Life in the Pit
27. “There’s always more you can do.” - Doug Rowe: percussion, drums

27. “There’s always more you can do.” - Doug Rowe: percussion, drums

November 20, 2020

Doug Rowe is a young percussionist, drummer, and a passionate educator.  We talk about his experience with music, teaching, and his personal health journey.

Doug is an active performer in many professional groups. He has served as a percussion section member of the Union Symphony Orchestra for the past 8 years. He serves as a substitute percussionist with the Salisbury Symphony, Hendersonville Symphony and North Carolina Brass Band. Doug has also been featured several times in a professional steel drum band called Panjive. In addition, he is a founding member of his jazz combo Real Deal Jazz.

Doug currently resides in Monroe, NC where he is teaching music at Union and Marshville Elementary School. He was recently appointed Professor of Percussion at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. In addition, Doug is the Instructor of Percussion at East Lincoln High School. He is a proud artist of Salyers Percussion sticks and mallets and member of the Black Swamp Percussion Educator Network.

You can follow this podcast @lifeinthepitpod at Twitter or Instagram.  Visit www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast to find all episodes or to leave feedback.

Reflections on CTG’s Wizard of Oz

Reflections on CTG’s Wizard of Oz

November 16, 2020

This is a follow-up to Episode 26, where I talked to Al Stephens about his work on the enormous annual production of The Wizard of Oz, as presented by The Community Theatre of Greensboro in NC.  This episode features reflections from other players in keeping the machine going.  Jennifer Blevins has been the stage manager for many years, keeping a cast of 100 in the right place at the right time.  Andy Mock has played several productions as the rehearsal accompanist and keyboard 1 player.  Kira Arrington is a young professional actress who played Dorothy as a teenager in the 20th annual production in addition to helping backstage with other productions.  Mitchel Sommers is the former Executive Director who has been the Artistic Director for every single production in addition to sometimes playing the Wizard himself.  Please enjoy this behind-the-scenes look of this huge production!

You can follow the podcast at Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod and reach out through the contact form at www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast .

26. “Organized Chaos” - Al Stephens: conductor, music director

26. “Organized Chaos” - Al Stephens: conductor, music director

November 13, 2020

The Community Theatre of Greensboro has, prior to this year, presented a huge production with a cast of 100 of The Wizard of Oz every year since 1995.  Just under half of those productions have been music directed by Al Stephens, owner of Moore Music in Greensboro and an established regional conductor.  We talk about his life, but also what it's like to deal with a production that is way larger than your average production, as well as doing the same show every year with a different cast.

You can follow the podcast on Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod.

25. “The Pit is my happy place!” - Virginia Masius, bassist

25. “The Pit is my happy place!” - Virginia Masius, bassist

November 6, 2020

Virginia Masius is a versatile bassist who plays with the Greensboro and Salisbury Symphony orchestras, loves to play jazz, and plays funky blues with The Ladies Auxillary, and it is her love of versatility that makes the Pit her happy place!

Please share this episode with your friends, and please offer a rating and review for the podcast.  Thank you!

You can follow the podcast at Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod and reach out through the contact form at www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast .

24. “Keep Pressing Forward” - Aaron Gandy: composer, music director, keyboardist

24. “Keep Pressing Forward” - Aaron Gandy: composer, music director, keyboardist

October 30, 2020

Aaron Gandy is my first NYC resident as a guest.  He has had a fun career that included a national bus tour playing for My Fair Lady.  He spent 9 years as an assistant music director for The Lion King on Broadway, and he has several interesting stories about what it was like on that production, including the very high standards required for the actors!  He worked with Glenn Close on Busker Alley.  He conducted a concert series with the New York Tenors.  He has written several shows, including a one-man show for the acclaimed Jim Dale called Just Jim Dale!  Oh yeah, and before all of this, we each played in the same high school marching band for one season together in a very rural small town in Florida.  This episode would be a great one even if it wasn't so fun personally to reconnect after more than 30 years!

Please take the time to rate and review this podcast, and share with your friends.  You can reach out to the podcast via www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast and also follow on Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod.

23. “A Bunch of Everything Combined” - Tommy Jackson, house band leader

23. “A Bunch of Everything Combined” - Tommy Jackson, house band leader

October 23, 2020

What can you do if you're wanting performing arts in a fairly isolated community of 4,000 people?  You can either go somewhere else that has it, or create it yourself.  The town of Elkin, NC renovated its Reeves Theater in 2017, and asked Tommy Jackson if he would create a house band to be featured performers with their own shows as well as provide backing for guest artists.  What does this have to do with the pit?  Well, aside from the crossover of skills, it was Tommy's theatre experience that gave him a major piece of the blueprint for how to do this as well as his direct connections for getting this gig in the first place.  We talk a lot about the house band, but also his theatre experience that ranges from music directing and playing keyboards for productions of shows like ChessChicago, and Aida, playing Jerry Lee Lewis for The Million Dollar Quartet, or his own humble beginnings as a child dancer in The Nutcracker.

Tommy is also a songwriter.  You can check out his music at https://jacksoncleary.wixsite.com/tommyjackson and the Reeves House Band at https://www.facebook.com/thereeveshouseband/, and the Reeves Theatre itself at http://www.reevestheater.com.

Follow the podcast on Twitter or Instagram @LifeInthePitPod.  Reach out with a message through www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast

22. “I was terrified…and it was incredible!” - Haidee Dollak - piano accompanist

22. “I was terrified…and it was incredible!” - Haidee Dollak - piano accompanist

October 16, 2020

If you're a piano student, be sure to listen to this episode!  Being a professional soloist is a moon shot, but learning how to be a great accompanist will give you a great chance to be paid for what you do!  Haidee is a staff accompanist primarily working with the theatre department at Elon University, one of the premiere musical theatre programs in the United States.  We have a fun conversation about what it's like to be a theatre accompanist and then transition to the Piano 1/Keyboard 1 spot of the pit.

As a reminder, you can follow the show on Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod.  Reach out with a message through www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast .

21. Getting on National Tours Locally - Wayne Leechford, contractor, reeds

21. Getting on National Tours Locally - Wayne Leechford, contractor, reeds

October 9, 2020

Most national tours of Broadway shows travel with a small core group of musicians along with the music director, but require the services of local contractors to fill out the personnel needed in the pit for each area they visit.  In the Raleigh-Durham area, that person is most likely Wayne Leechford.  He has contracted musicians for many groups, but especially for the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), a regular stop for the biggest Broadway tours including Wicked, Hamilton, Billy Eliot, The Color Purple, Legally Blonde, Mean Girls and so many more!  In addition to what it's like getting musicians for those shows, working with the different music directors, and performing in the shows (Wayne also professionally plays saxophone and clarinet), we talk about what musicians can do to get on the radar of someone like Wayne and get to play for these prestigious shows and what those expectations are if you are hired.

You can find out more about Wayne, including his amazing bio, at www.wayneleechford.com .  Follow the podcast on Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod.  Visit www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast to find out more about the show or to leave the host a message.  Please share with your friends, and leave a rating and review.

20. “So I snuck out of the school with her oboe…” - Matthew Covington, oboes

20. “So I snuck out of the school with her oboe…” - Matthew Covington, oboes

October 2, 2020

This is the third and concluding episode of the woodwind trilogy.  In Episode 18, we talked about flutes.  Episode 19 was about clarinets and saxophones.  This week's episode features Matthew Covington, as we talk about double-reeds (such as oboe and English horn) as well as Matthew's unorthodox path to choosing his instrument and becoming a professional musician.

Follow Life in the Pit on Instagram or Twitter @ LifeInThePitPod.  You can leave a message to the host through www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast

19. “It kinda puts you in a weird moment.” - Kania Mills, clarinets/saxophones

19. “It kinda puts you in a weird moment.” - Kania Mills, clarinets/saxophones

September 25, 2020

This is the 2nd episode in a trilogy of conversations with musicians who play a specific family of woodwinds.

Kania Mills is plays clarinets for multiple symphony orchestras and concert bands, and teaches at two colleges.  We talk a lot about the difference of a clarinetist's role in band and orchestra.  We, of course, talk a lot about playing for theatre.  We also have an important conversation about race.  Kania is an African American woman, and shares her perspective on the challenges that brings and the possibly subconscious but apparent biases that she often receives.  In spite of the serious subject included, it is a fun conversation with a lot of laughter!

You can follow this podcast on Instagram or Twitter @LifeInThePitPod.  You can contact the host through direct message there, or by filling out a contact sheet at www.davidlanemusic.com/podcast.  Please rate, review, and share if you've enjoyed this episode!

Play this podcast on Podbean App