Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pit orchestra prepares for play

This stage in the Hamilton High School auditorium is where both the cast and the pit will perform December 5-7.

Everyone taking part in the winter musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, is hard at work – but it’s not just actors. The pit orchestra is also busy preparing for the production.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is a high-spirited musical that tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a fearless young lady fresh from Kansas, determined to experience life in New York City in the 1920s,” musical director and pit orchestra piano player Mr. Paul Connelly said.

Actors and singers have play practice, and the pit orchestra has separate music rehearsals. They meet twice a week and rehearse music, working through difficult rhythms and learning to play up to speed.  Closer to performance time, the pit will join up with the cast and have combined rehearsals.

According to Mr. Connelly, the pit orchestra is extremely important to the musical. It accompanies songs, provides a transition between scenes, and the music helps explain to the audience what is happening on stage.

Pit orchestra leader Mr. Joe Herrick explains that pit orchestra is a unique musical opportunity. The music, written for professional musicians on Broadway, is very challenging. In addition, the play is different from any previous performances band students have taken part in.

“The setting is unique. Now the performances include vocalists, dancing and acting!” Mr. Joe Herrick said.

According to pit orchestra member Logan Dowler, pit is a fun opportunity to socialize with other band students outside of school, and the challenging music helps to make music for band class easier. The role of a pit member is to know when to play and when to be quiet so as to enhance the performance as much as possible, she said.

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