A lot of people ask what it is that a professional guitarist does – whether it’s students interested in pursuing a career in music or curious (and often baffled!) friends and relatives. So I’ve gone ahead and made a 3-part blog series covering some of my musical highlights of November 2011.
It’s been an eventful and varied month, as most tend to be. I love the variety of styles, contexts, people, and skills involved in this sort of freelance session work – it keeps me on my toes and allows me to constantly push the boundaries of my playing.
Without further ado, here are some highlights from what has been a very musically fulfilling month:
Exhibit A: Thursford Christmas Special
This is a huge Christmas show that runs through November until late December and I recently spent a week there for rehearsals. It’s basically a panto on steroids – with a troop of incredible dancers, choristers, comedians, magicians, and a fantastic orchestra.
I am ‘depping’ on this show – which means I do the show dates the main guitarist (called the ‘chair’) can’t or doesn’t want to do. I’m also on standby in case anything else should prevent the chair from making the gig (illness, family emergencies etc…). So, in addition to the completed week of rehearsals, I’ll be up to Thursford over the next two months to cover a number of days.
A dep’s job is to know the show inside and out so he can step into the chair’s shoes seamlessly without causing a drop in the quality of the show. With such excellent players in the orchestra, my job is a delight. Safe in the knowledge that everyone else knows their role, all I have to worry about is reading the dots and memorising some pieces of choreography.
As a sidenote: in this one I play electric guitar, archtop, acoustic, and banjo. Throw in an array of costume changes, dance routines, and a duet with an Oboe and you have the recipe for a rather enjoyable way to earn a living!