Will Marinelli's percussion setup for Spamalot at Rumson-Far Haven High School, in Rumson, New Jersey.
Will's write-up and gear list below photos.
Below: Meinl Frame Drum Holder for the Steve Weiss 18” Rosewood Bodhran.
"Spamalot is easily one of the funniest shows ever written for the stage. Lovingly ripped off from Monty Python’s classic film 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' (as well as using 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' from their follow up film 'Life of Brian') It’s so easy to get caught up in the jokes and on-stage banter that at times it overlooks just how neatly orchestrated this show is!
Ranging from classic Broadway showtime to regal Orchestral pomp and circumstance, the orchestra gets a lot of opportunities to show off the goods, and the percussionist is no exception.
There are a lot of super fast changes in this book, so some very careful setup and choreography is a must in order to execute it consistently well. To help with this task, as well as a practical matter owing to the limited amount of space I needed to squeeze into, I mounted a fair amount of gear, including a frame drum, one tambourine with head, and three Miller Machines (two for triangles and one for finger cymbal). Mounting stuff whenever possible really helps save on space as well as allowing the player to not have to worry about picking up and putting down certain things in a very small window of time. I would definitely encourage stocking up on high quality mounts and attachments whenever the opportunity allows because they will be very valuable long-term investments!
The use of handheld toys is plentiful in this show, although some ended up getting omitted because of cuts to certain cues and numbers. Specifically, there are two very unique toys that I get a real kick out of using. The first is the Musical Spoons, which are featured prominently in 'I Am Not Dead Yet'. It adds a very unique flavor of sound to an already over the top number. The second is the LP One Handed Triangle designed in collaboration with Doug Hinrichs, who was one of the percussionists on the Broadway run of 'In The Heights'. This toy is very useful when playing articulate and rhythmic triangle passages. Combined with the Miller Machines, there is virtually no triangle passage that is impossible to play in a pinch!
To help capture all the unique sounds of this show, I wear a hat that has a microphone attached to it. I did this as well in my last show with this school, Mamma Mia! The sound guy and I, having already worked together before, are both very much in tune with how we want my sound to be heard out in the house, so we worked very carefully on instrument placement and mics. While it can be distracting at first to have the hat-mic right in your face, eventually you forget that it’s there and it becomes part of you.
It’s always fun playing a show with familiar faces and I’m very lucky to work with many of the same musicians (as well as the music director) from my previous run at this school. The sense of familiarity and camaraderie really helps solidify a solid ensemble performance every night, which is crucial for a show like Spamalot.
Overall, this is one show that will keep you on your toes! That is when you’re not constantly on the floor laughing!"
- Leedy Timpani, 28” and 25”
- Musser M39 Xylophone
- Musser 250 Glockenspiel (case refurbished by Tracy Furr)
- Ludwig 32” Bass Drum (withSteve Weiss BD/Cym Attachment)
- Zildjian 18” K Dark Suspended Cymbal
- Yamaha 18” Ride Cymbal (attached to Bass Drum with...
- Zildjian 18” K Constantinople Medium Light, Hand Cymbals (Gibralter 7614 Concert Cymbal Cradle)
- TreeWorks Bar Chimes Tre630 Concert 34
- Heritage Musical Spoons
- RhythmTech Pro Tambourine
- Grover 10” Double Row Heat Treated Silver Tambourine (mounted - with Grover Roll Ring)
- Steve Weiss 18” Rosewood Bodhran (mounted onMeinl Frame Drum Holder)
- LP Fiber Maracas
- LP Softshake Shaker
- LP Deluxe Vibraslap
- Acme Siren Whistle (Lone Star lanyard)
- Black Plastic Whistle (Vic Firth lanyard)
- LP One Handed Triangle
- Miller Machine with Alan Abel 6" Wagner-Mahler Triangle
- Miller Machine with Black Swamp 4" Artisan Triangle
- Miller Machine with Zildjian Thick Finger Cymbal
- Alan Abel 4" Triangle (on trap table)
- Malletech OR48R Extra Hard Xylo/Glock Mallets (Rattan)
- Vic Firth 5A Dual-Tone Stick/Mallets
- Stoessel Triangle Beaters #2.5 5/16" Black Heavy Steel
- Vic Firth Tom Gauger TG01 Bass Drum Mallets
- JG by Perennial Percussion P1 Two-sided Timpani Mallets. These mallets are great for the more articulate timpani passages (which there are quite a few in this book). Also, the felt side works well on suspended cymbal hits or rolls in a pinch.
Will Marinelli is a drummer/percussionist based in the Greater New York City area. Born in London, England, he was raised in Lebanon, New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music, and his Master of Music in Percussion Performance at New York University. His primary teachers have included Jonathan Haas, James Saporito, Simon Boyar, and Gordon Stout.
Will’s diverse performance career has taken him across two continents, from New York City’s East Village to Salzburg, and Prague. From cornerstone orchestral and operatic repertoire, classic and modern musical theatre, pop/rock, and even ragtime xylophone, he is at home with many different drumming and percussion styles. Notable highlights include performing Mozart operas in the venues where their world premieres were given, recording an album with Glenn Kotche of Wilco, and accompanying a dance troupe with Philip Glass music on steel pan. He has also performed with other local ensembles such as the Plainfield Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, Central Jersey Symphony, as well as numerous school musical productions.
In addition, Will is also a passionate and dedicated music educator. In his spare time, he enjoys walking, cycling, playing golf, and cellular photography.