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Mary Poppins - Alec Wilmart

Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.

Alec's write-up below photos.

Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.

Below: Chris Monroe and Alec Wilmart. Chris played drums for this production of Mary Poppins.

Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.

"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!"

Instruments:

  • Timpani (2)
  • Chimes
  • Tam Tam
  • Xylophone
  • Piatti (Zusammen)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Bass Drum
  • Cabasa
  • Mark Tree
  • Vibes
  • Bell Tree
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Crotale (high octave)
  • Marimba
  • Washboard
  • Bird Whistle
  • Tambourine
  • Cowbells
  • LP Jam Blocks

Mary Poppins - Regional - Alec Wilmart
January 2015

Alec Wilmart's percussion setup for Mary Poppins at the Village Theatre in Everett, Washington.

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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