• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theater and More

Sho Fujieda - Parade

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Sho's setup for Parade at Fullerton College in Fullerton, California.

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"The band director at my college was one of my mentors when I was in school and even though I haven't been a student there for a while he's had me back to perform ever since our Centennial production of Ragtime. We had the full battery of percussion for that show because thankfully our former percussion instructor, Robert Slack of the Pacific Symphony, told him to get the best gear.

When I was first asked to play Parade I listened to the show to figure out what gear I needed. Since it seems the show is rarely done, the instrument list and setups were vague. Once I finally got the book I knew I wanted the bells in front of me for easy access and for the line of sight with the conductor. For the big instruments and especially the fun chime/cymbal/timpani combo in the funeral sequence, I knew I needed to stack them somehow. I drew up a couple of drafts and until I got the gear in the room I was not able to finalize my setup.

I've been doing local theater productions since 2006 and this is the first time I've been the solo percussion player with the large percussion instruments. When I did shows at the college before there was a percussionist playing all the big stuff and some toys while I played the kit and toys. Usually at the Maverick Theater (my home theater also in Fullerton, California) there is a small loft for the pit so electronics and combining parts is needed.

This show has been one of the most challenging and fun to play (not rhythmically or technically but because of the fun subdivided parts between the hands and feet) and I loved the challenge. Playing in pits is one of my favorite parts of being a musician and most rewarding.

Here's a fun technique I used that was shown to me by another pit percussionist. Instead of having a full set of crotales for the single crotale note, I hit the glockenspiel with a finger cymbal on the high E flat."
6/10/18