It’s always a good sign for my work life (if possibly not for my sleep cycle) when my rate of gigs outstrips my ability to find a bit of time in a day to write about them.
For the moment, my musings on various things connected with last weekend’s gigs are getting pushed to the back of the queue by more recent work.
On Wednesday night, I was in Port Talbot with the Welsh Musical Theatre Orchestra, for my second viola job with them and their last gig of the season. Now Port Talbot is possibly not quite core territory for getting ticket buyers for an orchestra playing musical theatre and soundtrack material; from my impressions, maybe more stand-up and fairly mainstream tribute acts.
However, while the audience was numerically quite a bit smaller than that at my previous gig with the ensemble, in Carmarthen, they were also a lot more enthusiastic (in other words, louder between songs). Which certainly helped me keep giving full effort and indeed keep enjoying the evening more despite being rather more sleep-deprived and coach-weary than the previous time.
I think this illustrates something important about audiences and performers: pretty much anyone who actually enjoys, rather than tolerates, performing, will find a totally empty room hard to ‘feed off’ successfully. But above a very low minimum threshold, a smaller, more responsive audience will help a lot more than a bigger group that are unengaged, or even just reserved. (We’re not mind-readers, however well we work a crowd. Or don’t.)
Obviously, if you’re ultimately on door share, or running the event yourself (which is pretty much the same thing), then the bigger the crowd the better for purely practical (and therefore very pressing reasons). But on a flat hired musician’s fee, I’d take the smaller and more energetic (including if that means tipsier) crowd any time.
Stay tuned for auditions and casting my mind back to last weekend’s orchestral gig, whenever I get round to my next post …