• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Paragon Ragtime Orchestra - Regional - Taylor Goodson

A few of Taylor Goodson's setups from his performances with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

“Playing percussion with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is a really unique experience. The entire goal of the organization is to re-create the sounds of American music from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, allowing modern-day audiences to hear and experience the music exactly as it was intended all those years ago. The library at the orchestra's disposal consists of more than 20,000 scores (more information about that collection can be found on the orchestra's website link above) from a wide variety of composers and arrangers, so the required setup changes from work to work.

The instruments the orchestra uses are vintage pieces from that era as well. The single-tension bass and snare drums are Ludwigs manufactured just after the turn of the 20th century (1900-1910) while the other instruments (namely cymbals, temple blocks, and tom-tom (‘Indian drum’) are also fashioned from that same era. One of the more unique sounds of my setup with Paragon is the Ludwig ‘Low Boy’ from the 1930's, an early predecessor to the hi-hat. Though a bit unruly at times, the clang of the small thick cymbals really gives the whole setup a unique sound truly reminiscent of those early days for the drum set.

Another unique thing the orchestra does is provide live accompaniment to silent films from the ragtime era. This is some of the most fun for me as it is the percussionist's job to provide all the sound effects for all the events on-screen. So, while the orchestra is playing through the selections with the conductor, I get the fun experience of being turned toward the screen, playing a whole host of effects with the action. Slide whistle, acme siren, sandpaper blocks, woodblocks, duck calls, bird whistles, cans with metal screws, dog barks through a megaphone - everything is pretty much fair game! It certainly makes for an interesting ride, and the audience always gets a kick out of it!