More Than a Feeling: 70’s Arena Rock: Dress Rehearsals

I missed a few posts due to some confusion about how and where we are going to post my blog. Hopefully with this post that will be completely worked out and we can move forward. In the meantime, let me catch you up with where we are at.

This weekend we held the last two in-house dress rehearsals up on the third floor of our building. The space on the third floor is amazing, the performers get to stretch out a little bit, and we get really serious about the performance. In the expanded space we set up as close as we can to what it will be like on the Community Arts Center stage.

Dress Rehearsals are a key component to the preparation process. It’s where all of our plans meet the cold air of reality… Students perform with wardrobe and instrument changes, coming on and off stage in droves at times, while tech monkeys assist in the transitions, and singers do their introductions, all under the pressure of the clock –  fully understanding my insistence on speedy changes. Knowing the truth…that if they leave too much time between songs someone is inevitably going to yell “Freebird!!!”.

Saturday’s dress rehearsal ran from 3pm to 7:30. After going over a series of “problem songs” we did our first run through of the complete show without stopping. The pace was fast and furious, the tech monkey crews were put to the test for the first time, reading through their cue sheets, tuning guitars and making all of the transitions. It was… and well… went pretty much as expected – controlled chaos.

Later we recorded our last promo song in for this performances marketing. As frequently occurs, the studio was in a bit of chaos, and the gear was temperamental. At the same time a few of the songs performers had “come to Jesus” moments, as they realized what they may be able to get away with live doesn’t work in the studio. Where everyone’s part is crystal clear, and every rhythm and every tone counts. That session went on forever…

Yesterday’s dress rehearsal started at 1pm with some warmups, a meeting and the first run through of the day. We worked more on the shows blocking, and focused on getting the new performers to really perform. That run through went fairly well, we discussed some theatrical plans and how they would manifest on the stage, and we completely rewrote some of our plans.

We took a break to eat some pizza and to record the video for the song we’d recorded in the studio the night before. Unfortunately, some of the issues from the studio session caused issues during the video shoot as well. We fought our way through those, and got back to our second run through a ½ hour later than planned.

The final run was solid. In spite of a weekend of hard work the students put their backs into the work, making the music come to life, and presenting an exciting stage performance. My daughter Izzy had won a bag of candy at a local game room, and had made the mistake of leaving it next to me and Willi. At some point we were inspired to pelt some of our favorite students with the candy while they were performance their songs (which is good training for real life performances).

This turned into a full on food fight at times, as some of the more experienced students were brave enough to throw it back… This made the time pass quicker and brought smiles to everyone’s faces.

Wednesday is our technical rehearsal at the Community Arts Center, and Thursday is our dress rehearsal at the Community Arts Center. Check back for some more news about how we’re doing.