Paul Baldwin: Ten things I have learned from the Kitty Bridges’ Pocket Book of Tunes Tour…

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  1. It is much harder work than I originally thought it might be. It’s not being on stage, which is a lot of fun, but the getting there, the setting up, the taking down, the arriving home well after midnight still buzzing and not being able to get to sleep.
  2. The people who you do not see on stage work incredibly hard. The Director tweaks and polishes, suggests and hints, and can be found helping on the door or serving at the bar, chivvying late comers and selling tickets. As can our Producer who also works extremely hard behind the scenes. She organises and liaises with the venues, sorts all the tickets, makes many phone calls, is there at the performances, keeps the talent (that’s us, apparently) happy or helps with the set and last minute adjustments. At times we can see from the stage that they both actually enjoy the performances as part of the audience rather than constantly analysing it all and this is A Good Thing. They are great people to work with.
  3. Moira and I have achieved a greater understanding of playing music together. 18th Century music is great to play, there is so much room for adding different parts or embellishments. If one of us picks up the wrong instrument or is about to start at the wrong time, the other one usually places a gentle finger on the score to point out the impending error. So far there haven’t been too many noticeable mistakes. So far.
  4. The audience don’t know what to expect. I have recorded lots of vox pops at the end of the shows asking people what they felt about the evening. Their responses have been overwhelmingly positive, but the one common phrase has been “Well, I didn’t know what to expect, but……….I really enjoyed it!”.
  5. Hot rooms with lots of people make tuning stringed instruments a pain, and keeping them in tune even more of a problem, but there haven’t been too many off key moments.
  6. The set is brilliantly effective and so easy to set up and take down. We are now a well oiled machine when it comes to setting up and getting out at the end of the evening. It all packs into the back of Hannah’s car, apart from our instruments. Huge credit to our Designer for this.
  7. People really do enjoy the dancing at the end of the show. They don’t know they are going to enjoy it and are often a bit timid at the start, but after a few right hand stars and promenades they bounce along like they’ve been doing it forever.
  8. Recording the CD was a lot of fun. We have been in studios before but the guys at Dr Shakamoto’s took a real care in the recording process. They had not recorded many of the instruments we use before and carefully analysed each one in terms of sound and microphone placement, and they were keen to make sure we got the sound we wanted.
  9. Each venue is different. Different audience, different acoustic, different shaped space, which means some differences in each performance.
  10. I have a better understanding of the creative process. Conversation and collaboration are exciting things to do, ideas are bounced around, things develop. The whole Kitty Bridges creative process from conception, through development, rehearsals and tour has been a great experience in so many ways. There will be a large Kitty shaped creative gap when the tour ends in April, but that’s the time to start having more conversations – we’re always happy to talk – and who knows what might happen next?

Paul Baldwin March 2015

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