The High Street Broadcast took several months off after show number 30. This was to regroup, look at what we were doing right, what we could do better, and what could change for the future. One thing was obvious. We needed more funding if we were going to continue.
The City of Moorpark stepped up and said they would help out. That meant that we would come back with a bang for our big Halloween show. And come back big we sure did!
The overall idea of the show was to have a couple shorter bits lead into “The Tale from Autumn Knoll” The shorter bits all went very smoothly and we ended up with a jazzy number for everyone, some underscoring and a couple other short songs.
Then came the Tales part. It was a beast! 20+ minutes of a rhymed/metered poem a la Dr. Seuss. I knew right away that the music was going to be a challenge. It had to portray so much. The story was of a scarecrow who, through witchcraft, came to life for a day. He (of course) fell in love with a human but she could not follow him home for anyone in the field at midnight would turn into a scarecrow.
A beautiful story with a magical sense to the words. I sat down and started scoring.
Now doing this live presented a whole set of challenges. It couldn’t go too long — it couldn’t be through composed — it had to have themes for everyone to pick up on — it had to portray the emotions exactly — and it had to be learnable by the musicians in about a week.
We had many other challenges with the show — the show date was moved up a week, I was no longer living close and helping run rehearsals, there was never a full read-through with the score before the performance. But, for the most part, we overcame them all and pulled it off.
The band was augmented with the addition of another brass player and a second piano player (Becca Stankis, my duo partner). Adding a trombone player was amazing and extended the sound a lot.
I broke one of my cardinal rules for this show. I wrote music the night before the performance that the band had to sight read — or play with oly one run-through. One of these was a theme I wrote at about 3am for solo piano. The feel and way that Becca was able to perform this was absolutely stunning. It begs to be a finished piano piece (maybe I’ll get around to it soon).
Overall this show presented a ton of challenges and all the performers did an admirable job. I think this would be a great show to do a studio recording of and get it as near perfect as possible — just to show off what a group of talented writers/musicians/performers can pull off.