the monitor speakers. Having Ed (who for years ran the TV studio for WETA up in Washington) adjusting those levels throughout the performance was a great help. We were loud enough people could hear us, but could chat with others without having to yell. 
Here's a shot taken between numbers that nicely captures our mood. We had a wonderful time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi There!

    I really like your blog! My name is Matt and I am an occupational therapy student from New Zealand and my blog is on music therapy for the elderly. It would be amazing if you could check it out =)