Nate and Erin Mayland have been making a living playing on Broadway in pit orchestras for the past decade. Nate plays jazz and orchestral trombone having toured with the Four Tops, the Temptations, the Platters, and Frankie Valli, as well as performing for over 10 Broadway shows including Beetlejuice.
Erin played violin in many Broadway shows and for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Show with the Rockettes, until she auditioned for this unknown, off-Broadway show called Hamilton, which became her full time job for the past six years.
The two of them have an interesting connection to our Suncoast and performed a masterclass for the music students at the State College of Florida called "The Back Story to Backstage: What Gets You in the Room Where It Happens," stressing the importance of interpersonal skills in the music business industry (plus some "backstage Hamilton" tidbits!).
Their new venture, "Maple and Brass" have helped them reach thousands of young musicians with inspiring stories of the grit and glamour of their musical lives.
Hear Nate and Erin's tale to Broadway and beyond and how they have reimagined their careers since their industry came to a screeching halt in March of 2020.
Come along and join the club!
Support the show (https://scf-foundation.org/suncoastcultureclub/)
Robyn Bell: Every Friday morning, from 11 to 12 in the state college of Florida music program, we hold a class called recital hour. This is a class that all music majors are required to take. It doesn't matter if you're a singer or a pianist or guitarist, or if you play the trombone, violin or kazoo, you have to take this class. In this class, the student musicians learn things such as how to perform, how to walk out on stage, how to bow, how to tune your instrument to the piano, how to overcome a memory slip or a huge clam and a performance. They learn how to also be a good audience member, how to keep the applause going. If you were truly moved by a particular performance. And we have discussions about music, we read articles, we dissect elements of music to encourage deeper thinking, more connection with the music. Sometimes we bring in faculty members from four year universities to talk to our music, students about transferring to their schools. We also give them other experiences such as bringing in guest speakers to introduce other careers in music and the arts, like music therapists, music, administrators. Conductors. And we also bring in experts on particular instruments to hold what we call masterclasses, where one or two of our students will perform and get in essence, a mini private lesson. That's not so private because all the other students are watching. As you can imagine with COVID our ability to bring in guests, to speak to our students or hold masterclasses has proven very difficult, but I'm proud to say we have adjusted well by moving those types of classes to zoom. And I was very intrigued when I received an email at the beginning of this year from Nate and Erin Mayland, who were pitching to me a zoom masterclass. They do called. Becoming musicians, the backstory to backstage. Now, ordinarily I may have just skipped this email, press the delete button and moved on, but something about this topic really intrigued me , and as I began reading further, I discovered that Nate is a trombonist who's played in over 10 Broadway show, pit orchestras, including beetle juice. And Erin is a violinist and a violist who has played in the pit orchestra for. Hamilton on Broadway since its inception before it was even on Broadway. In fact, if you saw Hamilton on Disney plus during the pandemic, you heard her performing as she was the concert master there in that recording. Well, that was a no-brainer for me. I hit reply and typed. How do we get the two of you to talk to our music students at the state college of Florida, about the importance of interpersonal skills as a musician, how to launch a successful career in this business. And what's it like backstage at Haledon. Now I'm not going to read you their bios because I want them to tell us their story. They just finished talking for a solid hour tour, STF music students. So now they've had a chance to rest their voices with me doing all the talking. Let me introduce you to Nate and Erin Mayland Broadway pit orchestra musicians who have re-imagined their careers during COVID and who have so much to share with the world, Nate and Ern. Welcome to the show.
Nate Mayland: Thank you.
Erin Mayland: Thank you so much, Robyn. Thanks for having us.
Robyn Bell: How's your vocal chords feeling now.
Erin Mayland: Oh, well, I don't usually talk this much during quarantine, so it's an adventure.
Robyn Bell: , you have a two-year-old. So you're probably hollering all the time.
Erin Mayland: Oh, yeah. Well, she's hollering all the time. Let's be clear.
Robyn Bell: what's her name?
Erin Mayland: Stella.
Robyn Bell: by Starlight.
Erin Mayland: That's right.
Robyn Bell: So Erin ladies first, give us a brief rundown of how you got started playing the violin. When did you have that? I have to make music every day bug that hits you. And where did you go for training and how'd you end up playing in the pit orchestra for Hamilton for the past six years.
Erin Mayland: gosh, let's see. So I started playing violin when I was seven. I had begged for a violin for about a year, I think, solely because I'd seen other kids playing and I thought they were super cool. So I finally got a violin and I just fell in love with it. pretty much right away. I think maybe it already kind of been in love with it for a year by that point.
Robyn Bell: Isn't it amazing how peer pressure does fuels some of this music as like an early childhood. We talk about this a lot. Yeah.
Erin Mayland: Oh, absolutely. And you know, cause actually, so I started and I loved it, but what really kept me with it was , all my closest friends were in music. Actually. This is a connection to Sarasota. , one of my earliest friends was Jennifer Best. Who is the, I think assistant concert master of Sarasota orchestra. I've known her since I was. Eight or nine or something. So she was in my group. And in fact, we even went to the North Carolina school of the arts together for high school and college.
Robyn Bell: Jennifer Best is married to Chris Takeda. So to Jennifer Best Takeda, , and they both play in the Sarasota orchestra. And Jennifer actually, when I first came to work here was one of our violin teachers for a couple of years. Schedule got real crazy for the Sarasota orchestra, but yeah, it was great working with her. So how about,
Erin Mayland: yeah. Yeah. And actually I discovered another one. I was looking at, Sarasota Orchestra, and then he also, I know and realized, that Jeffrey Kahane is the artistic director and he was my conductor for five, six, seven, eight years. , one of my jobs in San Francisco was with the Santa Rosa symphony. I was actually the assistant concert master of that orchestra and he was my conductor for a long time. So I worked with him for years.
Robyn Bell: So what's happened here. Jeffrey Kahane, has been the artistic director for the Sarasota music festival, which is a summer three week festival and the Sarasota orchestra, Anu Tali was their conductor and she left. And so they have been in the middle of a two year search for new conductor. And the pandemic hit. And so they were not able to finish the search. They had all these conductors coming in. Right guess conducting, and we're going to make a decision. And so Jeffrey, thank goodness. He put together this what we call a re-imagined season. So yeah, very interesting there. Cool,
Erin Mayland: anyway, that was just a little side. So , I fell in love with violin and I wound up going for high school at the North Carolina school of the arts, which. Loved. It just, it's such a jewel to me, that school I love being around all the different art forms. I think that's like a prequel into how I wound up on Broadway is because I love being around more than just the musicians. I like being around actors and stage hands. And I just think that's very exciting. And I want to transferring to the San Francisco conservatory and after I graduated I actually studied psychology for quite a while. But music had its pull on me and I actually left psychology behind in the end. , I'm glad I did it. I think it's informed a lot of my life in a good way, but I did wind up winning positions with regional orchestra in Northern California. That's how I know Africa Hayne. And I was really lucky when I got on the list to start playing , the touring Broadway shows as they come through. My first chair was with ill-fated show called Lestat, which no one knows of outside of San Francisco or New York, but it did make it to Broadway, I think very briefly. And it's like a running joke, unfortunately, about the ill fate of Lestat, but I really loved it. And through those connections, I wound up moving to New York. Actually 10 years ago this month, barely knowing anybody. I quit all my jobs and my career in California and just sort of made the leap. I look back and think, wow, , I don't know what came over me, but I did it. And those connections obviously gave me a leg up into kind of the New York scene. My first gig was actually subbing on a show called American idiot, which I had done in Berkeley, California. It's the green day show for anyone who's stays up on green day. It was actually really fun, so I did that in the other thing that really kind of got me where I am now is I was. Very lucky to have found an audition coach in San Francisco who, when I saw there was an audition for the radio city, Christmas spectacular said, well, sure. I'll listen to that. Even though she normally does orchestral excerpts and such, and , credit her with helping me win that audition right away when I got to town , that in the kind of previous Broadway connection, I think is why I wound up at Hamilton in terms of musical experience.
Robyn Bell: Now, when you saw , there was a call for musicians and auditions. You had to take it. Do you have any idea what you were getting into
Erin Mayland: Oh, gosh, no, no. I mean, I'm sorry. I'm laughing. It's because that show is it's so sets the Rockettes show for anyone who does it. No, the official title, radio city, Christmas spectacular. And they do at the height of the Christmas season, not during COVID, but in general, it's like 32 shows a week. , there's up to six shows a day, as a musician, you do half of them. Actually the dancers do have two, we're all split into kind of two casts, but 16 shows a week is formidable and it's a hard tax thing. , it's an hour and a half, but. You work so hard. So no, I did not know what I was getting into. And that's a click track show of course, to very much like a very intense click track. So no, I did not know what I was getting myself into, but I'm super grateful for it because there's so many shows, a lot of people will come through and sub, and it was such an introduction to , that particular music world in New York city. And that's how I started subbing on Broadway and eventually sort of. Wound up landing chairs, which led to Hamilton eventually.
Robyn Bell: Now the definitions for general public listening audience chair is like a permanent position where at a sub is you just get called in or someone is sick or something like that. So when you say I want a chair. You don't actually get a piece of equipment to put in your home like a chair. No, that means you have a chair in that orchestra and you have a contract to work as many of those shows as you're contracted for.
Erin Mayland: That's right. It means you're basically the full-time employee for that show. Or orchestra. I think that's how we call it. If you were to win a position with Sarasota orchestra, you might say, I want to chair a Sarasota orchestra. So you're the full-time chair holder, I guess the better way of putting it.
Robyn Bell: And once you got that full-time gig at Hamilton, , was that kind of, , do I still have time to do other things or you were just Hamilton all the time.
Erin Mayland: Well, so the current contract for this is a union job is technically it's musicians. You only have to be there. Like 51% of the time or something, you don't get benefits if you only play that little unless you're doing a ton of other union work, but , I do mostly play Hamilton. I tend to average like , six, seven, eight shows a week. But you are allowed to go do other things and play other music. And I think actually it's really important to do that. , I. Completely agree with so many people that Hamilton is a complete work of art. It's genius scoring it's. So well-written for the instruments. Like I think for all of us, it's just Alex lock more. Just, I, he nailed it. What can you say? He nailed it.
Robyn Bell: Now, Nate, Mr. Low brass, man. I bet you and I have some very similar experiences. Is your story sort of the typical it was in high school band or the public schools? I was a band geek. I was on the loading crew. I played Louie Louie on a Friday night. And then all of a sudden you're in New York city.
Tell us about your path to Broadway in the jazz clubs in New York city.
Nate Mayland: I was thinking about that while Erin was talking a little bit about how she loved violin and it was jealous of her friends or emulating your friends. But I know when I was started on piano, the only other piano player I knew was my sister. Who's three years older than I am. And she was ended up being a flute player throughout high school. My parents listened to a lot of music, but neither of them are performers by any means. My dad is a math professor and a computer programmer. And my mom was a public school teacher and raised the family. So I didn't have a lot of like performers to emulate in my life growing up, but I love listening to music. I love tinkering with computers and I loved building like a little recording studio out of a boom box and a little to octave keyboard. From the time I was like 12 years old, I was always into recording and the technical aspects of music. But I love jazz. I love the jazz records. My dad listened to and he would stop in Carl Fischer music store in Chicago, which is not there anymore, but there was this massive six story building with file cabinet after file cabinet of sheet music. So he would stop there and bring home like a JJ Johnson transcription and book when I was in high school. So I had this really cool introduction to trombone
Robyn Bell: , and we should say Erin from North Carolina, but you are from the big windy city, Chicago.
Nate Mayland: So right now the real field in New York is six. It's really cool. We're in New Jersey actually, but it's six degrees outside. And that reminds me a little bit of being in Chicago to go outside and your nose would freeze solid and your ears would freeze solid. It's just, it's chilly, but , I love Chicago. There's a great music scene in Chicago. My dad would take me downtown once in a while. We'd go see JJ Johnson play or Clark Terry. A good friend of mine's father took us downtown to see the real blues clubs to see blues musicians play, which to this day I've never heard such great blues before. Is this unbelievably cool?
Robyn Bell: , maybe your home training. Wasn't so much the Chicago symphony and all of that. It was more of , the commercial pop music, jazz stuff from Chicago, right.
Nate Mayland: a little bit of both. That's why I think I ended up on this track of doing classical and jazz. When I was in high school for some reason I wanted to change teachers. I had a teacher, I was taking from my freshman year of high school and he left. So I needed a trombone teacher. So my mom looked in the Chicago Tribune, won ads to see if we could find a music teacher for me. And so she saw someone named Mr. Kleinhammer. So , he said he played with the Chicago symphony. She said, okay, well, , let's give him a massage. So she gave him a call and he's, you know, he's like 82 years old at the time. This isn't in the early nineties. And we talked for a while. He said, well, well, yes, I played with the Chicago symphony for 53 years and she says, okay
Robyn Bell: But are you any good?
Nate Mayland: You teach private lessons. And he says, well, I teach college students and professionals. And somehow my mom convinced him to come to our house and teach me a lesson. So he came to our house and it ended up being about a three-hour lesson. And I was 15 years old and I didn't know who he was. I didn't understand the significance of being in that section with Arnold Jacobs and Bud Herseth and Ed Kleinhammer. All I remember from this first lesson is he talks so much about breathing and musicality. He didn't talk about technique at all. He said, I'm not going to teach you technique. I'm going to teach you how to breathe. And I'm a teacher how to make music. Let's do things. He said, if you want technique, it'll come when you need it. .
Robyn Bell: What great advice. If you need technique, it will come when you need it. I
Nate Mayland: It was always about breathing. He, physically taught me how to breathe. He would put us like, this is the 90th. So he could, he put his hands down by side and say like, all right. So when you take a breath, your torso is a balloon. Like, have it expand 360 degrees and he would talk like, Kind of endless metaphors about sound. It's really, fascinating. So he said, call me when you're ready for your next lesson. And I think I waited six months for my next lesson because I was so scared to call him back. And then I ended up having, I think, five or six lessons over the course of three years. So that was my only instruction in high school. I think I had five or six lessons, but it was with Ed Kleinhammer So he, wrote out, , Bolero for me by hand. , by my senior year, I had grown so much respect for him. I understood more about the symphonic world. And so I went to IU to study orchestra, trombone, plane.
Robyn Bell: Bernstein coming to my house when I was 15 and saying here's how to hold a Baton and here. Yeah.
Nate Mayland: Looking back. It was absurd. So I still do his breathing exercises when I practice. And he, never talks jazz with me. , that was on my own. I was always curious about improvising and playing through these transcription books. My dad brought home, so you studied classical music, played in jazz bands under David Baker. Made a lot of friends there who I still know in New York here or there. So then the long story short is I graduated from IU and went and worked on a cruise ship for a year. And then I went to New Hampshire and worked in a hotel. Playing like cocktail, jazz for nine months. And it was beautiful. I got to see New Hampshire in the fall. It's a great experience playing music. And then I moved to New York and didn't know any anybody, and didn't have a place to live. And I had a really slow start. Like I said, I worked all these odd jobs, worked carpentry from Martha Stewart magazine, which was, I was.
Robyn Bell: when she was in jail,
Nate Mayland: No, but I got, I went to go see the meeting where she handed the company over to her COO and I went off to prison. I was there for the, I snuck into the meeting and watched her speech. I'll tell you, I don't want to sidetrack, but she is awesome. She was, great to work for. I met her at once. The day I got hired there and didn't see her again for six months and she remembered my name. She was wow. Really? And she is super quick, super smart. During the day I had to be there at eight 15 in the morning, I would bring my suit and my trombone with me I'd paint all day. Mostly I was painting sets for her magazine and making fake living rooms, then at night I would take my trombone and I would go to the jazz clubs, like swing 46 which is probably sadly closing along with a lot of the other clubs in New York. And I would play a big band music at night from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Get home at one, get up again at six and go out and work at Martha Stewart. It was really exhausting. But I learned some carpentry, which was great. I bought my daughter a swing set. But again, at this time I was just learning and I was playing gigs that weren't the best bands. And I was traveling really far on the subway. It's like an hour to these gigs, but I was, always looking to see who I could learn from right around that time. It was 2002, a friend of my sisters who also went to Indiana university called me and asked me if I wanted to go to Miami for a gig, with the four tops to play with the horn section. And that started basically a seven or eight year run of touring with the horn section, the play at four tops, the temptations, the spinners, the platters, a lot of these Motown gigs, but mostly the four tops.
Robyn Bell: So you've probably played then at our van ways or the big purple palace on the Bay. Yeah.
Nate Mayland: I have. And that horn section also tour to Frankie Valli for. I did about seven or eight years of that. So that's kind of where I learned how to play with a horn section. I got to play with fantastically trumpet players, like Roger Ingram, Dave Trig, a great friend of mine, Kenny lavender, who was in the Broadway scene. He lives in Texas, but I learned how to listen, how to listen to a lead trumpet player and blend and make the trombone sound that has to be right for
Robyn Bell: Yeah, really cool. So then somewhere along the way, your two paths cross you met, you fell in love, you married, you have a kid. How'd you meet?
Erin Mayland: Well, actually backstage at a Broadway show we met at Matilda, which by the way, such a great show. It's not just for kids. It's such a sweet show. So we met back there. And I thought, is that guy following me? And yeah, he kind of was, but in a nice way. So
Nate Mayland: yes, I was following you. We met backstage and would tell her we talked for about 10 minutes.
Robyn Bell: Now were you both performing in Matilda or there to auggie you were in the orchestra? So it's just kind of by chance that you both got called in on that particular night to sob.
Erin Mayland: Yeah.
Nate Mayland: I had seen her before I recognized her and Matilda. The bras were at a separate room, separated by plexiglass. So the string players, the other room. So I just saw her walk in. I said, Hey, there's that girl? I remember her. We got to talk backstage for a few minutes, an intermission.
Robyn Bell: , let me stop you there because a lot of people don't understand this. And as I said, you guys just gave a talk to our SEF music students and explain this. And , I was floored because not in the, , seen in New York city. I had no idea that oftentimes they take the pit orchestra musicians and , you can be in a completely different, not just room. Or floor of a building, but a whole different building. And through the use of technology, they have click tracks and you just play your part and the sound goes to the audience.
Erin Mayland: Oh, yeah, definitely. , I'm thinking about kinky boots. The drummer was way up in one of the towers, , on another floor. And actually I think the Tony awards, at least one year,
Nate Mayland: several years,
Erin Mayland: several years, the orchestra was at a recording studio playing live. But it was being held somewhere else. Yeah.
Nate Mayland: I realize a lot of technology.
Erin Mayland: Yeah. And , even San Francisco, the theaters are newer. And certainly other parts of the country that theaters are so much Norman in New York, they're just tiny. They weren't built for these huge production. So the backstage are so small, the pits are so cramped. There's no other way to do it.
Robyn Bell: Okay. But in what we're going to talk about, COVID in a little bit, but it makes me think that even in COVID. You could continue to put these orchestras together with everybody at their own little
Nate Mayland: There are talking about that. I think there is big groups of people who are talking about how to come back and the way we're going to come back.
Robyn Bell: Right. Yeah. Well, we'll do going to talk about that a little bit more, but I don't know. That was just running through my head that you already are separated. Like at this particular Matilda show where you met the bras were in a room and the strings were in a room. And so Nate, you follow her out, you go, Hey, let's go get coffee or cocktails. And all of a sudden you're, both living in New York city , on the Broadway scene. It had to be. Two ships passing in the night, as they say, I'm sure it was just insane.
Erin Mayland: Yeah,
Nate Mayland: it's true. Actually the next time. Yeah. We didn't see each other for like a month. And a few days after we talked, we got an email from someone to do a recording session and I saw her name on the list and I said, Oh, that's the girl I just talked to and we've barely talked. And then this recording session came up and it was a week long recording session for the sound of music on NBC. And we did the, of that went to the next year.
Erin Mayland: Peter pan lives.
Robyn Bell: Oh, , you did the orchestra for the Peter pan live. do you like these live musicals where you perform and they broadcast it?
Nate Mayland: Yes.
Erin Mayland: Yes.
Nate Mayland: It was an amazing experience. It was a , huge orchestra. Well,
Erin Mayland: was going to say, actually, , that sounded musical. I, Peter pan live we did not perform that live. . The music was prerecorded.
Nate Mayland: Yeah.
Erin Mayland: Actually Hamilton movie, we recorded live in the pit. That was not actually that amazing way. They filmed that.
Robyn Bell: Yeah, I do. , I have said for years that if I could move to New York city and conduct musicals on Broadway, I would be content to live like in a box, under a bridge. But in Erin you and I were talking the other day and you warned me, you said, you know, we have a conductor. But the way that we actually do the music is there's this click track. And to my surprise, and as a conductor who, you know, thinks I'm in control of everything I was super surprised to learn that it's the percussion section that kicks off with a click track. So I'm interested. Yeah. Do tell us the story . And how, you create that music with the click track. And then how, because if we've seen the show you know, the movie version on Disney plus and how that is not a recorded thing and all about, I'm interested to know how all that came about.
Erin Mayland: Sure. Yeah. Well, I think who triggers the click track varies depending on show, to show so much at Hamilton, I mean the conductor don't worry is completely necessary. Yes. Yes. Completely necessary. Very busy. But yeah, at Hamilton, I actually don't know the percentage it's I think that the conductor does trigger some of the clicks. But I know that the percussionist triggers the vast majority, and I think there's something like over a hundred times, the click track gets triggered. And I don't know why it's in the percussion, except that probably he's got the stuff ready to go. And the conductors too busy, maybe even playing piano and conducting the singers and stuff. So The click track. Yes. Triggered a lot. And actually it also triggers, most of the sound effects and all of that. But in Hamilton things that sound, but they might be looped or Prerecorded that suddenly to have like sound effects. Almost none of them are almost all of the member programming performed live, including all the little tiny percussive things you hear that sound impossible are actually being done live. And there are a couple of exceptions. Like there's a horse Winnie, obviously we're not doing that. And no one's making that sound, but most of it is live way we did the movie that was actually filmed. On a Sunday matinee and a Tuesday night show live with an audience. And then the Monday in between, they did not fixes, there were no fixes ever done. They just wanted to get, there were certain shots. They couldn't get with an audience there. So we would do those shots on Monday. And that was a long day of recording. Maybe. I don't know, 12 hours a day or something maybe longer. But yeah, , that was a recorded live in the theater experience, but that's also a real Testament to our sound designers because they created a sound in a theater and also in the pit. That is so good that it's. Can go on something permanent, like a movie and they recorded it in Dolby. It was mint. Or maybe it is going to go in theaters. I don't know. , it was really recorded at that level. So
Robyn Bell: Originally it was going to be released, , in a big theater, but due to the pandemic, they release it on Disney plus. Now where we always experience it, we talked to our students here about when we are rehearsing to an empty hall, we have about an 830 seats. All here. I tell them when their place is full and we have seven or 800 people here, your sound is going to be different. So that's amazing to me that they could record two live shows and then record an empty hall.
Erin Mayland: I didn't even think about that, actually that aspect of it,
Nate Mayland: , the orchestra was in the pit for both of them. So remember the orchestra has almost completely covered. So there, physical, Location didn't change
Robyn Bell: Yeah, but the bodies in the theater absorbed
so much sound, you know, that's what kind of changes that.
Erin Mayland: Well, you know, I know that it could be just the way they might, I mean, certainly for the orchestra, but they make us has nothing. I don't think that gets affected for us, but certainly the overall sound, I think it must all go through with these computers and it's. Yeah.
Nate Mayland: Do you guys use your normal show mix for that?
Erin Mayland: If I remember correctly, we didn't have anything changed. We played our show when we always play it. Although I talk more with can still the conductor then. It was like, okay, don't, mess up. Cause we're not doing any fixes. So the pressure was not actually a funny story is I'm not gonna say who I had a big, very exposed solo just the instrument and then just voice with that instrument. And it's a very hard solo and big flub Sunday. I mean, we're talking big flub and that was not going to be done on Monday. There was no time to put it in. So Tuesday rolls around and it was like, You gotta do it now. So I sit very close to this person. I will never forget the mood in the pit at that moment. There's still so much riding on it, but it went perfectly. You would never know. Yeah,
Nate Mayland: a person has a story to, they survived that moment.
Erin Mayland: They still tell that story. They laugh so hard, but I mean, they, I think there's, I wouldn't say traumatized by it, but
Robyn Bell: Well, I have seen Hamilton live in Chicago. I never got to see New York just because it was so cost prohibitive, but knowing and talking with you guys and realizing, because I, of course, I think it's going to be expensive. You have to pay all the musicians and you have to rent the hall and, you know, but when you think about now the technological demands to make something like that happen, then that for me financially really does say how much it. Costs to produce a musical eight times a week. It's truly tremendous. , now they , do you ever, is there there's a trombone part in Hamilton? Do you ever get called to so there's no trombone party. You never get called,
Nate Mayland: This. Look on my part. , I've offered to turn pages. That's been turned down and I've offered to learn violin from my wife, knowing that the show might run for 10 years. I thought at 10 years, I might be able to play well enough to sub for her, but she,
Robyn Bell: Maybe, you could play King George though. You could learn the Beatles tune.
Nope. Well, that's too bad. . Maybe one day they'll go back and do a rewrite and put a trombone part. So when we come back, Nate and Erin are going to talk to us about life after March, 2020 and where they see the future of our industry of live music. Back after this break,
welcome back to the Suncoast culture club. Where today I am visiting with Nate and Erin Mayland They are Broadway musicians. Nate has played for over 10 shows on Broadway, including beetle juice, a great show. And Erin has really found a home at a. Hamilton in the pit orchestra. Well, it's kind of a career job. So we're very excited to have you guys with us today, but March, 2020 comes along and your world comes to a screeching halt. Now, Nate, on your website, you have a very moving blog post that reads, I miss music. I miss musicians. I miss the casts, the wardrobe department, the stage hands, the electricians, the ushers, the stage managers, conductor cameras. Black close click tracks, the jokes, the conversations, the doorman rehearsals, emails, texts, mute drops, clams, the totally on parallel thrill of a great gig where everyone plays great. And someone still manages to steal the show. I missed the tourists in times square the subway, the turnstile, the smells. The billboards in times square, the lower East side, the restaurants central park, slicing through a crowd of tourists with an instrumental, I back , I've spent 26 years studying trombone professionally. I doubt I've missed 26 days of practice. In that time. I haven't lost my job. We haven't lost our jobs. We have lost our careers. We have lost our industry guys. What have you been doing the past almost year now. And are you seeing live music comeback at all in New York city?
Yeah. , I wanted to read it because I read it in, had touched me and I said, we need to hear this. What a great poem really.
Nate Mayland: wrote that in about two minutes. One morning. When we got word from our producers, that probably would be postponed another six months. Maybe it was three months. It didn't, it didn't matter. It was sister the awareness that things were so unpredictable and things were so far gone from what we knew three months before. Sorry. , I think we don't know what the future of Broadway is. I think right now it's, it's hard to say when it's going to come back, we hear rumors that some of the big shows are going to come back this fall. . We just, we don't know. , I wish I had an answer that there's a date. There are a lot of people in the Broadway community, producers, conductors directors, contractors, the union, the mayor. The CDC are all talking together about how to get 1500 people into a theater. And in my mind, it's the people on stage? Also the people backstage to protect. I if people want to come see the show without a vaccine, that's kind of, , their business. But that's not the official word, but for me, it's like, do you protect all the people who were in the theater for eight shows a week who are exposed, , to 60,000 people a month or something like that. So that's a little scary, but I've done recording sessions from my basement. Now I recorded a jazz album over the summer with the group I'm in. A jazz trombone quartet with rhythm section led by a friend named Jennifer Wharton. Who's a fantastic bass trombone player. . I played the show King Kong with her a couple of years ago. And her husband is Internationally renowned jazz trombone player. John fed Chuck and the other trombone player in the group was Alan Ferber. Who's now scoring Hollywood films. And the name of the group is bone gallium, which refers to the experience you have in your ears. Listening to four jazz trombones. So this, summer Jenner for Wharton received a grant to record , the second album for the group. And I recorded in my basement, which is a real challenge. The rest of the group recorded in the studio. And I decided I didn't want to risk my family's health or my in-laws health. So I, have a whisper room in my basement and , a nice microphone. I borrowed from a great trumpet player in New York city. So I recorded my parts by myself, listening to their stems from the recording studio. So there are ways like that that music is still happening. I've done. Jingle recording sessions in my basement to record her for a video game last week, Erin and I are both teaching private lessons. Erin's going to tell you more about this in a second, but one of the things we did after we sat at home for a few months is to say, what are we going to do for our future? What are we going to do for music? And we, thought, and we thought, and. I think I'm going to let Erin tell you the story in a second. But , we started a company for collecting all of our teaching recording studio. And this masterclass in the company is called maple and brass, which reflects what's our instruments are literally made out of, but it's also the joint effort of trying to describe what it takes to succeed in music, which is this great parallel of interpersonal skills and musical skills. But to answer your question, like there are outdoor concerts happening. The mayor of New York city just launched an effort to have small concerts outside so people can see live music again, and feel the hope that comes along with socialization and communication. And, you know, music is all about listening and interacting and musicians I know are just having a hard time. You've lost , how you define yourself. I mean, I mean, like in my post there, right? For decades of my adult life, I defined myself as a musician. I defined myself by how well I played trombone that day. And there was shock not to have that definition defined by reactions from other people. If I go play a concert or I go play a show and someone says, Hey, Nate, you sound great today. , my definition of myself improves. And without that constant. Interaction with other musicians. Like , you're
Robyn Bell: Yeah. , music for all of us, , it's the love of our life. And if someone takes it away like that, , it is a loss that we feel as if
Nate Mayland: Yeah. That's challenging.
Robyn Bell: Let me ask you this, ? How are you doing your private lessons? Is it through zoom lessons? Yeah. So Erin how does that happen for you? Are you satisfied with the ability to do a zoom lesson? Not being able to really see
Erin Mayland: I've actually found the zoom lessons to be better than I thought they were going to be. Yeah, that's actually been surprising. I mean, I think there's things that I can't do that I would like to do, you know, in person. , obviously, and there's some things with sound quality that can be harder to decipher, even just things like dynamics can be harder to decipher what's happening. But I've been surprised actually that some things really do work. Okay. And actually one of the really fun things is I wound up teaching students who live a thousand miles away that I would've never met if it were not for this time. And. That's been really great for me. And I think especially feeling so we've been very, very isolated sort of partially by circumstance because of what's happened to our career, but also partially by choice, just we decided to, that was kind of the way we're doing it. So I think just teaching zoom lessons and that one-on-one, and, , actually doing these kinds of magic classes we did today and, , getting to meet you and seeing you wouldn't hear from your students, we got to see them. And like just seeing all these faces has been. The best part is really
Robyn Bell: We have a fellow that lives here in town. His name is Steve origin. He was nominated for a Tony for his orchestration of Jersey boys. And he and I did a podcast interview very early on West star, my podcast. And one of the things I hadn't thought about, and I know. I know you guys have, cause you're in the business, but he says, you know, you can't go, all right, everybody's vaccinated. We're going to open up Hamilton tomorrow. You have to recast. You have to start rehearsals again. , it could be all of these shows that we know are almost re-imagined, but that in itself is going to take months before an actual show goes to the stage. Right? You, you guys talk about that? I'm sure.
Erin Mayland: I haven't heard the specifics. The last I heard from our main producer at Hamilton is that everyone's staying the same, but we're not recasting that. I mean, maybe something will change. Maybe someone will choose to do something different. I don't know. But that, , we're a unit we're saying they've been extremely kind through this, just. Both personally supportive. For the Broadway, , there's a weekly check-in if you want to participate. They've actually been paying our musicians, health benefits through it, which not all shows can afford that. So I do feel like Hamilton. The only thing they said about the rehearsal processes that obviously we're going to be going back into rehearsals. , they haven't told us any details how long it will be . But, you know, when we learn the show as a band, we had, we had it compared to other shows, pretty extended period, but it was really, we did it in a couple of weeks, you know, so
Robyn Bell: Right. Yeah. Somebody said, well, you know, if there's a show with a kid in it, and now they're a whole year and a half older and you know, you gotta recast that. And, but like you said, there's a lot of people that have said I got to find a different career. I can't sustain this. And so we'll try to put all that back together. Now I have to recast this. Singer actor, musician. So I know that I know it's going to come back. Can't wait for it to happen. Nobody can obviously put a target on it. But when it does I'm really the first person to buy a ticket to New York city to come. Nate, I'll come hear your show first, wherever you're in. I don't want you to feel left out because you don't, there's no trombone part in Hamilton. Yep. out a small loan and buy a ticket to him. Yeah, wouldn't it be? Well, let's say because that's my next thing because Paula people go travel there. They vacation there. They have their favorite spots, but really the people that live there know where to go. So here I am. I've landed at JFK. I've got my bags, Nate and Erin You picked me up the airport where we go for lunch,
Erin Mayland: Oh, well, actually my favorite thing to do in New York period is to pick a neighborhood and walk and go into all the little places and get a little, little bit here a little bit there you get to know the neighborhood because not all the holes in the walls. Yes. , in fact, just thinking about it just makes me feel really emotional. Cause I haven't thought about this in such a long time, but that's such a New York thing you can do , I don't know what it's gonna be like after COVID, but you know,
Robyn Bell: It's interesting. You said that because Linda and I went to New York city on our, honeymoon. And that is exactly what we did. We both knew the town separately, but we had never been there together. And we picked a different part of town every day and spend all day there. Usually we would take either, , Uber or something to that place, but then we always walked all the way back to the hotel, which was by Carnegie hall. And it was a great way to really see the city. You felt like everyday you were a new Yorker.
Erin Mayland: Yeah, you got to get out on foot in New York. think it's great to take subways and see from cars too, but
Robyn Bell: , so anywhere to eat would be wherever you are at that time, that's a local place, but let's say the two of you were going to spend a day in New York city as like a date , night, . What, would you go into.
Nate Mayland: I still like the first place we went to eat it.
Erin Mayland: Yeah.
Nate Mayland: Remember that was called
Erin Mayland: Hungary.
Nate Mayland: Hungary is a Thai food.
Erin Mayland: It was Korean vegan, Korean food in K town. It was incredible.
Nate Mayland: , she had a rehearsal at radio city in the afternoon. I met her at the stage door and we walked from radio city down to , hung out, which is in K-Town, which is like 23rd street or something like that.
Erin Mayland: It's in the thirties.
Nate Mayland: So , we walked 20 blocks down fifth Avenue, which was fun. And we got there. You take your shoes off. You sit at a floor level table and we talked and talked and talked. The food is fantastic.
Erin Mayland: Yeah.
Nate Mayland: But we closed the place down, so I would definitely go back there again, but I do have a favorite pizza place, which is on 46th street called Patsy's pizzeria. It's fantastic pizza. It's right across from the stage door of Hamilton. It's easy to find. . There's no tables. You walk in, you grab a slice. It's reliably, some of the best beats I've ever had. I grew up in Chicago. , I'm not going to get into the debate of Chicago versus New York pizza. This is just , straight up. Good pizza.
Robyn Bell: Very good. Now, Erin you can appreciate this, but as a woman conductor, you know, people are looking at. My back side for two hours at a time. So Nate, I don't eat pizza, but thank you.
Nate Mayland: Fair enough. My second vote for pizza is a place called two boots pizza. Which is unfortunately closed, but they had vegan pizza, which was also awesome.
Robyn Bell: What about activities? You hang out at central park. Do you go to the empire state building? What's your favorite thing to do there? No, he shakes his head. No.
Erin Mayland: Oh yeah. Well definitely central park. A hundred percent. No, that's. Classic New York thing. And if you're there in the summer to go try to get tickets to Shakespeare in the park, which I've never done, but that's on my bucket list. But actually my number one recommendation in New York is to go to the tenement museum in the lower East side. , now these are like multimillion dollar apartment buildings. I came in imagined a bunch of building costs, but , so many people can trace their history through Ellis Island. And some of the people ended up living in that area of New York in pretty horrific conditions. And what they did was they bought these two buildings and they do tours through them , I think the exhibits changed, but you really see how people lived and, , especially if you have any, , ancestry that relates to. immigration, which I guess technically all of us do at some point pretty much most of us. , I think just tells the story of New York in such an incredible way. And I, understand I have online tours right now,
Robyn Bell: Yeah, well, now I have something to look forward to when I, go there, we'll, hang out. You'll take me to your favorite museum, central park, maybe the Tavern on the green there.
Erin Mayland: Oh, my gosh. I'm starting to feel like adrenaline excitement about this whole prospect. We're going to take Robin out.
Robyn Bell: you might not survive that event. We have another real unique connection here between Sarasota in New York city with a young man he's on. Maybe he's not so young anymore. A trumpet player, Nate. I'm not sure if you ever have come across Brandon. Reitenauer
Nate Mayland: Yeah, I know Brandon,
Robyn Bell: all. Alright. So Brandon's parents live here in Sarasota. His dad rich is kind of a pops Victor board kind of piano player. And he's done two shows with me with the pops orchestra and his mom, Stacy. She just retired as the development director for the Sarasota opera and they live in the neighborhood across the street from me. , and I've talked with Brandon on the phone several times that I watch all of his YouTube stuff, but we will have to fold him in here. This would be in a lot of fun. He's a really cool guy. , like the youngest member ever with the Canadian brass. Yeah. And, our trumpet teacher here at the colleges, Aaron rom, whose dad is Ronnie rom. And they all live here as well. Yeah. There's a lot of connections. So here's where I'm going with this. If something happens and you have a weekend off at Hamilton or wherever you're playing, with my pops orchestra. And we do some solo violin trombone stuff. And
Erin Mayland: Awesome.
Robyn Bell: It's gonna happen. All right guys, I'm glad we kind of came out of little sadness here. Cause it's gonna all be positive from here to the end. We've reached our rapid fire part. This is my favorite part. You don't know the questions ahead of time you don't know the answers, but that is not an answer. You have to give an answer. So here we go.
Erin Mayland: I don't even know what teams are. I don't know. just going to be like that.
Nate Mayland: Yeah,
Erin Mayland: I'll go with that. Just for the sake of, you know,
Nate Mayland: I have a horrible reason for me to jet span those cause Brett Farve came from Wisconsin. I was a Packers fan, so I actually had a jets, Farve Jersey that I wore in times square one. So I got yelled at.
Robyn Bell: Oh, I bet. , I went to the university of Tennessee and I was there with Peyton Manning. So, you know, I followed the Manning's career. So I was a giants fan when Eli was there, I hated how all that went down. But I am a little jealous that we have our Tampa Bay stuff going on here. And, you know, the rays were in the world series. The the Tampa Bay lightning won the Stanley cup this year. And now here, we're about to be in the super bowl with Tom Brady. So it's a great time to be in the Tampa region right now.
Erin Mayland: a shocking thing. Was Tom Brady thing. It's unbelievable.
Robyn Bell: I know, I know cheapest ticket, to the super bowl. Erin are you ready?
Erin Mayland: Ready?
Robyn Bell: $12,766 for the top seat in the last row. Yeah, I know. . I'm not going okay. would've been a horrible football player. I do maybe. Yeah.
Erin Mayland: Battery park actually only recently, because I've totally been nerding out on your history during this quarantine plus few months. So
Robyn Bell: really cool. Nate has answered this question first story.
Nate Mayland: wow. What's that story is the reason I went into music, so I got it.
Robyn Bell: There you go.
Nate Mayland: that sort of, which one's better. I'm not going to say, but if I have to answer , that question out of context, I'll say West side story parts are hard.
Robyn Bell: Yeah. yeah.
Nate Mayland: Yeah, totally.
Robyn Bell: would your answer be? Hamilton, Erin I hear
Erin Mayland: That's tough. That's really tough.
Robyn Bell: formerly Avery Fisher hall.
Erin Mayland: Carnegie hall. I don't know why
Robyn Bell: Okay, Okay. All right. Yeah. This one might be a Nate question as well, but feel free to chime in here Ms. Erin, Chicago symphony or the New York Philharmonic.
Erin Mayland: Oh, my
Nate Mayland: God. I got to go CSO, Chicano easy. We're gonna get our butts kicked later.
Robyn Bell: Listen, don't worry. Nobody listens to this podcast. No worries.
Nate Mayland: we're going to tag Joel, lessee.
Robyn Bell: Joel Alyson. He plays trombone for the New York, Phil.
Erin Mayland: We're not
Nate Mayland: going to do that.
Robyn Bell: A New York city sunrise with coffee or sunset with cocktails. That's a New York thing right there. All right. Here's this is a good one. A weekend on siesta key or a weekend in the Hamptons.
Erin Mayland: Yeah.
Robyn Bell: at Disney,
Erin Mayland: it's hard to say. So I would've said museum,
Nate Mayland: museum.
Robyn Bell: Disney. Yes.
We need a Disney museum. And then that question becomes a moot point. All right, here is your last question and it's not an either or, but you probably have 42 choices here. What is your favorite song in Hamilton?
Erin Mayland: Satisfied.
Robyn Bell: Excellent. Do you have a favorite song? So sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night here in King. George's LA da, da, nobody wants to hear me sing it, but that is such a catchy melody. Of course, it's very familiar to us, you know, even before I realized, like, I didn't know much about Hamilton before I went and saw it. And when I saw it live in Chicago and I, the first, I don't know, 10 seconds, I said, this is a beautiful rip off. And then I realized it was done intentionally, you know,
Erin Mayland: Yeah.
Robyn Bell: more genius opens up when you think about it that way, but that's probably nobody ever asks me, but that's probably my favorite song. Yeah.
Erin Mayland: read it.
Robyn Bell: performance of it,
Erin Mayland: Yeah.
Robyn Bell: by, as I said in Chicago, but then you see it on the movie and they do the closeups.
Erin Mayland: know
that was an incredible moment. That closeup of King George, I just
Nate Mayland: talk about your experience of watching the movie.
Erin Mayland: Oh God. Did you want to, I mean, so yeah, it was how many months? Like five months after we'd shut down or something, you know, we started talking in March and it was just came out July 4th. So we watched it when it first came out and yeah. I mean, I could barely make it through just the emotional reaction to it. And, you know, also joy, like seeing my friends on stage, you know, some of these people, you know, it's not like I'm best friends with that original gas, but we've had, like, we went through something together that initial year of Hamilton was like, we knew it was an amazing work, but none of us saw coming the attention that we were going to get. , it was very emotional to watch it and fun.
Robyn Bell: Yeah, we had to watch it with closed caption on so that we don't cut all the words. It goes by so fast. Well, Nate and Erin, congratulations, you are now officially part of the club. Tell our listeners where we can follow you and your careers. Maybe we have listeners that want to reach out for some trombone lessons, violin lessons. How can we get ahold of you and see you on social?
Erin Mayland: Well, I think the best place is probably on Instagram. Maple and brass were at maple and brass written out like that. We also have a website,
Robyn Bell: So do you take payment through PayPal or Venmo or all that?
Erin Mayland: yeah.
Robyn Bell: that's cool. Think about if this pandemic had happened 10 years ago, you know, people's often say it's really progressed our technology, especially in education. Yeah,
Erin Mayland: absolutely. Yeah. We have plans from April and breasts to kind of continue with that. We're planning on recording and doing some online courses. In fact, we're even thinking about doing an online. Like rentable version of that masterclass for school, like a shorter one, that's a little more concise and
Robyn Bell: It's a great idea. Great idea. Well, we will share all of the links to your websites and social media in our show notes. So listeners . If they're listening to this on the web. They could just go right to those links and, shoot you guys a message. What an amazing story you two have to share. And I can't tell you how excited I am to watch your next chapter. The after COVID chapter be written for the two of you. You're not only fabulous musicians and performers, but wonderful people and colleagues. And as you told our SEF music students, That is the key element to getting past the stage door and landing gig after gig, I'm already planning a concert with the two of you and my Sarasota pops orchestra. I have it all right here in my little tiny head and it is going to be so exciting. We got to get permissions to arrange some Hamilton stuff though, we'll we'll work on that next week, Erin. Yeah, yeah. , yes, totally Trumble parts. As these months have turned into almost a year, this whole experience of meeting and getting to know the two of you will be one of my COVID highlights. Thank you for speaking to our SCF music students, taking the time to go a little deeper with me here on the podcast, and I wish you both all the best for your very, very bright futures.