Moog Theremini Theremin

Gig report: Victoria Steampunk Expo

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Posted: 9/27/2011 5:58:19 PM
ericr
From: Victoria, Canada
Joined: 9/4/2009

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I'm happy to report a full weekend of successful thereminization!

I was invited to bring my newly built Keppinger-type tube theremin to display at the 2nd Victoria Steampunk Expo (http://victoriasteamexpo.blogspot.com) (24-25 Sept). With its gleaming coils, tubes and brass antennae, it was right at home in the "retro-sci-fi" world of Steampunk. The Expo was held in Craigdarroch Castle (http://www.thecastle.ca), an extravagant 1880's 39-room landmark here in Victoria, which was the perfect backdrop.

The theremin was set up in an alcove off the main staircase, which meant that the several hundred people there for the weekend went right by it. I variously played and noodled, answered questions, and invited people to try it for a hands off experience. MANY dozens of people gave it a try, and all of them had the same "thereGrin" on their faces. A very small number actually tried to play a melody, and in a couple of cases it was possible to tell what tune they were trying for. Everybody gained new appreciation for the instrument.

On Sunday afternoon, we moved the whole kit and kaboodle up to the 4th floor ballroom, where i gave a talk about the theremin's history and workings, followed by a short performance. I had put a lot of thought into how to arrange some backing instrumentation, until the idea hit me for the ultimate Steampunk accompaniment: a punch-card music box! I just happened to have such a thing, so i got busy punching, and finally wound up with music box accompaniment for a handful of pieces, which was the limit of my repertoire anyway. I brought my sister along to turn the crank, and it went beautifully and sounded fantastically vintage. Fortunately i had just spent the entire weekend playing and practicing, so i had gained a lot of confidence, and my performance was at least somewhat decent. Anyway, the audience loved it, and many told me the theremin was the highlight of their weekend.

Unfortunately, i don't have any worthwhile video of the event, but there were a lot of cameras there, so some might surface. Here's a photo (http://www.dronestreet.com/duet.jpg) of an impromptu jam with a friend who brought along his beautiful teens Gibson mandolin.

The whole weekend was WAY too much fun.

-eric

(ps. I'm calling dibs on doing a theremin & music box album!)
Posted: 9/30/2011 6:43:17 PM
ericr
From: Victoria, Canada
Joined: 9/4/2009

threads posts

Update: Sure enough, somebody (not me) posted a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5y3-e58nTI) of part of it!

What's interesting is that normally, i use somewhat more fingering. Since this was only the 2nd time i've played theremin on stage, my fingers were shaking from nerves, and i had to keep them together and move my whole hand more than i do in the safety of practice.

So please be kind. :)

-eric
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