Tour Diary #2 - Each Concert Venue Presents New Experiences
Written by: Kristin Gerdy, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Member
The second day of tour brought us to our first concert—the primary reason the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square are in Costa Mesa, California. We left the hotel on a “load-and-go” system and traveled to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. We arrived at this beautiful hall with scarlet velvet seats, Canadian maple veneers, and three silver leaf acoustical canopies in time for our 3:00 rehearsal and sound check.
The two-hour sound check is not just a short check of microphone levels but a full-blown rehearsal to go through every piece on the concert and make adjustments for our spacing on the stage and in the choral seating and the acoustics of the hall—and to address anything else that Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy feel is necessary to produce the very best concert possible at this venue.
For all of us in the Choir and Orchestra, moving from the Tabernacle to a new venue presents new experiences. Rather than being spread out over 13 rows and a cavernous choir loft and separated from the Orchestra by the organ platform, tonight’s concert had us divided onto three levels—with the top tier, a single row of singers, a full floor above the rest of the group. Interestingly, however, because of the impressive design of the acoustics in this concert hall we could hear each other extremely well in this setting.
Because of the seating in this venue, many of us sat in different places within the Choir than we are used to. For example, as one of the taller women in the Choir, I am usually on the very back row in the Tabernacle, but for this concert the taller singers were placed on the orchestra level, so I was in the third row behind the instruments. This meant that I could actually hear people singing behind me and see Mack Wilberg up close—a surprising new experience for me!
The concert was wonderful—a fantastic start to what promises to be a successful tour. It is a treat to perform in a concert venue that was designed—we were told when we arrived—to be ideal for choral music.