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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Conducting in Two

So it's Thursday, July 15th and David Gately is almost finished staging Pirates of Penzance. He started less than a week ago, and in between starting stagings and now, we've performed Die Fledermaus with the same set of singers! Brevard certainly doesn't waste anyone's time, and the singers are beginning to realize just how packed a day can be.

As the conductor, staging rehearsals are a time of patience, a time to focus on the full score, a time to wave your hands at people not paying any attention to you because they're trying to remember where the director wants them to go, or what the choreography is, or simply focusing on their lines or a prop. For whatever reason, the past few rehearsals have been on numbers in the show either written in 2/4 or 6/8 or a quick 4/4; i.e. all numbers where the conductor is going to conduct "In 2" (down, up, down, up, repeat...) It's a rather simple pattern, something that one normally doesn't focus on. In fact, I've taught it to my 8 year old son, and he's been doing a rather good job waving his hands during the rehearsals!

However, conducting in two -- day after day -- has been difficult for me. Not only is each "2" slightly faster or slower than the other, but the repeated injury occurring to my right shoulder has now resulted in the need for a massage. Remember, please, that I don't conduct all that often anymore -- I spend my time at McGill directing shows, not conducting them. It's like a marathon runner not running all year and then jumping into a race (this race being conducting from 10am to 10pm).

I'm really not complaining, but it has been an adjustment on my getting-older body, shoulder and arm. It's something I'm not all that proud of having to worry about, let alone complain about.

It'll all be over rather soon, however. We start running the show (and there are numbers in 3 and in 4!!) later today. This Sunday there is an aria concert which I'm playing on, then Monday morning I have my first orchestra reading.

We open (as in an open dress rehearsal that they sell tickets to) a week from Tonight!

down, up, down, up, down, up...