Orchestration is the process by which music written for one instrument (e.g, piano), is re-written for many instruments (orchestra). These can be accomplished by the original composer or, more commonly, by another orchestrator.
The principle reason for orchestrating a given piece of music is the belief that doing so will somehow enhance the artistic value and power of the music to move listeners.
Humanity’s Child was originally written for one instrument, the piano, and then expanded for a trio, by adding bass and drums. Listeners have claimed having been “moved” by the music as it now stands. If orchestrating Humanity’s Child can indeed “enhance the artistic value and power of the music to move listeners,” and if more listeners are moved to embrace the stated mission of Humanity’s Child, then, we feel the enormous task of actually accomplishing a full orchestration would be worth the time and effort.
There are two ways we can do this: the “Broadway Pit Band” approach or the “Hollywood Movie Orchestra” approach. The Broadway approach is designed to be performed by live musicians in the traditional musical theater “pit band.” This imposes severe limitations on how the orchestration might actually sound because there are limited number of musicians playing a limited number of instruments. The “Hollywood” approach, on the other hand, has virtually no limitations. And so, we might hear 60, 90, 100 or more musicians.
We have chosen to do both. We are currently orchestrating Humanity’s Child for a 12 piece pit band (4 woodwinds, 4 brass, keyboard, piano, bass and drums); and a Hollywood Orchestra (full string section, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, trumpets, trombones, French horns, percussion, timpani, the list goes on!)
Orchestration can be very, very expensive in the doing and in the application. The “doing” involves literally hundreds of hours of work, involving expensive technologies, by one or more highly-skilled individuals. And, the “application” is even more expensive, because of the number of musicians that must be hired every time the orchestration is performed live, or even when recorded. For the purposes of Humanity’s Child, the “doing” is possible, the “application,” as described, is impossible. There is simply no way that The Humanity’s Child Project can afford to hire either a “highly-skilled orchestrator” or the musicians it would take to realize an orchestration.
The good news is that we do have alternatives. We can, to a certain extent, duplicate the performance of many musicians playing traditional instruments with or by one musician playing virtual instruments. In fact, many of the movie soundtracks you hear today were produced not with “real” instruments, but with digital recordings of real instruments played by virtuoso players. This too is very expensive because high-quality virtual instruments do not come cheaply, often in the many thousands of dollars to purchase a virtual sting section or even a solo violin.
Obviously, we cannot afford to purchase these high-end virtual instruments. The good news is, they can also be rented...like a U-Haul Truck, for only as long as it is being used. We can rent all the instruments we need (and more) by paying a monthly fee (aka “rent.”) We can make recordings that we get to keep long after we have stopped renting the instruments. This is way more affordable, usually around $100.00 per month or $1,200.00 per year, not cheap, but affordable.
Virtual Instruments are only half the picture. We also need the tools to use them; computers, software, hardware, mixers, speakers, processors, plug-ins...The list goes on. These things, too, are very expensive to buy, but can be rented as well. We currently use multiple high-end software applications for which we pay a monthly fee. And, we have already purchased and own the other resources we need. These things too are an expense because computers crash, speakers burnout, and protocols change, so technologies must be repaired or replaced...also very expensive.
The Humanity’s Child Project is now some six years in progress. Everything that has come before has been funded solely from the composer’s wallet. Jack and Patricia Tierney have paid for the 2016 Hartford Performances ($36,000.00), the 2019 Off-Broadway Performances ($55,000.00), and the current 2020 Virtual Performances ($ TBD). Their wallet is empty.
We are reaching out to the many folks who have been part of our history, who ostensibly benefitted though personal enjoyment or professional resume building, for support that would allow us to carry on with the mission.
We are establishing a new GoFundMe campaign: The “HUMANITY'S CHILD ORCHESTRATION PROJECT.” We anticipate the on-going project to take approximately a year to complete and will cost, on the average, approximately $300.00 per month to maintain and sustain. Therefore, we are setting goal of $3,600.00 for the year or $300.00 per month.
We hope to encourage donations to our campaign by reminding folks that their donations are 100% Tax-deductible. You get it back! In addition, we also want to encourage donations by offering “thank you gifts,” specifically, print and digital books (eBooks) and cds by HUMANITY'S CHILD composer/playwright John McDonnell Tierney.
PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION IN ANY AMOUNT
- Brooke Maynor-Rayfield
Fundraising team (2)
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