I have been looking forward to the Leonard Bernstein Centennial Festival in Lawrence, Massachusetts, for months! I will be playing in the pit of all three shows/concert.
The headliner show is, of course, West Side Story. This will be my ninth time playing this show, and I am lucky that I am able to do the Eb/Bb/bass clarinet book again. This is absolutely my favorite show to perform.
Basically using the same set (and locale), In The Heights is the other show being performed in the festival. The last time I played this show, I had to drop out after the first weekend because I had cholecystitis (my gallbladder was inflamed)! I ended up having surgery very shortly afterwards. I am hoping that there are no medical issues during this run.
The other performance is a concert version of On The Town, and I am also playing Eb/Bb clarinets in this one. This is not an easy clarinet book. The Eb parts go up to high G# regularly, and even at one point a high B! I can’t even do that on my Bb clarinet. Probably the person who played this book before me couldn’t play that high either, as the notes are written in an octave lower. I think I’ll do that too. But this is a great opportunity to play something my grandparents might have seen and certainly listened to on records.
Since I’ve been playing again since April, I’ve been lucky that I’ve only had a couple of allergic reactions. One was to cigarette smoke from an audience member and the other from playing an outdoor concert. Still, the reactions lasted less than 2 days, and was not nearly as bad as they had been in the past. I am so grateful that I am able to play shows again.
Here are all my instruments for the festival. This doesn’t even include the instrument stands or gig bag!