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.
"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 than 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!"
- Timpani - JG Percussion American Series #4
- Glockenspiel & Bell Tree - Dragonfly Percussion 7/8" Aluminum
- Glockenspiel & Bell Tree - Dragonfly Percussion 1" Black Phenolic
- Xylophone - Innovative Percussion Chris Lamb CL-X3 Medium
- Timbales - LP Tito Puente 13" 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.