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Mamma Mia - Will Marinelli

Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.

Will's writeup and mallet list below photos.

Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.

"Mamma Mia is an absolute blast of a show to play. While it might seem pretty straightforward from a technical standpoint, the challenges that lie in this percussion book come primarily from the styles and the sounds. Prior research and familiarity to the music of ABBA is an absolute must for this show, especially since the show tempos are often different then those of the original recordings.

In particular for the percussionist, this book is very tambourine heavy (as in roughly two-thirds of the book), so getting a particular sound for a certain song becomes a chief priority. Stamina is also super important as you sometimes have to play for four-five minutes non-stop at times.

For this run, I use three different tambourines: a Meinl ABS Double Row Recording Combo, an LP Cyclops, and an old Ludwig whose previous owner removed the head long before I bought it. For shakers, I exclusively use LP models, including a Soft Shake, an Egg, a RhythMix, and a Shake-It. While the basic grooves are written out in the book, it helps to know what's happening on stage and adjust accordingly from there. Some moments call for more off-beat emphasis, or a more aggressive conga slap, or a particularly pleasing Mark Tree or bell tree stroke. So while strictly playing the ink in this show is fine, knowing when to give a little and take a little latitude really adds vibrant color to the wonderful world of ABBA.

Speaking of sound, this is the first time I've ever utilized an on-hat microphone during a show. This is actually a fairly common sight on Broadway, in particular Andy Jones from Wicked uses it, as seen in this video.

How this works is that the sound guy and I attached a microphone onto a hat and it enables me to freely move about my setup while picking up the sounds of whichever instrument I'm facing/playing at that moment. This works especially well when I'm playing tambourine or shaker, but it also works really well when I'm at the hand-drumming station during the Act I finale. It may seem a tad distracting at first to have the microphone right in front of your face, but after a while you forget that it's even there. It definitely makes the sound guy's job easier, and all the kids in the cast get a huge kick out of it!

Overall, this book does a wonderful job of taking the music of ABBA and creating a beautiful backdrop to a fun, silly, and heartwarming story. You will definitely get your share of classical and pop percussion licks from this show and I hope it's a book that everyone gets a chance to play at least once in their career!"

Mallets/Sticks:

Will Marinelli is a drummer/percussionist based in the Greater New York City area. He earned his Bachelor of Music from the Ithaca College School of Music and his Master of Music from NYU. Will has performed numerous classical concerts and musical theatre shows across two continents. In addition to performing, Will is a dedicated music educator. He currently teaches throughout the state of New Jersey.

Mamma Mia - Regional - Will Marinelli
April 2022

Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Mamma Mia at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.

Greg Landes’ setup for the Off Broadway production of The Landing at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.
Mike Drake's set up for Side Show at the Casa Mañana Theater, in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • 3 min read
Greg Landes’ setup for the Pit Stop Players’ concert at Symphony Space in New York City.
"After a week or two of rehearsals there is usually a performance or two of the show for an invited audience. Sometimes these performances can be intense if there are important people in the room, or if certain sections of the show feel under prepared. This is why it’s so important to know the score and script very well."
  • 6 min read
"The unique part of Groundhog Day was that the drummer had to play on stage, in a groundhog costume, wearing a giant groundhog head. Since I could barely see out of the head, it was impossible to read a chart (and there wasn’t a music stand), so it had to be memorized."
  • 4 min read
"If you are passionate, driven, feel you have a calling, a burning desire to play, practice, perform, and record music that you can share with the world, then choosing to be a professional musician here will make you a fulfilled and happy person. You’ll meet the most amazing people on stage, in the rehearsal room and in the audience."
  • 6 min read
Steve Gadd's drum solo from the track "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours". From the album Live Stuff (out of print) from the legendary 1970's New York based band Stuff.
Robbie Ameen's drum solo from the track "Spring Fling".

Gene Krupa's drum solo from "Gene's Blues" from the album Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich released November 1955.

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