Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Student Musicians Practice for the Spring Musical

Alzhraa Mahmoud
Student actors and musicians conversed during their 10 minute intermission. They spent 40 minutes running the first act of the show. “My favorite part is definitely playing good music and hanging out with friends,” Camryn Miller (12) said. “Also, the snacks.”

17 student musicians have been rehearsing the instrumental music to accompany the performers for the upcoming spring musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, since the beginning of the semester. 

For Camryn Miller (12), this is her first time performing pieces for a musical and playing below the stage. 

“I was always interested in playing in the pit,” Miller said. “And this year, Mr. Lehde handed me a part with my name on it and I just sort of went with it.”

While it’s common for professional productions, not all high schools have live instrumental music for their musicals, often utilizing recorded backing tracks instead. 

“The practice of using recordings is a decision that gets made by accountants with no soul,” band director Aaron Lehde said. “For the rest of us feeling human beings, we’ll stick with live music. Also, live actors. And live singers. And actual humans in the audience. You know, like real life with real people.” 

The music poses challenges, including the duration of the performance and the technical aspects of performing a professional musical score. However, performing in the pit also offers learning opportunities that students wouldn’t have otherwise

“Regular band music is pretty formal and similar in style,” Miller said. “But with music for a musical, it’s more fun and it can even be different each time. Most of the time our tempo is based on whatever tempo the singer chooses. Also, one of our cues is meant to be different every time which is really cool.”

Lehde agrees, noting the further deviations from typical band concerts and performance styles. 

“It’s a multi-layered thing,” Lehde said. “In concert, our music is only about our music. That’s wonderful, but there’s something interesting about having to fit our music into the other layers of the show. The musicians in the pit, the singers and dancers and actors and set design and sound and lights and all aspects of tech design are all working towards a common goal — an excellent show.”

The musical will be held Feb. 22, 23 and 24, allowing students and teachers to see the culmination of their work and practice.

“It’s hard work and long hours, but my least favorite part is the week after the show, where the world you’ve created and shared with great people becomes a memory,” Lehde said. “It’s the way music goes — it’s ephemeral, but it’s still hard to say goodbye.”

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About the Contributor
Junior Alzhraa Mahmoud is a first year staffer on Panorama. In her free time she enjoys crocheting, knitting, and rewatching the Monk series (go watch it, it's really good).

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