Go out and listen to something…

April 22, 2006

The Helen Hayes Awards

Filed under: music, theater — burnett @ 3:42 pm

The 22nd Helen Hayes Awards took place on Monday, April 17.¬ My old friend Joanne Schmoll was a nominee, and I attended the whole evening.¬ The VIP dinner was a “This is Your Life”¬ scenario, with a host of old acquaintances popping up.¬ The ceremony itself was notable because of the onstage music presentation.¬ The orchestra was led by Glenn Pearson on piano, who has a charismatic presence and pulled the whole thing off quite well.¬ George Hummel was the orchestra arranger for the evening, as he has been for countless shows now at various theaters, including Ford’s, Arena Stage, Signature, etc.¬ The orchestra included Sue Kelly on cello, reed players Hummel, Charlie Young, Lee Lachman, trumpeter Dave Detwiler, percussionists Mark Carson and Tom Jones, guitarist Phil Matthieu, and others.¬ The Warner Theater was packed, and at $400 a ticket, quite an impressive display of theater-philia.¬

The¬ amplification of the orchestra was not good, and although¬ the piano was well mic’d, the orchestra was poorly mixed, and¬ much of Hummel’s work ¬ went to waste.¬ How a nameless ¬ audio¬ engineer¬ can ruin the work of top performers like George and the others always amazes me.¬ In the studio, there is such infinite¬ attention to detail, but in public performance there is almost always a significant failure.¬ ¬ This is not a new problem, but is repeated on a daily basis somewhere in Washington, whether at the military band concerts or at the Kennedy Center.

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