AIDA Keyboard and Percussion Pit Notes

An email received with questions about performing the music for AIDA by Elton John.


I am the pit orchestra director for an upcoming High School prodcution of
Aida.  This is my first experience working with a more contemporary style
pit.  I noticed that you have experience with conductn the show.  I’d
appreciate any help or advice you might have for working with
instrumentation -particularly with regard to the keyboards and percussion.

Continue reading “AIDA Keyboard and Percussion Pit Notes”

Enhancing AIDA Transition Music

Email question received about Elton John AIDA orchestrations:

I wondered if you knew of some great orchestration companies or tracks to enhance  our production of Elton Johns Aida. We have a small venue and could really use some tracks specifically for transtitions.

Any information is helpful. Thanks!

Continue reading “Enhancing AIDA Transition Music”

AIDA – Band and Pit Photos

Here are some pictures of the band and pit from our performance of Elton John’s AIDA at McIntyre Hall (Mount Vernon, WA) in April 2006. Band members please e-mail me your mailing info and I’ll send you the full DVD of band pics. There is also a full DVD of cast and stage pics but I don’t have a copy of that.

This production of AIDA was produced by the Theatre Arts Guild of Skagit County. Directed by Jane Skinner and Produced by Roger Ragusa. This band kicked butt. Thank you all for a fantastic show and incredible music. I’m still hearing compliments about how well you all did. I’ll be sending you all an email shortly about upcoming shows as well.

AIDA Band 2006 – McIntyre Hall
Conductor, Keyboard 1 – Conrad Askland
Drums – David Bridgman
Bass – Peter Bridgman
Percussion – Coulby Styles
Kebyoard 2 – Lisa Temcov
Keyboard 3 – Kelly Siebecke
Oboe/English Horn – Rebecca Wright
Flute – Stephanie Bethea
Guitar 1 – Chris Eger
Guitar 2 – Paul Dutton






































AIDA pit

Kontakt 2 Software featured for Northwest US Premier of Elton John’s AIDA


Kontakt 2 software will be used for the Northwest Premiere of Elton John’s AIDA. Developed by Berlin, Germany based Native Instruments, Kontakt 2 is a virtual synthesizer software application used primarily for high end audio production and sampling.

Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA plot is based loosely on the original opera by VERDI written more than a hundred years ago. Elton John’s updated musical includes a rock score incorporating multiple guitars, percussionists and traditional orchestral instruments.

“We have a pit group of 10 musicians that includes seven keyboards performed by three players”, says musical director Conrad Askland. “Kontakt 2 will be utilized for performance of specialized world percussion, music effects and industrial foley.”

Askland says tech support at Native Instruments has been extremely helpful in assisting with utilizing the software on a laptop for the performances. Sound files used for the production will include sound effects from the Sony Music Library as well as Canada based foley effects provider SOUND IDEAS.

“The production of AIDA takes place in Egypt and calls for very detailed soundscapes during scene changes, dances and interlude music. Even with our small army of pit musicians including a dedicated world percussionist, they are hard pressed to deliver all of the sounds needed for a world class performance. Kontakt 2 will allow us to fill in with detailed samples of world percussion instruments and authentic native performances that would have been cost prohibitive to deliver with real instruments, ” says Askland.

The Northwest premiere of AIDA is produced by the Theatre Arts Guild in Skagit County, Washington and will run at the new McIntyre Hall from March 24th to April 9th, 2006. Ticket and venue information at

AIDA – Pit Musician Rehearsal and Show Schedule

I look forward to working with all of you. Each of you has been hand picked and/or highly recommended to me. All shows will be at McIntyre Hall – visit if you need directions etc. We will have one additional dedicated four hour block with the sound crew, this time is not set yet – I am hoping as many of you as possible can make this time when it is set to help with sound sculpting. Email me for my cell phone number if needed (click “contact” to right of screen for my email address).

All musicians need to bring complete gear, ie: guitar players need to bring amps. McIntyre is not accustomed necessarily to rock shows of this nature, and provide only sound reinforcement.
DRESS – Please wear all black, details are up to you. Stands, chairs and music stand lights will be provided.

MV Pres is Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church – located in Mount Vernon on 15th across from Skagit Valley Hospital.
Thurs 3/02 – 9pm – RHYTHM SECTION ONLY – MV PRES
Sat 3/04 – 10am on…. – All Day – MV PRES
Tue 3/14 – 6-9pm Music – MV PRES
Wed 3/15 – 6-9pm Music with vocalists- Cascade Commons
Sun 3/19 – SOUND CHECK – 4pm-8pm McIntyre Hall
Wed 3/22 – At McIntyre HALL 6pm
Thurs 3/23 At McIntyre – Dress Rehearsal 6pm
Please arrive 45 minutes before downbeat.
3/24 7:30 Friday
3/25 7:30 Sat
3/26 2pm Sun
3/30 7:30pm Thur
3/31 7:30 Fri
4/1 7:30 Sat
4/2 2pm Sun
4/6 – 7:30pm Thur
4/7 7:30 Fri
4/8 7:30 Sat

Askland to Conduct AIDA

Conrad Askland will be conducting AIDA at McIntyre Hall March 24 – April 8, 2006, Mount Vernon, WA.

Aida 2AIDA is the adaptation of Verdi’s original 1871 opera by Sir Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice. Conrad will be in production with the crew starting mid-January 2006. Rumor has it he will also be performing keyboard parts along with the show.

Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA is a contemporary musical take on the grand classic tale of the love between a soldier and an enslaved princess – a love that condemns them to death, but ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between the two warring nations, heralding an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity.

AidaWith a pop-rock score that features stirring ballads and rousing choral numbers, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA is a modern crowd pleaser that embraces multi-cultural casting and exuberant dancing, staging and singing.