There have been many standout moments and collaborations with others. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of fine people in the industry who really have set the pace for a long time and I feel very fortunate,” she says. “You learn from every person that you work with, particularly when you’re building your knowledge base and skills, which really doesn’t ever end. With every person and team you work with, you’re looking to learn something about what to do or what not to do and either putting that in your arsenal, or going, ‘I won’t be doing that again’.”
She points to a number of such opportunities she’s had over time. Among them working with Ken “Pooch” Van Druten on a Linkin Park tour, doing multiple shows in various capacities with the “Pershing’s Own” Orchestra, a run of shows at Sydney’s iconic Opera House with Josh Groban, as well as touring with Hall & Oates and The National.
Staying On Top Of It
Every job provides an opportunity for growth, she insists, referencing the orchestral shows she’s worked as prime examples. “I remember the first time I actually heard an orchestra mixed indoors in a proper environment. I didn’t even realize the PA was on. If you had thrown me into that situation then I would’ve botched it completely because I would have thought of it as a concert mix. Mixing front of house for that is a very different world than doing the broadcast.”
When I ask if her approach varies substantially from one position to another, Muccarione pauses to consider her answer, then replies: “It’s not something I really think about. It’s just ingrained, rather than being a conscious thought pattern. It just comes with doing stuff over time, learning better ways to do it, and refining it every time. Often, it’s a memory test. If I’ve just done three or four months as a Monitor technician for somebody, then, all of a sudden, I’m out at front of house or flying a different PA. I often have to stop and think, ‘OK, how does this work again?’”
The pace of technological change also factors into that, she adds: “I’ve often told people that the biggest thing I miss about being in a full-time shop environment is my noodle time; putting the show together and having extra time to go through every aspect of the system. That really does keep you sharp when you bounce from one show to the next.”
Since leaving MSI and relocating, Mucciarone has continued to branch out, and now works as a freelancer, dividing her time between Clair Brothers and Red Hook, NY-based Firehouse Productions. That’s enhanced her ability to maintain an ideal balance of corporate and touring work, as well as to feed her passion for travel: “One of the lovely things about touring is the travel aspect of it, which I still really do love – particularly internationally. I’m always up for discovering new places. That’s a lovely plus to me.”
Granted there are drawbacks; getting ill on the road, for instance – an inevitable consequence of spending so much time in 45 feet of what’s essentially a rolling Petrie dish. Occasionally, too, there’s having to deal with people who are somewhat harder to work with than others. “Yes, and sometimes you see nothing more than the hotel, the ride to the gig and the ride back to the airport,” she says, quickly adding that those inconveniences are far outweighed by the benefits: “I just take it as it comes, really.”
Ultimately that statement sums up Mucciarone’s approach to her career and her life overall, underpinning her ethic of embracing every opportunity along with the challenges they may present, wholeheartedly and without reservation.