**Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects my own personal views, opinions, and experiences.
This post does NOT express the views or opinions of my employer.**
I woke up in the hotel in Buffalo, a little confused about where the heck I was.
I'd been dreaming that someone stole my trombones (this has been an ongoing theme lately) and I was trying to get them back. Yay stress dreams.
Our rehearsal was delayed by about an hour, so we were meeting at 11 instead of 10.
This was actually convenient for me to run one small errand, although I'd have to get an Uber to do it.
I scheduled the Uber for 9:50, got dressed, and went to find breakfast.
Hotel breakfast was very nice, the usual stuff: oatmeal or cereals, misc fruit and coffee and a waffle machine and whatnot.
I got myself some oatmeal and coffee, but brought it back up to my room to have with the Greek yogurt I'd bought yesterday.
At some point I'll want to make my own breakfasts, certainly not all hotels provide meals. But for now, oatmeal is oatmeal no matter who makes it so I may as well eat theirs. And as for coffee, hotel coffee can be nice sometimes too :)
After breakfast I just kinda hung out until it was time for my errand.
Chatted with the Uber driver on the way. It was only a mile and a half, and normally I would have walked it, but because this was so close to rehearsal time I wanted to play it safe.
After just a few minutes, we arrived!
This is BreadHive! It's an employee-owned co-op, meaning the owners work in the store each day and every employee has the potential to become an owner. They currently have eight owners, and it's also possible to invest in their bakery (don't ask me how, this seems complicated)
Whatever they're doing seems to be working, I mean look at that bread!
They only have fresh-baked bread available starting at 10am, which is when our rehearsals usually start. Which is why when our first rehearsal was conveniently delayed, I realized this would be my best chance to get fresh, local bread to enjoy this week!
Hence the special trip and the Uber.
I'd placed my order in advance, and got a "westside sourdough" and a soft sourdough pretzel.
Back at the hotel I cut the loaf in half (mutilated it! Should probably get a bread knife) and put half of it in the freezer, and the pretzel in a ziploc.
Then it was off to rehearsal.
I was nervous, but it was great to finally get started! Everyone seems really nice, and really professional, which is great because we likely won't waste a lot of rehearsal time yapping or "practicing" as opposed to rehearsing. Once we started playing, it was abundantly clear that everyone was here to WORK. Even for the first rehearsal, everyone sounded great!
During the lunch break I came back to the hotel to clean up and to eat some lunch (turkey, the raisin bagel I brought with me, eggs, an apple). I also tried a small piece of the sourdough, it was really good! Can't wait to have it for breakfast tomorrow with some eggs and almond butter :)
Back at rehearsal we finally got to the Entr'acte, which I've been SUPER nervous about. It's very fast, bebop-style, and contains an improv section. I am not good at jazz, and am insecure and uncomfortable when I've got to play it. But, I tried my best, and it could have been worse. We all struggled with that piece in general because for now we're playing it without a click track. Before I knew it we were already through it and moving on with the rest of the book.
I'll get more comfortable with the Entr'acte over time. At the start of any rehearsal period with a new group, especially one where I'm getting paid a living wage, I tend to get intense Impostor Syndrome which then is overcome as rehearsals progress and it becomes clear that I won't be fired for "sucking", or whatever. I never think I've practiced enough, and I never think I'm good enough. And I know a lot of people out there feel the same way. But the thing is, the fact that samething might or might not happen is really a very poor excuse for not doing something. If you have the opportunity, Do The Thing. If things don't work out, you tried, which is really all that any of us can do. Hey, that's why I'm here today. Not because of any special skill. Just perseverence, and trying.
Oh, and an amazing, supportive boyfriend. <3
Seriously. Having a person who genuinely supports you is worth the world.
I had better get to return the favor for him, that's all I can say.
Rehearsals were over at 6. Most people didn't seem like they wanted to go out, so I headed back to the hotel, grabbing some Mediterranean on the way. I ate in the room, then walked to Walgreens for some things I'd decided were worth adding to my luggage: a full-sized box of Q-tips, some plastic wrap so I can better preserve food, some disposable masks, and some candy corn. You know, necessities :) I still want to pick up a bread knife, but that will have to wait for a Target run I think. I also still need to find a tote bag, probably also from Target. Should have brought a second one from home.
On the walk back I talked to my Aunt, who is a wonderful human being, and who is currently on sabbatical from working, and who has supported me no matter what through my whole weird life. It was great to talk with her.
At the hotel I put my things away and got a shower, then Yael came over to put some chicken in my freezer. She'd gotten a little more grocery-wise than she could eat (I can relate to that!) but her room doesn't have a full-sized fridge. Finding that out today made me feel pretty embarrassed...I had just kind of assumed we'd all gotten the same type of room. I have no idea why I've got a full suite, but it's probably just luck of the draw + being one of the first band people to arrive.
Friday, another day of rehearsal, this time an hour earlier.
I decided to make breakfast in my room this morning because I don't like hotel eggs, and I've got this great loaf of sourdough!
I used my eggwich maker to make some egg whites, and had that with sourdough and almond butter and an orange and a piece of dark chocolate. And aeropress coffee of course.
Rehearsals went well, we all did our best and although everything isn't perfect nothing has shown up as a major problem, which is excellent. We even had some extra time at the end of the day to go back and play through a few trouble spots again! Very cool. I can't wait to have this show completely under my belt!
For lunch I went back to the hotel to eat my lovely pretzel, and MAN it was good!! I want to go back to BreadHive and get more, but also need to exercise some self control! After lunch we had more rehearsal, then we were each given some Tootsie swag!
Two luggage tags, a washable cloth mask, and an all-access pass!
Then we were asked to bring all of our stuff over to Shea's Buffalo Theatre. Up until now, we've been rehearsing in the 710 Theater next door. Tomorrow we're getting settled into the pit! We found our band storage boxes under the stage. They look to be almost exactly the same size as the ones we had on the circus :)
All of my mutes and trombone fit easily. Yay! And I got my first glimpse of the theatre...it's beautiful, of course.
(Clip of the theatre at the end of this TikTok)
Since we were done just a little after 5pm, I decided to bite the bullet and spend the money on an Uber to Target. I am ruining my nice loaf of sourdough by trying to cut it with a dull steak knife, and I couldn't measure my egg whites this morning because I forgot to bring a measuring cup, and for some reason I didn't pack a laundry bag OR an extra tote bag! So I picked up a bread knife and all of the other stuff, plus a few more groceries and a long-sleeved black shirt for layering underneath my dressier orchestra stuff. On the ride back to the hotel I ordered a grilled pork bahn mi, which was waiting for me at a restaurant attached to our hotel. It was tasty! I'm trying to only eat out for dinner, and I'm trying to keep eating healthy most of the time.
Saturday, I woke up with a slight headache and an achy tummy, but that's not surprising. It's a stress reaction.
What with my dear Jameson's kidney stones, and tour prep, and leaving my previous job, and leaving my Favorite Person behind, and then flying out here and starting rehearsals...it's been a WEEK, ya'll. And my body is complaining.
But that's ok! This happens every time. it will pass. And not only that, we are only sound checking today, so it's a very short day!
I had hotel oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and coffee for breakfast. Then I filled out a cleaning request card, not because I need cleaning right now but because we've been told our rooms will be cleaned every five days. That would put cleaning on Monday, our day off. NOPE! I requested Sunday instead, since I'll be in rehearsals. After breakfast I subscribed to Netflix so I can continue to watch shows with Jameson from afar, then filled out some sticky tabs which I'm going to attach to my book to make it easier to turn pages.
At the theatre we were called in by sections to get set up and to do sound check.
I was able to get a better clip of the theatre ceiling from my seat in the pit. From the pit of course you can't see the stage, audience, or really much of anything other than the ceiling and some of the balcony. Welcome to my view for the next nine months!
In this theatre, I'm sitting nearest the stage while the trumpets are to my left nearer the audience.
Our sound chica is named Olivia, she helped us to get our mixes set up and made sure our mics were placed correctly. She'll be traveling with us and it's her first tour! I'm already excited for her!
Here is my Aviom mixer. This is how I can control how much of what sound comes through my headphones.
So for example, I don't really need trumpets in my headphones because they're sitting right next to me, so I'd press the "Tpt 1" and "Tpt 2" buttons and turn them all the way down. But the bass player is all the way across the room, and it's important that we're in tune. So I'd press the "Bass" button and turn him up until I can hear him well. I can also save all of my audio settings so I don't have to readjust them every time we come back to rehearse or perform.
Here is my microphone, it's a Neumann, maybe a U67? Anyway, it goes right in front of my bell.
For my part in the sound check, I play some random notes into it, usually I try to play a variety of styles, long and short, loud and soft, and then with a variety of mutes so that the sound crew can get a good feel for what to expect.
We each have our own tiny little monitors, displaying footage from a camera in front of the conductor. In this pit we don't really need these, but there may be some pits that are too small to accommodate all of us, especially in the time of covid. If that happens, some of us may be sent to a back room where we can still perform, watching the conductor on these monitors.
When each of us had finished sound-checking, we played a few tunes together so they could get a balance in the house and so we could adjust our own mixes as we went along. My mix this time has the click and track highest, with bass and conductor vocal second-loudest, drums and keys third-loudest, and tenor sax at the bottom of my volume settings. I don't need to hear the high winds, guitar, or trumpets in general, and if I change my mind I can always crank them up later.
Sound check ended at noon. Before leaving we were each handed a little bag containing seven-or-so cloth masks and a bottle of hand sanitizer. The masks don't have the Tootsie logo, and I suspect that Wardrobe might have made them out of leftover fabric? If anything, that makes them even more awesome! Very grateful that the company is providing these for us!
It was an amazing thing to have the whole rest of the day free!
I ate a quick lunch, then walked to Tops again to replenish my eggs and get a few small treats like dark chocolate and some tiny single-serving bottles of wine. Today I wanted to decompress and do a little self care; what better way than with with wine and chocolate?
On the way home I grabbed a poke bowl for dinner so I don't have to go out again later.
Gonna enjoy a nice little bit of hotel time tonight!
I was typing this up when Jameson messaged to say he was watching the finale of The Circle. I've just subscribed to Netflix, so tuned in too! It's nice that we can watch some shows together still!
When that was finished I decided to set up my TinyMod steno machine to make sure it still works as expected, and to try to get used to how it feels. It did indeed work as expected, but it's going to take a lot of practice to get comfortable with these new keys, they are VERY different than my other machine. Regardless, it can be done, it'll only take some time.
Sunday. I woke up feeling actually rested. Such a great feeling.
Talitha sent us an email to say we'd only have rehearsal from 1-5, not 1-5pm and then 6-11pm as originally scheduled. Awesome!!
Looking forward to another short day. Don't worry, there are LOTS of long days coming up, lol.
After a breakfast of eggs, sourdough, almond butter, coffee, and oranges, I got dressed in case housekeeping showed up before I left. Sure enough, they came knocking a little after noon (at which point I was ready to leave anyway). I went to the theatre, where we warmed up and settled in for rehearsal.
This was our first rehearsal with the actors, and it was great! Frankly, I LOVE it when the attention is off the band, haha. It's just a level of stress removed. We are there to provide a soundtrack, and of course I want to do my absolute best to hit every note and get every nuance that's called for. This is easier to do when you're not overthinking things, and when the notes you've been writing in your book become part of the music you're making, instead of external things that you have to read and then act on. When things come naturally, it is SUCH a nice experience, for the musicians and the performers AND the audience. But first, we've got to learn. Today was a big step in getting where we want to be :)
We practiced a lot of transitions with the actors, parts where we move between numbers and scene changes. Before we knew it the day was over! It was drizzly and cold out, so I ordered a chicken banh mi and took it back to the hotel room, got myself a shower, made myself some tea, watched some Midnight Mass, and had a very nice relaxing evening in my newly-cleaned hotel room.
Tomorrow is a day off!
I'm going to get brunch with my friend Molly, who was the drummer on the Ruby Princess with me back in 2019.
After that, gonna kill the afternoon one way or another, and then have my first steno class of the new semester.
And then we have five straight days of ten-hour rehearsals x_x Goodness!
But by the end of it, I bet we'll be AWESOME.