by Terry Metter;
Two basic tenets of responsible critiquing are integrity and consistent steadfastness. Unless the writer is submitting a ‘puff-piece’ or acting as a P.R. instrument; it is his or her DUTY to tell it like it is. Ignoring errors or faults so glaring as to be noticeable by numerous audience members completely diminishes a writer’s credibility. Our ARTS REVIEW stands by the opinions published yesterday; but in fairness, prints [unedited] a response by the music director of Shooting Star’s PAJAMA GAME.
Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to come and see out production of Pajama Game last night. We are always grateful for the support that OAR has shown us over the past few years.
As the band’s directorm (sic) I was naturally disappointed to read your review of our current production The Pajama Game. I would first like to point out the inaccuracy of attributing the arrangement to myself, or anyone else in the band. We are playing from the original arrangements as provided to us from the rental company, MTI. The parts, incidentally were riddled with errors, keys not matching, pages and entire numbers missing from the parts, by far the worst I have ever seen in over 20 productions, but that is a side issue.
Please understand that the orchestra is made up of unpaid volunteers, that due to budget constraints are asked to perform professional level music with under one month of rehearsals. Then are asked to play in a performance venue with no space where they are asked at to be quieter than their instrument allows and make on the spot adjustments to accommodate live theatre even though it makes playing their instruments even more difficult.
It becomes harder every year to find musicians of a skill level high enough to perform the music on a volunteer basis (so much so that we had several musicians back out this year because they felt they could not play the music competently.) As a musician myself (I play trombone) I can attest to the strain this puts on Hamilton’s pool of amateurs as I am constantly being bombarded by requests to play, that on top of a full time job, family and other charitable commitments, I know I speak on behalf of the band that it becomes very disheartening to read a review that personally attacks and centres out the band with language like “atrocious”.
While I acknowledge that there are some issues in the band, as there are with any aspect of a show, I fear that a review like this will make it even harder in the future to continue to recruit musicians to support amateur musical theatre in Hamilton. We take no issue with factual criticism over the intonation and volume, but perhaps in the future the language choice could be reconsidered. Also a quick interview with myself after the show would clear up any misinformation such as the origins of the arrangement.
I always have a positive experience working with Shooting Star Theatrics and I look forward to working with them in the future and I hope to continue to welcome your presence at the shows. I notice you often print letters on your website, please feel free to print this, Best,
Dan Grieve… Band and Vocal Director, Shooting Star Theatrics “The Pajama Game”