Situated on the Newark riverfront, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is a 250,000 square-foot facility housing the 2,750-seat Prudential Hall. In a word, it’s impressive.
With the throngs of adoring public that come to see and hear live performances from world class artists every year, the audience is familiar with the predictable vantage point from their comfortable seats.
Sitting at one of the concerts I wondered what it would look like from the musicians point-of-view, looking out at such a lavish setting with 2750 pair of eyeballs all trained on your ability to draw the bow, pluck the strings, blow the horn, and feather the reed. Gulp – no pressure.
After reassuring the administration, musicians, and sound engineers, the logistics began. Strategically placed between one of the reveals in the sound reflectors, the camera had to be completely concealed, with the exception of the lens. And as to not disrupt the musicians from reading the overwhelming black blotches on their music sheets, I could only release the shutter when the music reached a crescendo. My worst fear was that one of the suspended microphones over the instruments would pick up the click, click, of the shutter – yikes.
The shutter was released via remote control. If you look closely you can see me in the nose bleeds.
I think I was more nervous than the musicians. Except for maybe the guy on the kettle drums. After all, unlike the numerous violins that can hide their occasional staccato when it has one too many slurs, there is no place to hide when you have the only mallet to thump, on such a stand alone instrument.