Will Marinelli's percussion setup for the Musical Elf at the Algonquin Theater in Manasquan, New Jersey.
Will's write-up and gear list below photos.
"Elf The Musical is a musical adaptation of the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell. The percussion book is generally pretty straightforward (primarily based around timpani and mallet percussion) however, the key to executing this book well is to find the right sounds to match the style of the music and story.
In the interest of space, some instruments have been omitted and substituted with others, similar sounding (and in most cases smaller) instruments. In these situations, it is always best to carefully comb through the book before making such sacrifices, As well as letting your Music Director know so that they stay informed.
Since the story of Elf takes place during the Christmas season, the orchestration calls for toys and sounds that remind one of such festivities. These include Ringing Bells, Wooden Blocks, Wind-Up Toys, and so on. The percussion orchestration achieves these sounds by using the appropriate toys (Sleigh Bells, Temple Blocks, Ratchet, Vibraslap) to match the sounds.
Mallet percussion wise, I use a lot of metal, and hard acrylic mallets on the glockenspiel to get two contrasting sounds: warmer with more fundamental for more plot driven licks, and brighter with more overtones for atmosphere and outdoor settings, such as the North Pole and snow in New York City.
Timpani wise, this book requires quite a few low notes. In particular, the opening number 'Happy All the Time' calls for a low Eb and Bb, which can be pretty difficult to sound cleanly on 28” and 25” timpani respectively. The importance of making sure your timpani heads are properly cleared and can effortlessly reach those notes is paramount. Mallet choice also plays a huge factor as you need to match both the fundamental and the articulation.
All these sounds can do a number on your hearing if you are not careful. In addition, the lower ceiling and wooden beams of the completely enclosed pit (save for an opening in the center that the conductor uses to watch/conduct) means the sound bounces all over the pit and right back into you. For those reasons I wear earplugs during the show. In particular, I wear Eargasm Electric Forest Earplugs, but for the serious pit musician, any solid pair of musician’s earplugs will do the trick. I cannot stress the importance of taking care of your ears in the line of work because you want your hearing to last for decades, not days!
It’s always great fun to play music that allows you to really dip into your creative side and let your imagination run wild. Not only that, but playing such holiday oriented material can draw inspiration from one’s memories as well! Very happy to be playing another sold-out run of this show!"
- Leedy 28” and 25” Timpani
- Musser M645 Glockenspiel (refurbished vinyl case by Tracy Furr)
- Musser M37 Xylophone
- LP Giovanni Galaxy Series Bongos
- Weiss Sleigh Bells
- Weiss Bell Tree
- Weiss Ratchet
- LP Deluxe Vibraslap
- LP Standard Flex-A-Tone
- Miller Machine (with Abel 6” Wagner-Mahler Triangle) **I find that this triangle sounds fuller than the standard Abel**
- JG Percussion American Series #2 Timpani Mallets
- JG Percussion American Series #4 Timpani Mallets
- Malletech Orchestral Series OR42R Hard Rattan Xylophone Mallets
- Dragonfly Percussion 7/8” Aluminum Mallets
Will Marinelli is a drummer/percussionist based in the Greater New York City area.
Born in London, England, he was raised in Lebanon, New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music, and his Master of Music in Percussion Performance at New York University. His primary teachers have included Jonathan Haas, James Saporito, Simon Boyar, and Gordon Stout.
Will’s diverse performance career has taken him across two continents, from New York City’s East Village to Salzburg, and Prague. From cornerstone orchestral and operatic repertoire, classic and modern musical theatre, pop/rock, and even ragtime xylophone, he is at home with many different drumming and percussion styles.
Notable highlights include performing Mozart operas in the venues where their world premieres were given, recording an album with Glenn Kotche of Wilco, and accompanying a dance troupe with Philip Glass music on steel pan. He has also performed with other local ensembles such as the Plainfield Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, Central Jersey Symphony, as well as numerous school musical productions.
In addition, Will is also a passionate and dedicated music educator.
In his spare time, he enjoys walking, cycling, playing golf, and cellular photography.