- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Last night I played the final show of All Shook Up with Act3 Productions. This was a wonderful experience, and I'm looking forward to playing more shows with Act3 in the future. As a trombone player, I played in pit orchestras for several musicals and operas, but this was my first pit experience as a guitarist.
The guitar book for All Shook Up was very challenging. The guitar is typically a back-up instrument, but since this was a rock n' roll show, the guitar was often front and center. Unless I someday play Man of La Mancha, I can almost guarantee that every guitar book I play after this is going to seem easy by comparison. After I was hired to play this show, I asked to have the guitar book as soon as possible, and I'm glad I did! The first time I cracked open the book, it took me three days to work my way through all the music. Eventually, I was able to play through the book in two days, and then finally one day. Once it was time to play the show, it was just a matter of briefly reviewing the tricky spots each day. I'm a better guitarist for having played this show.
I'm happy and proud to have become part of the Act3 Productions family. When I was first told that this was a community theater, I was a little wary…at least until I was told I would get paid. (I am a mercenary!) When I played my first rehearsal, I was pleasantly surprised at the high level of the cast. Opening night was great, and the performances just kept getting better and better. The pit orchestra was mighty fine, too. Everyone was a pro, and it didn't take long for the pit musicians to gel, both musically and personally. (By the way, for those guitarists who downplay the importance of reading music, some pit orchestra experience might just change your mind.)
Act3 Productions has a lot going for it, and I highly recommend checking them out. According to their website, their mission is "to inspire performers, support positive values, and enrich the Arts community by producing professional-level performances." I'll be involved in playing musicals with them 3-4 times a year, but there's a lot more going on than just musicals. They have a group of high school students writing their own musical, several plays, summer workshops, and much more. If you are interested in theater and dance, either as an artist or strictly as an audience member, you owe it to yourself to check out Act3 Productions in Sandy Springs.
Act3 Productions is located at 6285-R Roswell Road NE in Sandy Springs 30328 behind Trader Joe's in the Sandy Springs Plaza. You can go to www.act3productions.org to learn more about Act3 Productions, including upcoming shows, workshops, and a little Act3 history.