If you have children, there's a good chance you've heard of Dinorock productions. They've been amazing kids all around the country since the parents of their current audiences were kids. They do it better than almost anyone, and they have a stack of awards and a Grammy nomination to attest to that. They've also been dear friends of mine for many years.
Michele (the main writer/composer)and Ingrid (the main puppeteer) are the core of the company, and most of their shows require one or more additional singer/player/actors. I've had the pleasure of being that third or fourth person many times over the years, in many versions of nine different shows.Besides some truly amazing puppets, the shows always have great songs.
In 2002 they asked me to do the orchestrations for a new show called "Divertimento in D(inosaur)," to be performed with a full symphony orchestra, featuring songs and puppets that I knew well and loved. We worked on the show, and I worked on the score, over the next two years.
We decided early on to make the orchestra the subject of the show. Each dinosaur had an associated instrument or section, and all the sections got to show off. We had extended intros where orchestra, actors and puppets were in a conversation which built to the song and introduced instruments and musical concepts to children and dinosaurs alike. Great fun!
The show premiered in June of 2004, with the Chesapeake Youth Orchestra. That's them above, with Julien Benichou, conductor and Mama Maiasaura, dinosaur.
MP3's - Here are mp3's of three promotional demos we made: Mamma Maiasaura, whose instrument is the cello, Gallimimus Gal (1st and 2nd violins, for mother and daughter dinosaurs) and Sarah the Saharan Suchomimus (english horn). Everything but the voices is played on the sampler. This was the first time I used the Miroslav Vitous Virtual Orchestra sample library. I use several other libraries now, besides that one, for features that I need. They are all easier to use, but nothing I've seen or heard approaches the Vitous Library for sheer beauty of sound.
There's been talk of doing a video of the show. I don't know when or how, but when it happens I'll be sure to announce it on this site.
When you have some time, you should check out www.dinorock.com, especially if you know a kid who's crazy about dinosaurs.
By the way.... The background image on this page, and most pages on this site, is a graphic manipulation if a page of the score for "Sarah the Saharan Suchomimus." Now you know.