Article by Isabel Quah
Photo by Maxine Alindongan
The HS production is an eagerly anticipated annual event that has students and teachers alike buzzing with excitement. From auditions to the hectic rehearsal schedules the cast and crew have to attend, the rolling influx of audience members on opening night is a testimony to the result of our theatrical Bearcats’ hard work . However, people may only really acknowledge the performance of the actors on stage, and normally disregard the hard work that goes on backstage and in the wings of the theatre. With this years’ production being a musical, the taxing demands on performers are a given; however, a musical cannot be a musical without the main component of music.
The many talented musicians who provide the foundation for the musical numbers are most often a musical’s (metaphorically) silent ‘heroes’; despite the fact that they spend hours on end learning scores by heart and practicing together, the audience rarely acknowledges the extent of their efforts. Trumpet player Senior Chae Woon Kim comments that the additional rehearsals for the play are not a hassle at all, as many of the instrumentalists are actually very dedicated and passionate towards music. Thus, they do not think of these additional rehearsals as a burden but rather, they feel accomplished and satisfied that they can be a part of something as exciting as the HS play. However, there are certain troubles that may affect the instrumentalists, as Chae Woon remarks: “learning and digesting how the music fits in the musical really perplexes me at times. Every cast member performs in his or her own style….[which] makes it quite difficult to adapt to.” More often than not, live music faces certain unanticipated difficulties, and requires the most talented of musicians to be able to successfully cope with the numerous musical numbers performed throughout the production.
Band teacher Tom Nazareno claims that playing in a regular concert, compared to playing in a musical, is significantly different. When being involved in a musical, the instrumentalists typically receive the music scores quite early, thus giving them enough time to learn the music for each scene. However, the tight rehearsal schedule makes it tricky to coordinate with the cast, especially with cancelled classes and sick students not helping the situation at all. “You have to be thinking way, way ahead and be ready for plan A, B, and C” he stated. When asked about how instrumentalists felt when playing the music for each respective scene, he responded that the acting of the cast does affect them – he even recalled two of his band members tearing up during the last scene.
Oftentimes, the people who are behind the scenes are the ones who really play a crucial role in large productions such as the HS play. Hopefully, many of these “silent heroes” will receive the credit and acknowledgements they deserve!