Hersel Cremeans has over 20 years of experience in choral education. Receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Huntington University exposed him to the wonderful world of show choir – and a master “show doctor” was born. From struggling small schools and overlooked women’s programs, to advanced programs at the highest level, Hersel has a natural ability to fine tune shows into works of art, for the enjoyment of performers, audiences, & judging panels.
Hersel has been writing custom arrangements (both concert literature and show choir pieces) for over two decades. He has a wide selection of previously arranged charts but can also create a custom piece or entire show for your choir.
1. Please describe your basic setup. (Your technical setup as well as the physical space that you work in.)
I use my Clavinova CVP-309 as my piano and midi controller, an iMac and Sibelius. I have a Sony Sound Bar/Subwoofer for a little better speaker system but have been chatting with Sweetwater for an upgrade. We have a music room in the house with our Piano, Drums, Violin and Guitars that I use as my office.
2. What is your process for brainstorming or inspiration-seeking as you start a new arrangement?
I add whatever the song is to a playlist and listen to it a whole bunch while I’m mowing the grass, working out or driving the kids around town. Once I’ve developed a few ideas I sit down and play/sing through it. Occasionally I will have my wife come in and sing and we take turns making up fun harmonies. From there I start inputing the piano and melody lines. Depending on the song I then add the vocal parts, and guitar/bass. Once I’m satisfied with that I add the horns and synth. I almost always save the percussion for last. If I have a unique idea for the show band in a particular arrangement I may start with their parts (plus that can help mix up my routine).
3. What is your go-to snack and/or drink when arranging?
Diet Dew… I try not to snack while I work but if I do it’s usually Peanut Butter M&M’s or a Pop Tart.
4. What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started arranging?
Everything does not have to be crazy hard to make a quality arrangement. When I first started I wrote everything super hard and sometimes really struggled for far too long for no reason.
5. What is your favorite shortcut or time-saving trick in your notation software?
Copy and Paste, Command R (allows you to highlight a section and repeat it), Command Z (undo – for obvious reasons), Command Y (redo – in case I undo too many times). I use the key pad quite a bit for note input which allows me to enter notes very quickly.