A Show at the Shamu Stadium, Sea World San Diego

We recently completed work on a new Shamu show for SeaWorld San Diego, Shamu’s Christmas, opening this November for the holiday season. DRR&P worked directly with the creative team at SW San Diego and composed, arranged and produced all the music for this production.

The show features Orcas (of course), live male and female host/singers and a live sax player. As the directors wanted a spectacular show that featured exciting animal choreography yet still retained a warm holiday and family spirit, we felt it called for a score that combined both classic orchestral moments as well as driving percussive, rock and pop elements. Chris McDonald handled the overall composer/arranger/orchestrator chair with Kurt Goebel doing additional arranging and programming on the more driving cues in the show. The creative and mock-up process went very smoothly with Dropbox file exchange making it easy to for the entire team to collaborate, including singers and sax player Mark Douthit who did their parts on the mock-ups remotely.

Because we are always striving to streamline workflow, I was curious to see how we’d do working in three different DAW’s and Finale during pre-production (Chris uses DP, Kurt, Logic and Protools is my main DAW.) It was surprisingly effortless thanks to good tempo mapping and file naming conventions.

After all the cues and orchestrations were locked, we had a day of Rhythm section recording at our studio, a day of orchestra at Ocean Way Nashville and a third day of percussion and choir overdubs back here. The musicians really kicked ass on this project, particularly the french horn section for whom Chris wrote some amazingly beautiful lines.

Once mixing was done, I took stems out to SeaWorld San Diego to finalize the mix in the venue. At 5000 seats, the Shamu Stadium at this park is pretty huge and boasts a killer Meyer playback system. Our score sounded HUGE 🙂 I even got to spend a little time with one of the trainers who introduced me to three of the Orcas who live in the park’s 5 pool environment. It’s always incredible to spend time near these animals (I mean the orcas, not the trainers.)

Here’s just a sample from the show, a re-orchestration of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s classic Carol of The Bells/God Rest Ye mash-up.

Shamu’s Christmas – Fast Action

The show runs from mid-November through the New Year. If you’d like to see it, check the SeaWorld website for times.

One Response to “Shamu’s Christmas San Diego”

  1. Sharmila says:

    We recently saw the awesome show “Shamu’s Christmas” in Sea World at San Diego at the 7 pm show on december 31st 2013. My hubby, kids and I were so happy to see the choir with “candlelight” and the heart-warming performances of all the singers, the musicians and the whales! A BIG THANK YOU! The songs and music chosen for this show were the BEST! Our whole family was taken by surprise at the live performances of the singers and the saxophone etc. Only wish we knew who the solo singers and the musician with the sax were… it would have been nice if their names were mentioned somewhere!

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