Laura Hamel's drum and percussion setup from the National Tour of My Fair Lady.
Laura's write-up and gear list below photos.
"This is the setup for the second National Tour of My Fair Lady. The first National Tour was taken out by Mark O’Kain, who I took many ideas from to put into this set up.
This book focuses mainly on classical percussion but requires a wide range of skillsets, with moments of powerful timpani, drum set heavy dance numbers, and fast xylophone licks. All while covering sound effects and juggling auxiliary percussion. You could say, this show requires all the bells and whistles, literally, and figuratively.
And all the bells and whistles ended up being the focus for a lot of the set up. There are several times during the show where I’ll need to play the glockenspiel, and the drum set, back and forth quickly. Or, I need to play a pop gun exactly on beat 4 of a measure but have to be ready to play brushes at the downbeat of the next measure. Other times, I play the concert bass drum with the back of my swizzle sticks while keeping time on the kit, then jump quickly to play a slide whistle with one hand, all while never having time to put down a stick.
Finding a way to reach all of these instruments without taking my feet off the kick and hi-hat pedals was the first obstacle to overcome when learning the book. Just about everything in the setup has to be within arms reach of my seat. But I’m not the tallest person, so the setup has to be very tight for my short arms. The real challenge every time I move the setup is making sure everything is close, but not so close that things will bump into each other. For example, I’ve snuck a 22” ride cymbal underneath the glockenspiel, but with the xylophone having to stay on my right elbow, it can be quite a reach to play it. So the ride has to stay about two centimeters away from the kick drum mounted cymbal stand, the xylophone, as well as the glockenspiel stand. If not, it’ll be just outside of my reach.
This has also determined where I ended up placing my two timpani. Many times, I need to play the timpani and drum set in quick succession, or even use the kit pedals at the same time as timpani hits, so I decided to place them as close to myself as possible. Due to this, the lower of the two drums sits directly behind me while I play the kit. Sometimes I have to do yoga poses to reach behind myself to play this drum so I can keep my feet on the pedals. It’s a little unorthodox, but all the stretching keeps my back in good shape!
With the many quick instrument changes needed, I found an unusual way to make my choreography a little easier. I made use of my background in four mallet marimba playing. In several sections of the show where I’m asked to play buzz rolls on the snare and mallet parts back to back, I use Burton four mallet technique. I set xylophone, or glockenspiel mallets on the outside, and my snare sticks on the inside. I’ve learned to tweak my snare playing technique ever so slightly that I can hold all four and keep each instrument sounding clean. This is exceptionally helpful in 'Get me to the Church on Time', where I’ll play the first half of the song with two swizzle sticks and a glockenspiel mallet in my hands so I can bounce around all of the instruments in the setup without having to stop and pick something up.
Another fun trick I’ve picked up for the show involves the sand paper blocks. In 'Get Me to the Church on Time', the sand paper blocks are followed by the woodblock, then followed by the glockenspiel another time. I have to have a free hand to play either instrument immediately following the sand paper blocks. To make this happen, I custom made my sand blocks and glued a soft piece of velcro to the back side of one of them. The trap tables have fabric on them, so when I put the blocks on it, they hold themselves in place. This way, I can play them with one hand and keep the other hand free to play something else.
The book keeps me entertained night after night. It’s full of enough quirky moments that it would take a novel to write about them all. It’s fun, engaging, and I love bringing such a beautiful and joyful show all across the country. I think it’s fair to say, My Fair Lady is one of my favorite shows to play, and most definitely one of my favorite setups I’ve built."
- Yamaha 20” Bass Drum Maple Custom Absolute, Remo Weather King Bass Drum Head
- Yamaha 14” Snare Drum Maple Custom Absolute, Evan’s Dry Snare Drum Head
- DW 6000 Kick Pedal
- Yamaha HS740A Hi Hat Stand
- Zildjian 22" K Constantinople Thin Overhammered Ride
- Zildjian 19" A Thin Crash
- Zildjian 17" A Medium Thin Crash
- Bosphorus 15" Antique Series Thin Crash
- Bosphorus 14" Turk Series Dark Hi-Hat s
- Soultone 8” Gospel Splash
- Yamaha Timpani 29”, 26”
- Slingerland 28” Concert Bass Drum with Remo Weatherking Fiberskyn Head
- Musser Xylophone 3.5 Octave
- Muster Glockenspiel M654 Classic Steel Bells 2.5 Octave
- Musser Chimes D, F#, G#, A, D, D#
- Black Swamp Silver Jingle Tambourine
- Pearl Woodblock - Medium With Gibraltar Bass Drum Mount
- Metal Slide Whistle
- Acme Siren Whistle
- Steve Weiss Liberty One Pop Gun
- Homemade Sandpaper Blocks
- Sabina 8” Brass Triangle
- Miller Machine Plus on LP Mini Everything Mount
- Go Percussion Castanets
- Vic Firth 7A Drumsticks
- Vic Firth Peter Erskine Signature Series
- Meinl 5A Switch Sticks
- Vic Firth Wire Brushes
- Vic Firth T4 Ultra-Staccato Timpani Mallets
- Vic Firth T1 General Timpani Mallets
- Amy Putnam T6 Bamboo Medium General Timpani Mallets
- Mike Balter Triangle Beater
- Pro-Mark FK9 Xylophone Mallets
- Vic Firth M140 Glock Mallet
- Malletech Orchestral OR42R Xylophone Mallets
- Grover Chime Mallets
- Vic Firth Tom Gauger TGB Bass Drum Mallet
- Pearl Trap Tables (2)
- Music Stands (4)
- Yamaha Cymbal Stands (5)
- Yamaha Glockenspiel Stand
- Roc-N-Soc Drum Throne
- CCA C10 Hybrid HiFi In Ears
- Aviom A360 Personal Mixer
- Sennheiser MKH’s (8)
- Shure Beta 52
PS. Huge thanks to Rupp’s Drum Shop in Denver, Colorado for hooking me up with a lot of sticks and gear!