• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Matilda - Regional - Alec Wilmart

Alec Wilmart's setup for Matilda at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington.

"One of the coolest things about this book is the role of the Bass Drum. I can’t stress enough how important having a concert bass drum is for this show. The lower, the better."


My bass drum is a 28” Spartan Model Leedy single tension bass drum, probably from the early 1940’s, which I purchased from a thrift store online. I was impressed by the floral artwork on the shell. When I got the drum, I realized the 'pristine' calf-skin heads were actually painted a solid cream color to look new.

Upon further inspection, underneath the top coat, the calf skin heads had been painted with the logo and name of a local Hawaiian dance academy. Once I removed the top coat on the batter side, as well as an old down pillow that had been inserted for muffling, the drum rang for days. The single tension is also useful in the pit for tuning due to the lack of accessibility in a pit.

The drum’s pitch changes with the slightest change in temperature, so I am tuning it constantly, but it is very easy to do.

"I really enjoyed this unique percussion book, with great set parts, and high quality percussion writing. Rarely is a player equally tasked with providing great grooves on the kit, as well as such a wide range of versatile/subtle percussion playing in the same show.

The kit parts are written very well, and should be played as is, no need to improvise, but there is some room for interpretation on the fills and such. We did much of it on 'click'.

On the percussion side, I highly recommend three timpani on this one. I am fairly adept at pedaling, and I would have found it extremely difficult with two drums.

I recorded all the sound effects and used a Roland SPD.

As you can see in the pictures, I have numbered the pads with glow in the dark tape. Came in handy with my old eyes, and I numbered the corresponding notes in my book. Whatever works!

I mounted an extra pad near the bells for a very quick slapstick cue. I also recorded all the Piatti cues.

One of the coolest things about this book is the role of the Bass Drum. I can’t stress enough how important having a concert bass drum is for this show. The lower, the better.

My one 'cheat' was sampling the vibraslap. I have heard that the Steve Weiss vibraslap has the sustain required, and since it needs to be mounted due to timing, if you can’t find an instrument that sustains, you may have to do the same and sample it.

With a wide range of skills required, and some very quick switches, this show is sure to keep you on your toes. One of my favorites, for sure!"

Matilda - Regional - Alec Wilmart