The only cloud on our horizon was the bad weather that hit us in Houston on our short stop-over and there was now a distinct possibility of our being late for rehearsal with The Orlando Philharmonic: not a nice feeling at all.
When we landed, Mark Fisher, principal french horn and personnel manager for the orchestra helped graciously guide our way and we arrived to a friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the rehearsal space. The SOTG team had everything up and running in record time. At this point we have our rehearsal strategy and tech down to a fine art.
The energy in a group is always very obvious to me in the first few minutes of meeting them and I could feel a good rapport amongst these musicians for each other, which they generously extended to us. This is the kind of thing that makes an enormous difference to the conductor, especially when we only have two rehearsals to get to know each other.
The next day we got to meet our chorus - Florida Opera Theater Chorus - under the proud direction of Robin Stamper; and yes, he did have a lot to be proud of, they sounded fantastic with a perfect blend, tight ensemble and great performance discipline.
The audience reception in Orlando was electric - we're now spoiled and have come to expect such an atmosphere from Zelda fans - and the Floridians did not disappoint, in fact I think they're neck and neck with Montreál for the best audience of the tour award. Then again, the Canadians actually sang to us from the auditorium...
At dress rehearsal and after the show I got to meet one of my favorite SOTG fans, Ajay Kundlas.
Ajay takes the time to wish Jeron and I well before every performance no matter what city we're performing in and is the epitome of the passionate but gentle soul that tends to populate our audiences. These are the people that make the schlepp across the continent unquestionably worthwhile. Ajay is also one of an elite group I like to call our "repeat attenders" and has seen the show a few times now. It is for fans like this that we work so hard and for whom I sweat all of my make-up off on stage - anything less would be a comfortably dry-skinned - and therefore passionless - travesty.
Thanks to principal percussionist Carl Rendek and sublime concertmaster Annabelle Gardiner (can I please say "leader" like we do in NW Europe? Concertmistress sounds so loaded and spell check underlines it in red (not underlining "concertmaster" however - hmm... methinks that may need to be remedied for its implied spelling sexism)).
Most memorable moment of our time in Orlando:
Well... there might be more than one actually...
Chad and I decided to see how close cultural clichés are to the truth in an examination of my hard-core Irish-ness as pertaining to flammable liquids. Thank you for that Chad. The answer is 100%...
Secondly there was that moment at the end of rehearsal when a member of the percussion section asked: Do you want us back in for the section we just taceted or do you want us tacet permanently? I went out on a limb with some dark Irish humor and pointed out that "Tacet Permanently" sounded like something you'd read on a musician's gravestone. Thinking that Floridians have too much sunshine for such gallows humor, I was proven gloriously wrong by the peals of laughter that came from the orchestra. Thank God: musicians are musicians no matter what their exposure to vitamin D and sunny wholesomeness.
But most memorably: I got the greatest compliment of my career - in my obtuse opinion - from one of the men of the Florida Opera Theater Chorus, who wryly announced:
'A conductor who wears an AC/DC t-shirt to rehearsal and drops Spinal Tap references... I'm not used to that!'
Thank you Orlando.
All of the photos below were taken by Ajay Kundlas:
|Back stage at the Bob Carr Center, Orlando, the legendary Wind Waker in hand|
|Rehearsing with the Orlando Phil and Florida Opera Theater Chorus|
|Here's a look behind the curtain|
|Oh dear... "headphones hair" is not a good look...|
|post dress rehearsal with an aspiring young percussionist and über fan...|
|Our friend Ajay with some members of the Zelda team: Exec producer, Jason Michael Paul; creative producer, Jeron Moore and Composer/arranger Chad Seiter|