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Music Director Task List

Last Revised on March 13, 2010



Welcome to your Task List! The Sudbury Savoyards Task Lists are designed to be used as a guideline for how you can successfully complete your job in the current production. The task list is divided into four sections: In order to keep this task list current and helpful, please edit it as you see fit. You will be asked to turn in your marked-up copy at the Debriefing Meeting. You can also send any changes electronically by clicking here or the link at the top of this page.

General Information

Quick List

Complete? Task Timeframe
Recruit Assistant Music Director Recruiting should begin as soon as the Music Director is selected.
Recruit Orchestra Manager ASAP
Discuss artistic vision Early September
Choose Vocal Score Early September
Produce SATB Chorus Cds The copies that will be offered to the cast should be available at auditions or the first rehearsal at the latest (mid-November). See the Calendar for the exact dates
Buy or reserve orchestra parts Should be done by late September. Distribute the parts to the Orchestra Manager for distribution to the orchestra members.
Plan Orchestra Rehearsal Schedule Should be done by late September.
Recruit Audition/Rehearsal Pianists Recruiting should begin as soon as possible to ensure coverage.
Article for Fall Newsletter Due date is set by the Newsletter Editor. The fall newsletter normally goes out in early October.
Attend Board Meetings Meetings are scheduled by the Chairman and are held monthly. See Calendar for the exact dates.
Run rehearsals Ongoing once rehearsals start.
Determine if libretto will be produced November
Provide Bio for Playbill Deadline is determined by the Playbill Layout Chief
Provide "special thanks" for playbill Deadline is determined by the Playbill Layout Chief, but the playbill generally goes to print in late January. After the playbill has gone to print, anyone who should be acknowledged can be added to the insert page.
First Orchestra Rehearsal First Orchestra Rehearsal is usually the third Sunday in January. Check the Calendar for the exact date.
Arrange for music stands, lights, chairs, percussion equipment and piano All should be arranged by mid-January..
Recruit an Orchestra Pit Manager (optional) Should be completed by mid-January.
Create a checklist of duties for the Orchestra Pit Manager (if using one) Should be completed by mid-January.
Set up orchestra pit Orchestra pit is set up during put-in. See the Calendar for the exact date.
Oversee strike of orchestra pit Strike occurs on the Sunday after the last performance. See the Calendar for the exact date.
Attend Debriefing Meeting The meeting is scheduled by the Producer. See Calendar for the exact date and time.
Return Task List Return at Debriefing Meeting. See Calendar for the exact date.
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Task Details

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Recruit Assistant Music Director

Find an Assistant Music Director if you choose to use one. He/she should be comfortable leading rehearsals and have conducting abilities.

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Recruit Orchestra Manager

The Orchestra Manager acts as a liaison between the Music Director and the orchestra members.

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Discuss artistic vision

Begin discussions of artistic concepts with the Stage Director, including cuts and additions. Consider the length of the performance when inserting material. These decisions are best included in the audition handouts, to give auditioners a fair picture of the desired roles. If any of these decisions depend on who is cast, that fact should be faced at this time, and the criteria for later decision clearly understood and agreed upon.

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Choose Vocal Score

Choose a vocal score to be used in the production. The Music Director may order the scores or all pass all the information on to the Internal Sales Chief to do the ordering. Check in the attic of Hawes Hall to see if there are new scores from past productions that may be sold. A typical score order is 50 copies.

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Produce SATB Chorus Cds

For many years, the Music Director has prepared chorus practice Cds that include the words in rhythm and the notes for each chorus part (typically four separate tapes/CDs). This are offered to the cast (usually at cost) as an aide to help them learn their parts. This is generally a time-consuming process, so the sooner this starts, the better. Depending on the technology involved, the Music Director may have to make the copies, or can delegate this task to the Internal Sales Chief. Once the copies are made, deliver them to the Internal Sales Chief for sales. The Music Director should set the sales price, based on material/work cost.

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Buy or reserve orchestra parts

Determine the availability and price of orchestra parts and full Music Director's score for the show. Decide whether to rent or buy these items. If they will be rented, reserve them now. If they will be bought, there's no reason not to buy them now. In either case, determine the instrumentation required. Some operas can be obtained through area conductors, others through Kalmus in Florida (407-241-6340). The Music Director may delegate this task to the Orchestra Manager. If so, the Music Director must specify any special requirements, including restored songs, if any.

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Plan Orchestra Rehearsal Schedule

Determine the rehearsal dates for the orchestra and what personnel are required for each rehearsal. Working with the Stage Director and the Stage Manager, determine which rehearsals of Tech Week will include the orchestra. Traditionally, the orchestra has been called for at least one tech rehearsal and the final two dress rehearsals. Pass these dates and requirements on to the Orchestra Manager for the recruiting task.

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Recruit Audition/Rehearsal Pianists

Arrange for pianists for auditions and rehearsals. Accompanists are needed at all audition nights, all rehearsals at SUMC, and certain rehearsals at LSRHS. This task may be delegated to the Assistant Music Director.

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Article for Fall Newsletter

Prepare music director's article for inclusion in the Fall Newsletter. The article should include explanation of the artistic appeal of the music, restored songs/changed lyrics, basically anything to get people excited about being in the show.

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Attend Board Meetings

The Chairman is responsible for setting up board meetings for the year. The Music Director is expected to attend (or send a report to) all Board meetings from the time of recruitment through February. (The March board meeting is also the General meeting held between performances on the final Saturday.)

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Run rehearsals

Working with the Stage Director, run rehearsals. Obviously, each director has their own style, but the following guidelines may help directors new to our organization.

¤  It is helpful at the first rehearsal to set the tone for rehearsal conduct; no eating in the hall during rehearsal, no chatter when action stops, rehearsals start promptly, etc. While the Savoyards do have a conduct policy in place, it is very helpful for the directors to lay down groundrules at the start.
¤  The format of blocking rehearsals has generally been:

¤  Warmups at 7:25
¤  Starting in January, Music Review of material being blocked that rehearsal - generally from 7:30 to 8:00/8:15. It is assumed that the cast only needs a review of the music since most of the December rehearsal schedule is set aside for music.
¤  Break for announcements - as close to 9:00pm as feasible. The Producer is responsible for announcements, though this task is sometimes delegated to the Cast Manager. This is when the most number of people are available to receive information; it is important that the Directors allow time for announcements in planning rehearsals. It is understood that the Producer/Cast Manager will keep these announcements quick and to the point to conserve time. The time is set to as close to 9pm as possible to allow those who need to make announcements who would otherwise not be at the rehearsal (designers, board personnel) to be present when announcements occur.
¤  Refreshment break - generally 10 minutes after announcements are complete.
¤  Rehearsal end. We try to end rehearsals by 10:00/10:15pm; longer than that tends to deliver diminished returns. When rehearsals start to include full runs, however, it is expected that rehearsal will end when the run does.

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Determine if libretto will be produced

Decide whether we should produce a libretto and inform the Producer. If so, decide on the version of the text to use. This task can be done by either the Music Director and Producer or be delegated to someone else -- agree now who will do it.
Librettos have not been produced since 2000.

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Provide Bio for Playbill

The Playbill Layout Chief will ask for a biography for inclusion in the Playbill. This is generally kept to a single paragraph (6-8 lines).

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Provide "special thanks" for playbill

If you have anyone you would especially like to thank for anything, please provide these names to the Playbill Layout Chief.

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First Orchestra Rehearsal

The Music Director generally arranges for refreshments for the orchestra rehearsals. Check with the Social Director to see if there are extra refreshments left over from the cast rehearsals.

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Arrange for music stands, lights, chairs, percussion equipment and piano

Contact the Theatre Liaison to arrange for music stands, chairs and percussion equipment needed for each rehearsal and performance at LSRHS. A piano will be needed for all rehearsals where the orchestra is not present. Stand lights are typically loaned to the Sudbury Savoyards by Nancy Burdine in Lexington(781-862-6365). The Orchestra Manager should contact Nancy to reserve lights as well as to arrange pickup of the lights by put-in and return of the lights following strike.

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Recruit an Orchestra Pit Manager (optional)

Recruit a person (preferably an orchestra member) to oversee all things related to the orchestra pit. This includes setup and strike performing a checklist prior to each rehearsal and performance and acting as a liaison to the Music Director for all matters other than personnel, which is the responsibility of the Orchestra Manager.

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Create a checklist of duties for the Orchestra Pit Manager (if using one)

Create a checklist of duties and responsibilities for the Orchestra Pit Manager. This may include

¤  A schedule of setup and strike of the orchestra pit
¤  A checklist of tasks prior to each performance. This will include:

¤  Make sure there are chairs and stands for each player in the orchestra for the particular rehearsal or performance
¤  Remove empty chairs
¤  Check all stand lights are working and that there are spares located throughout the pit.
¤  Opening conductor's score to the appropriate page for each act.
¤  Any other duties as dictated by the Music Director

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Set up orchestra pit

Coordinate setting up the orchestra pit with the Tech Director. Set up and test music stands and lights.

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Oversee strike of orchestra pit

Coordinate breaking down the orchestra pit with the Tech Director. Ensure any equipment/instruments rented from the school are returned to their proper place. Also check with the Theatre Liaison about any school events during the run of the show to determine whether the orchestra pit needs to be struck on particular days.

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Attend Debriefing Meeting

The Producer is responsible for setting for scheduling the Debriefing session, generally held within a month of the show closing. The meeting is to go over the production, focusing on areas of great success and areas which need significant improvement.

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Return Task List

If not already turned in, return the task list at the Debriefing Meeting.

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Tasks that require your input, but are the responsibility of others

Task Description Timeframe
Recruit Orchestra Members The Orchestra Manager is responsible for the recruiting of the orchestra members, under the guidelines of the Music Director. Make sure the Orchestra Manager has all necessary info (rehearsal schedule, performance dates, etc). Give any specific names to the Orchestra Manager.
Prepare Rehearsal Schedule The Stage Director is responsible for creating the rehearsal schedule in consultation with the Music Director. The Church Liaison is responsible for reserving the dates with the church office. Should be done in July/August to avoid any conflicts with other groups.
Review Audition Forms With the Music Director, create/review and forms that will be necessary at auditions. Late September/early November. See the Calendar for the exact audition dates.
Order Vocal Scores The Internal Sales Chief is responsible for ordering the vocal scores if the Music Director does not. If you want a particular edition ordered, give them that information. Should be done by the end of October. Scores should be available for sale at auditions
Tech Week Rehearsal Schedule The Stage Director is responsible creating the master schedule for tech week. Determine which rehearsals the orchestra will be called for and arrange for piano accompaniment when the orchestra is not called. Should be done by the end of October. Scores should be available for sale at auditions
Work out communications with Stage Manager Work out with the Stage Manager about cues for starting rehearsals and performances in the school. The Stage Manager should cue the Music Director as they need to coordinate lighting cues with the top of acts and rehearsals. Cues are generally set on Monster Sunday.
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Reference Documents