Ron Grassi's setup for Godspell at the Neffs UCC Summer Theater, in Neffs, Pennsylvania.
Ron's write-up below photos.
PLAYING THE SHOW:
"Godspell is the first live performance I am playing since March 13th, 2019. I've done a few recordings which were paired with their respective shows, but this is the first actual LIVE show with a full cast and an audience. I was surprised at my feelings of apprehension, and it was interesting to see the actors' reactions to being in front of a live orchestra again (we set up on the stage, behind the action).
As we all do, I put in the necessary several hours of practice before the first dress rehearsal last night, and we let it fly. Considering everything, I think it went pretty well. The conductor and the director were happy, so that's always good. This theater is outside, underneath a large pavilion, and we had monitors behind us so we could hear the cast and the other members of the orchestra. Not as controlled as an indoor venue, but doable.
Two dress rehearsals and then we do only two performances on July 30th and 31st. I'm always amazed that so many hours go into preparing for what is probably three to four hours of actual performance time! The cast is excellent. They all hail from the Lehigh Valley in PA, and they are a mixture of Theater Majors, Teachers of Theater/Voice, and Professionals, all thrilled to be working again.
The orchestra consists of keyboard/conductor, guitar 1, guitar 2, guitar 3/keyboard 2, bass, and percussion. A nice big sound, and all the players are top-notch local Philly people with whom I often work. Since both the cast and the orchestra came prepared, we basically ran through the show on this first night with very few stops and no train-wrecks. Our second and final dress rehearsal is tonight, and the sound-tech has promised to tweak the percussion mic set-up (miking percussion is never an easy job)."
"I'm using my Yamaha Stage Custom Birch kit (I use my Yamaha Live Oak kit for indoor work) with a Yamaha 4" x 14" Brass Recording Custom Snare. I use all "A" Zildjians, and I threw in an 18" Spiral Trash for the big endings of a few of the numbers. Such a nice effect (and a head-turner, as you can imagine).
The trap table contains all of the hand percussion which is not attached to the kit. I used the cabasa for the sandpaper effect because it cuts through a little better, with better control. Also, I used two different shakers: A Meinl Luis Conte Stadium Double Shaker, and then two LP One Shots (taped together) for 'Turn Back, O Man'. Since the tempo is a bit slower, I think the Meinl can get a bit sloppy (could be 'operator error'!), and the LP One Shot allows for better control. Keyboard one is not providing the finger snaps, so I am using a Roland SPD Percussion One Pad with the snaps programmed into it (days of The Addams Family). I added the Vibraslap on beat '2-and' in measure 14 of 'Turn Back, O Man'; a good 70's effect, I think.
I'm also using a slide whistle, siren, LP 36 Bar Concert Chimes, LP Jam Block High, Cowbell, mounted LP Tambourine, and a Miller Machine with an Alan Abel 6" Symphonic Triangle which I purchased from my percussion teacher at Temple: Charles Owen. Charles worked with Alan in the Philly Orchestra, and got them on the cheap! Also, the trap table is from LP"
"I'm using Vic Firth Signature Series Steve Gadd sticks with nylon tips and Vic Firth T1 American Custom Timpani Mallets for the suspended cymbal rolls and tom-tom effects on 'By My Side'. Also, I'm using a pair of Regal Tip Flares (model 532R) on 'On The Willows' for more definition."