• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Fiddler On The Roof - Regional - Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts’ setup for Fiddler On The Roof at the Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

“I played around with my cymbal choices a bit but went with a 16" and 18" crash. There isn't very much ‘riding’ and I wanted the option to be able to have two crash sounds.”


“This show was a very exciting opportunity for me to undertake. The music isn't particularly difficult and there's nothing that jumps out as problematic but it's been a truly wonderful experience.

The Integrated Arts department at Plymouth State University puts on a musical once a year through its Educational Theatre Collaborative. This pulls university professors, university students, professionals, and community members together from multiple different disciplines.

Once I was contracted for the show, I began listening to a few different recordings to get a feel for the show and start to feel out what set up would work for me. I looked at both Kory and Billy's set ups and felt Kory's would ultimately work better for me. Most of the timpani parts are in grooves or when the tempo was fairly steady. Some of the glock hits on the other hand were at the beginning of pieces, in the middle of rallentando's, etc… Because of this and not having video monitors, I decided on having the glockenspiel and xylophone closer to my direct line of sight to the conductor and have the timpani to my side/behind.

I'm finding that small percussion between my ride and floor tom location are working consistently for me so I placed my triangle, finger cymbal, mounted tambourine and bell tree to my right (similar to my set up for Seussical). I also placed my TreeWorks Chimes directly in front of me to be able to reach but not get in the way.

There is one section in ‘To Life’ that calls for a long tambourine roll. I opted to use a handheld concert tambourine rather than playing a roll on the mounted tambourine. Because it's only used once, it spends most of the show on the ‘black’ keys of the xylophone, underneath the glockenspiel along with my phone, wallet, and extra mallets.

I played around with my cymbal choices a bit but went with a 16" and 18" crash. There isn't very much ‘riding’ and I wanted the option to be able to have two crash sounds. Not pictured is a second 18" crash that was added mid-way through the run. This is located behind the timpani for a crash at the end of the Act 1 finale.

Because of the design of this particular pit space, there are vertical posts that I had to work around. After many attempts, I wasn't able to get the chimes in a location that I could easily reach them. The director understood and I ended up only needing two pitches (C, F) which I hung from two cymbal stands. The only other change I really had to make was getting rid of the vibraphone part required for ‘Sabbath Prayer’ for space reasons. I ended up using soft xylophone mallets in a lower register on the glockenspiel and the music Director was happy with that.

One final thing I found is that it helped to set my throne back considerably further than I'm used to. I generally like to have my Snare right in my lap. For this show though, there are a few spots where I'm having to quickly turn to get to the timpani. I've gotten used to it a lot easier than I thought I would and having a backrest has been helpful for this.”

Yamaha Stage Custom (Natural Finish)
  • 12"x8" Rack Tom
  • 16"x15" Floor Tom
  • 22"x17" Bass Drum
Yamaha Live Custom (Emerald Green Sunburst)
  • 14"x5.5" Snare

  • Pearl DR-80 Drum Rack with PC-8 Rack Clamps
  • Pearl/Gibraltar Medium Weight Cymbal Arms
  • PDP Convertible Cymbal Stands
  • Gibraltar Multi Accessory Post
  • DW 5000 Single Bass Drum Pedal
  • Jacques Capelle Hi Hat Stand

  • Zildjian 16" K Dark Custom Crash
  • Zildjian 18" K Dark Custom Crash
  • Sabian 18" XS20 Crash
  • Wuhan 10" Splash
  • Zildjian 14" K Dark Custom Hi Hats

  • Adams 26”, 29" Timpani
  • Deagan No. 836 2.5 Octave Pit Xylophone
  • Deagan 2.5 Octave Glockenspiel
  • Deagan Chimes (C, F)
  • LP 12"x4" Drum set Timbale
  • Alan Abel 6" Symphonic Triangle mounted on a Miller Machine
  • Zildjian Heavy Finger Cymbal mounted on Miller Machine
  • Steve Weiss Bell Tree
  • LP Red Jam Block
  • Grover Pro German Silver Tambourine
  • LP Cyclops Mountable Tambourine
  • TreeWorks Single Row Chimes

  • Vic Firth 7A Drum Sticks
  • Vic Firth SD6 (Swizzle B)
  • Vic Firth Heritage Brush
  • Vic Firth Soundpower Chime Hammer
  • Vic Firth M130 Orchestral Series Keyboard - Soft Plastic
  • Vic Firth M141 Orchestral Series Keyboard - Medium Hard Nylon
  • Vic Firth M133 Orchestral Series Keyboard - Medium Poly
  • Clevelander CDB3 Bamboo Timpani Mallets - Small Classic Ball

January 2017