Monday, October 25, 2004

Technical Rehearsal

Well we had our technical rehearsal yesterday at the Student Union Little Theater. Our sound guru, Steve McLinn, joined us to record. Our purpose was to make sure everything will run smoothly at show-time, and boy is it a good thing we did this.

I invited my mailing list but I don't think anyone showed up for a sneak peek. Which is just as well since the front entrance to the theater was covered with plastic because they were painting! (I didn't actually see anyone painting but I guess they had been.) If someone did try to come and was thwarted by a wall of plastic, my apologies. I wouldn't have invited the public if the Union had let me know this was going to be going on.

And this was just the first of our troubles! It took much longer to set up than anticipated. My voice had some wild distortion on it that we had to track down and eliminate. And then we were experiencing strange acoustic anomalies. I would sing and play and hear myself coming out of the sound system a split second later, which is very disorienting. Steve says it's not his system - it's the room, which is basically round, and focuses all the reverberation back to one spot, which was where I was standing. It's the visual focal point of the room, and right there the delay becomes noticeably much worse than anywhere else. (If you know the little theater, this is the rounded end of the stage.) Steve says it's acoustically the worst place he's ever stood. And Steve has stood in a whole lot of acoustic places.

But fear not, from the audience everything sounds great. (So they tell me!)

So it took some time to try to figure that out, and after struggling through a couple of tunes, We finally decided I should stand further back, closer to the other band members. I usually like to be right up where I can see the faces in the audience, so I was now out of my comfort zone in that respect, but, I could hear a lot better, and we zipped through several songs sounding great.

Lisa and Evalyn (my wife and 3 year old daughter) arrived in the theater just about as we were starting to run through songs. Evalyn was cute - she came up on stage and whispered in my ear - "Daddy, be careful how you sound." I asked her if there was something wrong with the way I sounded. "You're too loud." (We were still making adjustments.)

In the end we had eaten up so much time solving problems that we only got through ten out of thirteen songs. (I was hoping to do them all at least once, some twice.)

But when Steve played back the recording it sounded great, and that is the main point!

As we packed up, little doubts were creeping into my brain. Will we be able to set up on time for the show on the 22nd? Will I be able to give a good show and make a good recording at the same time? It seems that the requirements of each often conflict. Plus general fear of the unknown - this band has not performed for an audience before and I'll be recording a CD!! Am I nuts?!

I guess it showed on my face because John and Steve and Bob and Lisa all offered encouraging words. I'm definitely facing a steep learning curve here, performing with a band for the first time. But I'm very lucky to have surrounded myself with talented people who care about the quality of their work! I know that if I give a great performance I can depend on the rest of the group to back me up and all will be well. So I'd better go put in some practice!

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