Arts and Entertainment

Behind the Scenes of The Addams Family: The Orchestra Pit

The Addams Family orchestra awaits their next cue during one of the final dress rehearsals of the production (Vicki Li).

By PACIFIC ENG
Staff Writer

The time for University High School’s Spring Musical has come again, and this year the Uni Theatre Arts is presenting The Addams Family. UHS musicals feature a live pit performance by members of UHS Orchestra and Band. Like everyone else involved in the musical, they have put in endless hours of hard work in order to put on a great show for everyone. So for any fans of music and theater, this musical will definitely be an enjoyable experience.

Directing this program is Mr. Roger Wu Fu (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), guest conductor and graduate of University High School. He has been involved with band program since 2013, focusing on marching band and orchestra programs for the past 2 years. “Being the musical director, I work with the singers as well as the the actors so there is a connected choreography,” Wu says, “You’re doing everything at the same time and paying attention constantly.”

However, Wu enjoys his involvement with the musical, and says he is looking forward to being a part of future productions. “People should definitely check the musical out because there is so much behind it,” he says, “Having a live pit orchestra in a high school setting trying to achieve a professional level is a special thing, and we take it for granted.”

        The musical pit provides an opportunity for any and all types of musicians to shine. Yuxi Ma (Sr.) plays a wide range of instruments, depending on what is needed. “The musical is an amazing experience. I play all the percussion instruments besides the drum set,” he says. “Usually my part is to help emphasize a part because my instruments are the loudest.” Each musician is an essential part in making the performance come together as a whole.

First chair symphony violist and second time musical pit performer Hanlin Chen (Sr.) is picking up a new instrument for the musical, playing an upright bass instead. “Learning a new instrument was rough at first,” Chen says, “But it’s also a lot of fun”. Being the only bassist in the musical, he is not only responsible for playing his part, but also coordinating it with the rest of the band. “There’s a lot of pressure to play everything well. Compared to the viola, which most of the time isn’t really that noticeable, a solid baseline is especially important in jazz pieces to keep the groove.” With time, Chen has become more comfortable playing the bass, and with hard work and practice, hopes to put on a great performance in the days to come.

Even from the perspective of a cast member, it is clear how much effort is put in to create a show-ready instrumental ensemble. Celine Nie (Sr.), playing an Elizabethan ancestor in the musical, witnesses this first hand during her rehearsals. “Live music is extremely difficult, especially making the transition from a recording.” Nie says.  “You get into habits that you realize are incorrect and have to work even harder to fix them.”

Nie added, “I definitely commend the pit for their patience with the actors, it’s a hard job to be on cue at all times.”

Both the actors and the musicians have worked together in order to produce musical performance sure to impress any audience, so make sure you check it out!

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