Piano Tuning for Colm Wilkinson


I recently got the opportunity to tune a Yamaha C7 Grand Piano for a Colm Wilkinson concert at the Capitol Theatre in Chatham. I was given the opportunity by the piano dealer who supplied the piano, D&S Pianos. I have always been a great fan of Colm Wilkinson, ever since I played the role of Jean Valjean in the Beal Musical Theatre production of Les Miserables. Colm was the original Jean Valjean, and he has played the part all over the world, including on Broadway and in London’s West end. His voice is velvety and quite unique. His transition between falsetto and regular voice is smooth. I was able to stand by and watch the rehearsal after the initial touch up tuning I performed, as another tuning was required just before the concert. He was very personable and down to earth. The band included a piano, keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, cello and a flute/saxophone player. All of the players were seasoned veterans.

I happened to know the sound guy through my father, who is also an audio engineer and runs a company called Stage Wireless. We talked about the acoustics of the theatre and the mic techniques he was using for the piano. He had the piano lid closed for the concert so that there was less bleed into the piano mics from other instruments. This, he said, posed a problem in generating an authentic piano tone. If the lid is open, one is able to mic the piano from an appropriate distance, yielding a fuller, more open sound. With closed lid, close mics, the tone can be thin and growly. This was a compromise he had to make.

It looks like there is a lot of great acts coming to the Chatham Capitol Theatre. Check them out and find something you’re interested in.

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