Behind the Scenes (Part 2)

October 30th, 2013 Debra Mann


In my previous blog (, I wrote about what goes on behind the scenes in preparing for a single concert.  I was surprised to discover how hard I could work, and how focused I could be, while preparing for my Joni MItchell 70th Birthday Tribute Concert (and live recording) at The Narrows Center for the Arts. This blog chronicles the final days leading up to the show, and aims to give readers a greater appreciation for what musicians do prior to setting foot on stage.


Two weeks to go

-Rehearse with band

-Rewrite charts after band rehearsal to reflect the changes made, and to make them easier to follow on the gig. (A poorly written chart is a hindrance to a good performance, so having a legible, clearly written chart is really important.)

-Photocopy new charts

-Do PR. Although I wanted my primary focus to be on practicing, it was important to have a large and appreciative audience attend the concert. I sent additional notifications to all appropriate media outlets (see previous blog-Behind the Scenes) and designed a postcard to distribute.

-Practice. I carved out time to practice, and listened intently to Joni’s renditions of songs (especially those difficult melodies like Goodbye Porkpie Hat, and The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines from Joni’sMingus recording, which continue to amaze me).


One week to go

-Practice more

-Write set lists

-Write talking points-I decided to to write talking points, because I sometimes have difficulty recalling facts of interest to share.  It was really fun to do research about Joni MItchell. I discovered several Joni Mitchell Facebook pages, and a Joni Mitchell digest that comes directly to my email box. Needless to say, there are a lot of Joni fans.


Three days to go

-Practice more

-Call Executive Director of the Narrows, and recording engineer, to confirm arrival time, load in, set up, and sound check.

-Call band members to confirm arrival time, band attire, and remind everyone to bring a music stand.  (It’s the little things, sometimes)


Two days to go

-Put music in set order for each musician.

-Treat myself to new outfit at Dish, my favorite local boutique in Warren, RI.

-Write something personal to share at concert about what Mitchell’s music means to me. (I will share this in a future blog.)


One more day

-Get hair styled at my favorite organic hair salon in Bristol, RI, Pure Salon


Day of show checklist

-Bring CD’s

-Email sign-up sheet


-Music books for band members

-Get money for CD sales transactions

-Bring Square card reader for CD sales

-Bring contract agreements for Narrows and recording engineer

-Bring checkbook to pay musicians & recording engineer

-Print talking points

-Print set lists (for each band member, sound man, and recording engineer)

-Gig clothes, shoes, jewelry, and make-up

-Camera/video camera

-Pray for inspiration, and put everything in God’s hands.


My next blog will be about the actual show.  Stay tuned!





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