About Me

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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 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

No Do Overs

Last night was Act3 Productions' opening night of Rent. The show went very well. This is my third show as a guitarist with Act3. I continue to be impressed that a community theater with mostly teenage singers and actors puts on such amazingly good performances. Act3 won several categories for their recent production of Once on This Island at the Metro Atlanta Theater Awards. This was the first time Act3 had been entered in these awards, and they cleaned house! Act3 Productions has only been existence for about a year and a half. To be putting on such quality performances and winning awards so quickly is impressive. I am grateful to have become Act3's guitarist. I feel like Act3 has a bright future, and I'm lucky to have gotten in on the ground floor.

One thing I love about live performance is the spontaneity. Even when you're in a situation where the show is blocked and the lines are memorized, there are glitches. When you are recording in the studio or filming a movie, you have the luxury of going through multiple takes until you get it right…not so with live performance. There are no do overs. Last night was a case in point, and it was also a perfect example of professionalism and quick thinking on the part of Act3 talented performers.

For one of the numbers, they decided to go with a pre-recorded track instead of the orchestra. (I have no idea why.) It was a solo number for the character "Angel." (Check out the YouTube clip from the movie version.) About a third of the way into the song, the recorded track cut out, and Angel was left singing a cappella. Literally not missing a beat, the other onstage characters started clapping and beat boxing, and then the orchestra joined in, improvising an accompaniment.

After the show, it was decided that the orchestra would be backing the singer, and we wouldn't use the recorded track again. (This was a perfect example of why live performers, mistakes and all, are superior to backing tracks.) Except for the keyboard, all the other parts are marked tacet (which means don't play), so today's assignment was to listen to the track at home and come up with a part to play. Tonight, we'll meet early to rehearse the number. I'm 100% sure that we'll sound great come showtime.


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