Thursday, July 02, 2009

Propeller Dance gig gear

June 19th saw the annual fundraising gig for Propeller Dance. In past years this event took place at the NAC's Fourth Stage, but this year it was moved to the new home of the GCTC.

The show had performances by all of the weekly classes, plus the main performing group. That meant around 70 performers! I've been providing the music for the Monday classes with Renata for many years now, and for this event I was also asked to help out the Saturday morning kids and youth classes. This was because Jason Sonier, the regular Saturday musician, was not going to be available for the show, and so I had to take over the final four weeks so the two classes could put their shows together.

(This meant getting up far earlier than I am used to on Saturday mornings, then having one hour to pack up, load out, trike home, unload, grab food, and get to the re-Cycles shop for 1pm!)

Over the years my equipment for these gigs has evolved. After buying a bigger amplifier and adding other gear, my current set-up uses:

The Behringer keyboard amp, Kawai K4 synth, Boss looping pedal, Roland Handsonic 10 percussion pad, an older Mac iBook, and my very latest tool, a Korg Nanopad. The laptop has been great because I can set up various loops and fade them in and out or make them do interesting things, and the Nanopad is an interesting (and very cheap) MIDI controller that I'm mostly using to trigger soundfonts. For the Sat. kids class I also added my "street drum", originally put together for Grasshoppa Dance street performances.

In past years Propeller Dance's accompanying musicians have tended to be in the shadows for performances. This year we were right onstage, though due to space limitations we needed to tuck ourselves into a corner.

The other guys, Dominique Saint-Pierre (main performing group) and Mike Essoudry (Thursday group), are also using varying degrees of technology. Here's a view of my rig:
Dom uses a Yamaha synth, microphone (sometimes run through a delay unit), djembe, the same model amp I use, and he recently bought an older Roland Handsonic 15:
Mike had an interesting set-up using a mix of acoustic and slightly more "primitive" digital technology:
Yes, those are Discmans! Mike loaded these with loops he'd burnt onto CD, then ran each through its own mixer channel to be faded in and out as needed.

A closer shot of my gear. The Nanopad is right in front of the laptop:
A rear view of the collective gear during dress rehearsal:
This event was a lot of fun, though we musicians did not help each other / jam along during pieces as in the past, because the performances have gotten a bit more structured. But Dom did invite us to jam along on the final performing group piece, which, after a run-through during dress rehearsal, came off quite well.

David Scrimshaw has a ton of performance photos on his Flickr pages. I really like this one of our Monday group during the show:
And yes, as always I used my cargo trike to get to this gig. ;)

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