Composer Spotlight for @ClassicalRevGso 3/20

Classical Revolution is an organization of musicians dedicated to performing high-quality chamber music in non-traditional settings. Founded in November 2006 at Revolution Cafe in San Francisco’s Mission District, we have two important objectives: to enrich the San Francisco Bay Area with accessible chamber music and to create a support network for local musicians.

Classical Revolution now has over 30 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe. My friend Brian Carter, cellist and brewmaster extraordinaire, was in search of more performance outlets for classical musicians in the Triad area of NC and decided to start a chapter in Greensboro in November 2014. He teamed up with a newly established brewery, Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company, to provide a venue for most of the concerts. The first performance on January 18, 2015 featured the Railyard String Quartet—a group formed specifically for this new music series—performing a lovely program of Mozart, Haydn, and Shostakovich. 

Now in its second season, @ClassicalRevGso has successfully produced 12 performances. I am thrilled that the next performance is a Composer Spotlight featuring several of my chamber works and showcasing the talents of some of my favorite people. Here's the program as it stands now:

Nathan Daughtrey, composer & percussion
Laura Dangerfield Stevens, flute
Hannah Rose Carter, soprano
Brian Carter, cello

Silencio (solo marimba)

Azul (flute & keyboard percussion) with Laura Stevens
I. Cerulean Ice
II. Sapphiric Flames

Selections from Songs of Venus (solo vibraphone)
Rosemary & Thyme
Yin & Yang

An Extraordinary Correspondence (flute & marimba)
with Laura Stevens

Halcyon Deconstruction (solo marimba & fixed electronics)

EvenStar (soprano, cello, & keyboard percussion)
with Hannah & Brian Carter

The Book of Love (soprano, flute, cello & keyboard percussion) by Stephen Merritt
with Hannah Carter, Laura Stevens & Brian Carter

Sunday, March 20 at 8:00pm
Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company
117 W Lewis Street
Greensboro, NC 27410

10 Things: Marimba at a Connecticut Wedding


I recently provided the prelude, processional, recessional, and postlude music for the Catholic wedding of a percussionist friend in southern Connecticut. I had performed as part of a marimba quartet for a wedding, but never as an unaccompanied soloist. I was given complete autonomy regarding my literature choices with one exception – Pachelbel's Canon for the bridal processional.

The wedding was lovely. The weekend was great fun. And I learned a few things. Here are 10 of them:

  1. Connecticut drivers are fast and reckless.
  2. There is a law in CT allowing passengers to consume alcoholic beverages. 
  3. In related news, Stratford, CT needs to stop trying to make craft beer (or maybe they need to just try a lot harder).
  4. You only have to drive 7 minutes down the road and you're in a new town/city. Seriously, the hotel, church, rehearsal dinner, & reception were all in different towns.
  5. Not everyone shares my need to score their wedding like a movie soundtrack. My wedding was in October 2013 and I arranged all of the ceremony music for flute, cello, & marimba. I think I was more concerned with the timing of the music than remembering my vows. Yes, I have issues.
  6. The following marimba pieces are perfect for wedding prelude music: A Cricket Sang and Set the Sun, True Colours, The Offering, Piacer d'Amor, Memories of the Seashore, opening chorale to the Ewazen Concerto, etc. (see the full wedding playlist below)
  7. There are apparently some misconceptions about the marimba. Both the pastor and the organist/cantor were concerned I would be playing a bunch of pop music (e.g. The Beatles). 
  8. Improvisation (spontaneous composition) is a good skill to have when the ceremony inexplicably starts 12 minutes late.
  9. Beethoven's "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" in a lively 7/8 works beautifully as a recessional. It does, however, encourage a slightly lopsided gait.
  10. This one I learned at my own wedding... Brides are ALWAYS right.

The Playlist

Prelude Music

  • The Offering - Michael Burritt
  • Concerto for Marimba, Mvt. I Opening Chorale - Eric Ewazen
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - J.S. Bach/arr. N. Daughtrey
  • One Hand, One Heart - Bernstein/arr. N. Daughtrey
  • Opening - Philip Glass
  • Piacer D'Amor - Giovanni Martini/Keiko Abe
  • True Colours (first 1-1/2 pages played calmly) - John Thrower
  • Una Limosnita por Amor de Dios - Barrios/adapt. N. Daughtrey
  • La Catedral - Barrios/adapt. N. Daughtrey


  • 'Andante' from A Minor Violin Sonata - J.S. Bach
  • Transformation of Pachelbel's Canon - Pachelbell/arr. N. Mimura


  • Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee - Beethoven/arr. N. Daughtrey (Sacred Marimbist, Book 2)


  • Amazing Grace - arr. Nathan Daughtrey (Sacred Marimbist, Book 2)
  • A Cricket Sang and Set the Sun - Blake Tyson
  • All Creatures of Our God & King - arr. Nathan Daughtrey (Sacred Marimbist, Book 2)
  • Land - Takatsugu Muramatsu

Trial by Spitfire: NOT Writing for Percussion


I have two performances fast approaching (at SERTEC & NERTEC) that will hopefully fool audiences full of tuba & euphonium players into thinking I actually know how to write for euphonium. This might sound a little silly and self-deprecating, but there is a nugget of truth in there. Any time I write for an instrument that is NOT one of the percussive persuasion, there is the fear that I am simply pulling the wool over the audience's eyes.

This all started with my very first commission – a duet for oboe and vibraphone composed for Amy Anderson and Lisa Rogers, the oboe and percussion professors from Texas Tech University. Lisa was familiar with my percussion works having conducted Limerick Daydreams & Sizzle, but Amy was certainly taking a chance on my oboe-writing skills. One of their first performances of the piece took place at the International Double Reed Society Conference (a.k.a. the lion's den).

Several other non-percussion ventures have occurred since then (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, wind ensemble, orchestra) and I always feel a little bit lucky when these ventures are successful. However, most of these performances are not in front of such concentrated audiences, especially not with me on display stage.

Today, I return to the lion's den – this time, the Southeast Regional Tuba & Euphonium Conference at the University of North Florida – with the comfort of euphonium player Brian Meixner by my side. We will perform Coming Home for euphonium and piano as well as the world premiere of my newest work Spitfire for euphonium and marimba/vibraphone. Let's just hope that no fruit-throwing ensues.

Video: An Extraordinary Correspondence (flute & marimba)

An Extraordinary Correspondence (for flute & marimba) by Nathan Daughtrey

Laura Stevens, flute
Nathan Daughtrey, marimba

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Faculty Composition/Chamber Recital
Charles E. Hayworth, Sr. Memorial Chapel
High Point University
High Point, NC

*The video is best viewed at 1080p HD quality.

"An Extraordinary Correspondence" is published by C. Alan Publications (© 2012) and available for sale from Steve Weiss Music.

Strange Dreams: A Faculty Composition & Chamber Recital

It is a little odd that the only local performances I seem to do are church timpani gigs and extra percussionist gigs with one of the area orchestras, yet I don't hesitate to travel to California, Utah, Pennsylvania, or Texas to give a recital, masterclass, or clinic. Rarely do I even take my marimba or vibraphone out of the house unless I'm driving at least 100-200 miles away from Greensboro. It's not like I don't have Christmas CD to promote. It's not that I don't have plenty of other repertoire to share. Is it laziness? I don't know... I think it's just easy to neglect that which is right under your nose. Those days are over.

On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 I will be giving my first faculty recital at High Point University. Seeing how I teach both music composition and percussion there, it seemed fitting (albeit a little self-serving) to perform a recital of my works. We have a wonderfully talented faculty at HPU and I am delighted to be playing with four of them in what will hopefully be the first of many future collaborations. 


Improvisation from Episodes for Solo Piano

Strange Dreams (for alto saxophone and marimba)
with Bob Faub

Encantada (for solo vibraphone)

Coming Home (for euphonium and piano)
with Dr. Brian Meixner

Concerto for Vibraphone (for vibraphone and piano)
with Susan Young 

An Extraordinary Correspondence (for flute and marimba)
with Laura Stevens

Halcyon Deconstruction (for solo marimba and electronic accompaniment)

Recital Details

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Free Admission

Charles E. Hayworth Sr. Memorial Chapel

High Point University

833 Montlieu Avenue

High Point, NC 

Facebook Event

Video: "Encantada" for Solo Vibraphone

My new vibraphone solo Encantada is being released for publication (among a slew of other pieces that I'll share later) in the next couple of weeks by C. Alan Publications, so I thought it a good idea to post something other than the electronically-generated recording that has been representing the piece so far.

Please excuse the following:

  • the green hue courtesy of the flourescent lights in my office at work
  • the moderately poor video quality
  • the 4 wrong notes (yes, I counted)

Otherwise, enjoy!

Read more about "Encantada" in an earlier blog post.

Why I think Classical Musicians are Pre-Programmed to Be Runners

In the middle of a recent 10-mile run while on vacation in the Outer Banks of NC, I found myself wondering what the hell I was doing. I mean this was a vacation. A break from reality over a long weekend. At the beach. With good company. And I consciously brought with me my running shoes, running clothes, & fuel belt – all so I wouldn’t fall off of my training too much in preparation for an upcoming half marathon trail race.

So, I found myself running past the Wright Brothers Memorial knowing why I was running – to get the mileage in for my training – but pondering why I enjoy it so much and why it feels so natural to me now. And this is when it hit me. Since I was 4 or 5 years old, I have been playing a musical instrument of some kind and, therefore, preparing for recitals and concerts. If I didn’t put in enough hours practicing the music for these performances, I would be completely unprepared and would likely fail. If I procrastinate (which I am very prone to do) and try to cram all the practicing into a short period of time just before the performance, pain will ensue because I have not trained my muscles properly and built up the requisite calluses & scar tissue necessary to play pain-free. The exact same thing can be said of training for a road race – especially the longer distances, such as a 10K, half marathon, and marathon. If you don’t get enough mileage in the weeks & months leading up to a race, it’s going to hurt and you run the risk of injuring yourself and possibly not even finishing the race.

Here’s my list of reasons why I think all classical musicians should be runners:

  1. Discipline. We already have it. We have spent hours and hours alone in a practice room playing those passages over and over again. Just need to have the patience to start out at a slow pace and build it up from there. Dial back that metronome.
  2. Stamina. Running non-stop for 2+ hours has greatly improved my stamina behind the marimba in practice and performance. Whether you are a percussionist, conductor, string player or whatever, your “instrument” is physically demanding. Nothing wrong with a bit of aerobic conditioning.
  3. Mental Practice. Being out on the road running for 30 minutes/an hour/2 hours is a fantastic opportunity to do some practicing away from the instrument. Some people I talk to think that all the time I spend running takes away from my practice time. No reason it should. Just spend that time “playing” through a piece in your mind or memorizing a certain passage.
  4. Inspiration. This is an extension of mental practice. I have come up with several seeds of ideas and themes for compositions while on a run. For instance, the main theme of the first movement of my Vibraphone Concerto came to me while on a long run in Oklahoma. I also wrote a middle school band piece called Downtown Dash that was inspired by a 5K race I ran.
  5. SWAG. I don't really have a musical correlation for this one, but who doesn't like getting free stuff?! Race shirts, running socks, gel, coupons, and for the longer races a medal. Good stuff!

I only started running about 3 years ago, but I quickly caught the “bug” and now I absolutely love it. Training for my first full marathon (the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.) will start in mid-July (ugh) and will continue for 17 weeks until race day on Halloween 2010. I have several performances in the middle of the training, including one in Wisconsin that’s two days before the main event. I have met so many great friends in the running community, but hardly any of them are musicians. My charge to you is to get out on the road or trails and run. You might find that it’s exactly what was missing from your life and that you’ll become a better musician as a result.

Student Spotlight #1: Edward Witt

This is a new section I'm adding to my blog. It was the result of trying to find a creative way to chronicle my travels around the country without shining the spotlight on myself (too much). My final flourish of spring 2010 gigs culminated in a trip to Mt. Lebanon, PA – a beautifully quaint (& hilly) suburb of Pittsburgh. I was there to perform David Gillingham's "Concerto No. 2 for Marimba & Percussion Orchestra" with the inimitable Mt. Lebanon High School Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Rick Minnotte. While I was there, I was introduced to a new piece for percussion ensemble by one of the graduating seniors, Ed Witt, and was really struck by the maturity of his writing. He took a composition lesson from me on Friday and shared several more pieces and I am certain he is going to have a very bright future. Here's some information about Ed followed by a little question/answer session we had.

Edward Witt

Born: December 19, 1991

High School: Mt. Lebanon High School Class of 2010

Activities: Percussion Ensembles (Holiday, Brazilian, Keyboard Percussion), Marching Band, Orchestra, Intramural Ping-Pong

Instruments: Percussion, Trumpet, Piano

Private Percussion Teacher: Mr. Subha Das

Awards & Honors: High Honor Roll, Featured soloist at Interlochen Arts Camp

Plans for the Fall: Attend Carnegie Mellon University majoring in music composition

Aspirations for the Future: Film Composer & Teacher


Of the three instruments you play, which is your favorite?
I really love piano, simply because I’ve played it enough that I’ve reached the point where I can just sit down and play whatever comes to mind. It’s a great stress-reliever. I also like playing the trumpet in a large ensemble, like my school orchestra. A full brass section can add so much muscle to the sound and always makes things more epic. Percussion is great because it’s very physical and hands-on. Hmm... It’s hard to pick a favorite because they are all great in different ways.

When did you first start composing?
Before I could read music, I would sit at the piano and play a few notes. After a little while, I started to put simple sequences that I liked together. In elementary school, we had a small composer’s forum where kids would write little pieces and then have them performed. I composed my first piece, entitled “Monday Morning” for solo celesta.

What is your favorite ensemble or instrument to compose for so far?
I really like the textures you can create with percussion. The instruments are so versatile and there are so many different sounds you can get out of them. I am also attracted to percussion ensembles simply because they are still a bit unconventional.

Where do you find inspiration (musical or otherwise) for your compositions?
I find inspiration in many different ways. Occasionally I’ll see something in nature that, for whatever reason, really sticks with me and I do what I can to recreate it. For example, in a recent visit to Italy, I was standing outside a train station in Venice when it suddenly started pouring rain. Just being in that environment really affected me and so I started writing. I also try to listen to as much new music as I can get my hands on. I go through “phases” of what I focus on. I might listen to only jazz for one week, and then hardcore techno the next. My pieces are very influenced by what I am experiencing at the time. It’s kind of like a journal.

Tell me about your percussion ensemble piece "Cellar Door" that was just premiered at Mt. Lebanon. It's a really striking title.
After I finished the piece, I really had no idea what to call it. Titles are always very difficult for me because I feel like people interpret the piece based on what I call it rather than experience it in a way that is more meaningful to them personally. In other words, I would rather people experience the piece without the prejudice they might gather from a title. It is for this reason that I arbitrarily chose "Cellar Door." As told in the movie Donnie Darko, J.R.R. Tolkien has described this phrase as the most beautiful utterance in the English language. By calling the piece "Cellar Door," it got people to say this phrase often (sort of a whole new piece on its own in a John Cage-esque way). The title is independent of the piece itself. I just wanted it to be ambiguous.

How has music helped or influenced you in other areas of your life?
How have other areas of your life (people, activities, etc.) affected or influenced your musical experiences?

Music, for me, is all about communication. I’ve never been good with words. Music allows you to convey a message that you might not know how to say. It can also teach you a lot about patience, discipline, and dedication.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? 20 years?
I’d love to write film scores some day. I think my writing style would really lend itself to it. If that doesn’t work, I also have some interest in teaching.

What are the 10 most frequently played/listened to artists on your iPod or in your iTunes library? Does this influence your compositions in any way?
10. David Gillingham (Century Variants, Symphony #2 for Band, Concerto for Horn)
I really love all of Gillinghamʼs work. I feel like my style is very similar to his. I hope my music can be half as good as his some day.

9. Tenacious D
I like this band for itʼs comedic values, but also for Kyle Gassʼ skill on guitar. “Tribute” is one of the best songs in the world :)

8. Pink Martini
This group is great for chillinʼ. They are so different, and I love the way they mix genres.

7. Joris de Man (Killzone 2)
You need to check this album out. He hasnʼt done much mainstream stuff, but his orchestration skill is top-notch. Itʼs so emotional and epic. He tends to blend a live orchestral (organic) sound with MIDI (industrial) percussion for a really neat effect.

6. The Killers
The sound of Brandon Flowersʼ voice has such an interesting quality to it. This music helps me think.

5. The Kooks
Also good for contemplation. I donʼt know how to describe them other than incredibly smooth.

4. Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethovenʼs later works have a significant impact on my writing. His symphonies are the best, especially his 7th. I love his innovation.

3. Sergei Rachmaninoff
For me, Beethoven is to symphonies as Rachmaninoff is to piano concertos. Iʼm in love with the way he combines the orchestra with the piano. He truly was a master at what he did.

2. James Newton-Howard (Lady in the Water, I Am Legend, The Village, Treasure Planet)
Also something you should check out if you havenʼt already. The music of “Lady in the Water” really had a strong impact on me. I love the chord progressions he uses. His work is the single greatest inspiration for me to write film scores.

1. Camille Saint-Saens
I love Saint-Saensʼ charm. His music has such a magical quality to it that no one has been able to duplicate.


Ed Witt will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in the fall of 2010 where he will study music composition with Nancy Galbraith. Be on the lookout in the near future for more great music to come out of this talented individual!

New Feature: Upload Your Concert Programs

One of the constant struggles that I and many others face as a composers of music for school ensembles – whether a percussion ensemble or concert band, middle/high school or university – is gathering information about performances of our works. Why do I care? There are several reasons...

  1. I like to list all performances of my pieces on my website calendar and link to the performing ensemble whenever possible.
  2. There are often recordings that come out of these performances and you never know when you're going to come across a replacement demo recording for a piece.
  3. There is often the possibility that I could come to the performance.
  4. My livelihood...

A portion of my income is determined by reporting performances of my pieces to my performance rights organization, ASCAP (American Society of Composer, Authors, & Publishers). In order for a performance to count toward performance royalty distribution, I (or the performing individual/ensemble) need to send in a concert program. I have just made that process much simpler for all of you directors out there. At the far right of the top navigation bar, there is a link that says send your programs.

That link takes you here...

Just fill out the information, find the file (Microsoft Word or PDF) on your hard drive, and upload! You can actually use this form to upload mp3 recordings as well.

Thanks in advance for helping me out!

Video: "Adaptation, Mvt. I" by Nathan Daughtrey (OU Percussion Ensemble)

The University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble performs the first movement ("Improvisation") of my piece, Adaptation. Based on my solo piano piece, Episodes, I scored Adaptation for 11 percussionists specifically for the "5:00 Ensemble" at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro while I was there as an adjunct professor of percussion. It won 3rd Place in the 2005 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest, the same year that David Skidmore's Whispers (see my earlier video post) won 1st Place and another piece of mine, Limerick Daydreams, won 2nd Place.

Adaptation is published by C. Alan Publications.

Music that soothes frayed nerves without the medicinal effect of wall-paper stuff at the mall

I completely forgot until today that my Yuletide Marimba CD received a glowing (and quite humorous) review just after its release last year by Classical Voice North Carolina, an online arts journal for the Triad and Triangle area. Here are a few gems from the review by Karen Moorman:

"If you're looking for music that soothes frayed nerves without the medicinal effect of wall-paper stuff at the mall, add this to your collection of holiday favorites."

"Daughtrey...turns to greatly-loved Christmas melodies and delivers a gift that will surely please anyone who enjoys the gentle, beautiful tones emanating from rosewood bars."

"Closing my eyes, I could almost feel the welcoming arms of the warm tropical breeze."

"...from my rocking chair in a dimly lit living room late last night, I was in touch with the enchantment of the marimba."

Love it! Please check out the entire review at You won't be disappointed. And if you haven't yet gotten your copy of the album, head on over to the iTunes store. Now.

'Tis the season for shameless self-promotion (& a free download)

Around this time last year, I inundated Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and my own website with annoyingly persistent updates about my holiday recording project. Well, according to T.V. commercials, shopping center decorations, and (most importantly) the beautiful red Starbucks cups, the holiday season has once again descended upon us. Therefore, I'm taking this as my cue to begin the shameless self-promotion of my (somewhat) new holiday CD, The Yuletide Marimba.

(By the way, you will be rewarded if you continue reading to the end. I supposed scrolling down now would work too, but where's the fun in that?)

The funny thing about a holiday recording project is that all of the arranging, recording, and CD mastering occur during holidays for which the music was not intended, such as Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, & even Thanksgiving (though radio stations may beg to differ). Me? I would listen to Christmas music year-round if it weren't for all the dirty looks (you bunch of Scrooges!). If my iPod is on shuffle and a Christmas tune sneaks in there, I will not skip past it, regardless of the season, so scowl away.  Anyway...

If you are a new friend/follower/fan, you can read the four blog entries from last year detailing the ins & outs of the Yuletide recording project (including the reasons I hate recording). Here's the track list including brief descriptions of each tune:

1. A Winter Prelude (a.k.a. the chorus to Jingle Bells played slowly by solo marimba)
2. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen (would love some comments about comma placement)
3. Silent Night (with some slightly altered harmonies... don't get mad)
4. Carol of the Bells (with orchestra bells... imagine that!)
5. O Holy Night (new rhythmic setting)
6. Deck the Halls (with dumbek. yeah, i said it.)
7. What Child Is This? (which was recently reviewed as overly-dissonant. you be the judge.)
8. In the Bleak Midwinter (does anyone know this tune?)
9. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (or this one?!)
10. Silent Night (again, but in a setting for marimba quartet)
11. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen (ditto)
12. Deck the Halls (ditto sans dumbek)
13. A Winter Postlude (lovingly referred to as "A Christmas Requiem" by the other members of the quartet)

My Christmas Gift to You...
Free download of God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
* Right-click or Control-Click (for Mac) and choose Save File As or Save Link As)

Your Christmas Gift to Me (or where to buy my album)...
Electronic Download: iTunes

Physical CD: C. Alan Publications
or if you are in close proximity to me, I'll hook you up

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Moving & Moving On...

The Marimba (mis)Adventures blog has moved to a new address. In fact, my entire website has undergone a bit of a face lift, featuring improved organization and navigation, newly added compositions, and an integrated blog. One of my awesome friends designs websites for her livelihood and turned me on to Squarespace as a place I might consider creating and hosting my site. I love new & shiny things so I took the bait and tried it out. Surprisingly, I feel as if I have even more creative control than I ever did creating my site in Dreamweaver. It has exponentially decreased the amount of time I spend dealing with code which is good for my sanity.


Please access my blog from now on using the following address:

Misadventure #1: Lip-Syncing for Percussionists 101

Natalie Grant sandwiched by Casting Crowns'Tis the season for musicians to be inundated with holiday gigs. Wait, that makes it sound like a bad thing. Don't get me wrong...a little extra cash is always welcome at this time of the year. It just makes for a rather busy schedule.

I had a particularly amusing experience with one of these holiday gigs this year. I was hired to play timpani & percussion (along with 10 string players) for a Christian rock concert at Greensboro Coliseum, featuring headliners Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant, and Avalon. Because I was hired by the local symphony to play the gig, they provided the instruments for me. However, there was apparently a discrepancy between the list of needed instruments and the music itself, so I was left scrambling 30 minutes before rehearsal to track down a set of orchestra bells and wind chimes. Found orchestra bells pretty quickly and was about to run around to find wind chimes when one of the band members stopped me just outside the arena. The conversation went something like this:


Band member: "If you're missing an instrument or two, don't worry about it."
Me: "But the bass player just told me that I definitely need to have wind chimes."
Band member: "Look, you're really just for visuals."
Me: "Ummm, what do you mean?"
Band member: "There are no microphones on you, so you're just eye candy up there. Make it look good. Make it look like you know what you're doing."
Me: "Wow. Okay. Easy enough."

Walking away, I felt a little deflated and maybe even a little used. I climbed back on stage to my rickety, elevated set-up (consisting of 2 timpani, a set of bells, suspended cymbal, crash cymbals, and 2 egg shakers) next to the bass player, who reinforced what the other band member had just told me. Why he couldn't have told me this when he saw me running around looking for instruments, I don't know. Anyway, I started mentally preparing for what would be my very first experience "lip-syncing" for a gig. That might be overstating. I did actually play. It's not like I was air drumming or anything. Nonetheless, here's how I would (and did) approach it:

1) Look very engaged, even when not playing (which was a lot for me on this concert). This involved a bit of head-bobbing, toe-tapping, and closing my eyes every now and then.

2) Don't look around in awe of the spectacle around you. We (the string players & I) did not rehearse with any of the bands before the concert, so there was a lot to take in once the concert did start.

3) Pick up sticks/mallets several bars before you play and get in position to play. Then, give many prep strokes above the instruments to try to refocus attention on you. Not once were the strings or I featured on the 2 huge screens on either side of the stage, so you do what you have to. It's all about ego, right?

4) Timpani and cymbal rolls should end in a flourish with mallets up in the air. Similarly, crash cymbals should end up out and in the air after crashes.

5) When playing egg shakers, since they're so small, you may choose not to even pick them up. Just put your hand in the air as if you're holding them and shake. I did actually pick them up. I didn't want to go 100% Milli Vanilli for the gig.

5) I was directly behind and above the drummer for the entirety of the show. Whenever the drummer was taking a solo, I would twirl one of my timpani mallets above my head while pointing at the drummer with the other mallet. OK, that one's a lie.

I've run out. I followed these directions for the first half of the show, meaning I was on my best behavior. However, when I realized no one was looking at me at all during the second half, I might have taken out my iPhone and taken some on-stage pictures (see photo above).

I think I realized why they don't amplify the local musicians that play with them on their tour. After the concert was over and we were packing up, the bass player shakes my hand and tells me I was the first percussionist on their entire tour to play everything correctly. Not that in mattered, but yikes!

So, that was my Friday night and my first experience as lip-syncing eye candy.