Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.
Photo below: Chris Monroe and Alec Wilmart. Chris played drums for this production of Mary Poppins.
"It was a really fun book to play, and unique in a couple of ways.
First, as you can see, there are a lot of instruments required. I have seen many Mary Poppins setup's that utilize a MalletKat for the Marimba/Kalimba/Boo Bam parts. Honestly, there is so little of those parts (not much vibraphone either), some productions just put those parts in one of the keyboard books.
Secondly, it’s a busy book at times, but with long rests within songs, allowing time to get to the next thing. By looking at the setup, one might think you are running around the whole time. Not so. In fact, one of the most unique things I found is that during many rests, I could hear Marimba or other mallet parts in the keyboard books. Kind of a head scratcher!
There is quite a bit of Xylophone, Glock, and Timpani playing. 'Step In Time' is a real challenge, with some quick switches between Xylophone and Timpani. If I had to do it all over again, I would have put the Bass Drum on the other side of the Timpani to facilitate that. Other notable songs include, 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious', 'Let’s Go Fly a Kite', 'Spoonful of Sugar', and 'Jolly Holiday'.
The vibes pictured above are a Deagan 35 'Rondo' model from the late 40’s. The original cross-bar style pedal has been replaced with a single bass drum pedal by a previous owner. Using only the pedal and some stainless steel cable wire, the damper works surprisingly well!
In terms of timpani mallets, I prefer to use Hinger Maple Timpani Mallets by Malletech. Being a generalist and not a high-level timpanist, I use the hingers because they have always felt comfortable and well balanced. I started using them when I was a teenager and have been using them ever since!
As I said, there is a lot of timpani in this book, and a wide range of dynamics and textures require a few choices. I'm using Hinger Reds (staccato), Hinger Greens (general), and instead of using my Hinger Yellows for the legato passages, I substituted some well-used Mike Balter T3’s. I used these due to the fact that I also needed Timpani mallets for suspended cymbal passages, as well as on some of the Tam Tam parts for a more distinct timber. This takes its toll on the mallets, and the T3's are less expensive to replace than the Hingers. I believe the T3's are always a pretty good 'meat and potatoes' mallet choice for my pit orchestra percussion needs. I really enjoyed this book!"
- Timpani (2)
- Tam Tam
- Piatti (Zusammen)
- Bass Drum
- Mark Tree
- Bell Tree
- Suspended Cymbal
- Crotale (high octave)
- Bird Whistle
- LP Jam Blocks