Captain Fantastic: Walking Thru Again

This weekend we broke from the usual system of rehearsal, deciding to attack our two scheduled work sessions as walk thru’s again. The usual system would have found us doing full rehearsals, performing the entire show each day, with each song scheduled for a max of 10 minutes of focus. Due to our issues from last weeks rehearsal we decided that the added time of the walk through, giving us a solid 20 minute block per song, would allow us to get to the bottom of things easier. Breaking each song down again, check chords, talk about subdivisions, group dynamics, and the overall balance of the parts.

During the week I had met with many of the students with issues with their parts and worked on the way they were phrasing the vocal melodies, corrected errant chord progressions and found better ways to voice some of the chords, or arrange the voices between the instruments.

This week end, the work that the students did on their own, and what did together definitely bore fruit. As Saturday’s rehearsal was clearly better than last Saturdays.. We started at 2pm, after a morning and afternoon of last minute help sessions, and we worked hard at it for about 5 hours, Walking away feeling that the Billy Joel set was definitely on track.

Sunday started with issues outside of the performance program that distracted me and left me running late. As the leader, I preach that “on time is late”. So that meant I was really late when we came around the corner of the UMC at 11:32 for a 11:30 start. All of the students were waiting in front of the door. They were standing outside in the sun, on the sidewalk in front of the Collective, so I made them form up for a picture which you will find above.

As we got started I was pleased to find that the issues from last week had, for the most part,¬† evaporated after an additional 7 days of practice, work on the promo video recordings, and taking advantage of the help sessions provided. Clearly the Elton John set’s challenges were not greater than the challenges of Bill Joel’s music, they were simply more subtle, and so had been missed in their initial assessment of the music.

Going in to these last two weeks before the show hits the stage, we still have a lot of work to do. But as frequently happens to me at this stage of the rehearsal process I was again struck as I arrived today, and again as I left, with a sense of pride at the work that we do together. The students willingness to put in the time, and the powerful work ethic that they hold themselves, and each other to indicates the loyalty and respect that they hold for our program. From the most experienced to the least, from the most talented to the ones who struggle. There are never any complaints, bad attitudes, or whining in our rehearsals.

Next week we will be meeting on Wednesday for an unscheduled full rehearsal from 7 to 9:30. Then the following weekend will bring two pivotal dress rehearsals, where we will be working out the rest of the performance details. I’m excited to see, hear and feel, what it’s all going to sound like by the end of next Sundays dress rehearsal. Stay tuned.