Shortly after last year's website refurbishment, I had the privilege of performing my first "Live in Concert" movie film with the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, doing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This time round, we did the second film - The Chamber of Secrets!
We had Maestro Jeffrey Schindler with us again and it was great working with him! We also had very few rehearsals before the first show (like last year), meaning we had to prepare our parts and the setup beforehand, in order to make the performance run smoothly. It's contradictory, but the music this time was both easier and more difficult. It was easier because I could rely on my experience with the first film - the themes are the same and the keys, more or less too, and I was also on the glockenspiel for the most part, so the notes just needed some refreshment. But it was also challenging because there were other sections that were technical and needed practicing! I had to look at certain sections on both the glockenspiel and xylophone for a longer period of time, and it didn't help that we just performed Siginnah! the week before! I had spent my time preparing for the concerto and so practicing and preparing for Harry Potter was definitely tough for me - but I shouldn't complain since I accepted the gig and therefore, it is my responsibility to make things work (One of the often said sayings at Peabody was "If you cannot put in your 100% for the gig, don't take it up" because it deprives the audience of a good music experience and a great performance). Other factors that had me on my toes were also the tempi of the movements and the fast changes between instruments - there was a movement where I only had 2 measures to get from the toms to the glockenspiel, play for 1 measure and then had to play the suspended cymbal a few measures after. It sure made me run a lot but I made both shows work!
The setup also played a major role in the section's execution of the music - certain instruments had to be close enough as many of us had to move quickly from one instrument to another. Of course, it would be so much easier to have 1 set-up for everyone, but that will mean doubling the production cost, or more. As percussionists, we face these limitations and always have to work around with what we have. Personally, I try to bring as much personal instruments as I can to a gig - not so much to carry all that gear, but I'm always asking myself, "When will I next use this instrument for a performance?" There's no point buying a snare drum if I'm going only to use it for practice at home - might as well bring it out and let the world hear it! And that's why even though there were only 2 movements of snare drum parts, I still brought out my trusted Pantheon Percussion snare drum because why not!
Working with Maestro Jeffrey again also helped tremendously! He knew the music inside-out, its nuances, and was very particular in the sounds we were making, despite only having so few rehearsals! He injected his sense of humour often, and definitely knew how to work the crowd! The audience was spectacular and really into the film and music both nights, and it truly was a blessing to be able to be part of this production. Truthfully, it was a scramble for me to prepare for this, and I'm not sure if there will be future performances of the rest of the Harry Potter film series, but if there are and I get called to play for it, I'm definitely putting in my 1000% to prepare and perform! If you're reading this and you came to catch the show, let me know what you think in the comments! Otherwise, stay safe and well, and thanks for reading as always!