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Old 03-19-2019, 09:54 AM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Chicago- North Burbs, via Mexico City
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Default Gig challenges-Annoyance and catastrophe avoidance

Just finished doing a 4 performance series of Willy Wonka (playing bass). Last night was the last performance and I felt like I was being tested on several levels.

The first test came right before the downbeat of the overture. Bass is connected to tuning pedals which I use to mute as well as tune. My GK amp was my monitor and XLR to the house system. We'd done the sound check earlier and everything was good... The orchestra was just below first row level with a wall around it. My amp was almost up against the wall and I was seated a few feet forward. Habitually I do a light "thud" on the strings to make sure I'm unmuted... but this time no sound. Volume up? Check. I checked my connections and eveything was solid. Does my amp have power??? Plugged in. Got out of my chair and looked.... Someone reached over the wall and switched off my power. I managed to get it switched back on and back in my chair just as the conductor started beating. One annoying challenge/catastrophe avoided. I didn't say anything to anyone. But I was super-pissed.

So we're playing the first number and I can hear I'm out of tune. I tune meticulously and yet I'm annoyed by the sound. I'm not in tune with the keyboard so it's gotta be me. In between numbers I check... and my tuner somehow got switch in calibration to 441 instead of 440. ONE CENT. I guess that means my sense of pitch is intact. I quickly reset it, retuned and all was well going forward. At least mostly.

I'm seated the furthest away from the conductor so under quiet circumstances it's hard to hear instructions. So we're in the middle of the curtain bows and she decides to omit one of the repeats. I saw her lips move but couldn't hear the instructions and just guessed that's what it was- and was right. The other night she made an on-the-fly change and I got totally lost until I could pick up on a section that I knew.

Which brings me to my last challenge/gripe... The orchestrator (we're not reading the original book) got lazy and while he could have written the bass book in standard notation, he chose to use chord symbols with many inverstions and squished everything together which made it virtually unreadable and undecipherable musically. I had to do the show with both bass book and piano book on my stand, often having to resort to the piano book on several piece just to make sense of the music and know how to shift if the singers missed or added measures (which often happens at this sort of thing).

Thanks for taking time to read my vent/rant.
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