Through all of our rehearsals, when it came time to practice our singing, we were fortunate enough to have our musical director Nicola, or when she wasn’t available, our assistant musical director Rebecca play the piano for us. For a few rehearsals, both were unavailable, and we had to turn to a recorded musical score. The benefit of the live piano player is that they can stop and start easily, change tempo and rhythm, emphasize certain notes, etc. The computer version can not.
Whether intentionally or not, this lead to some changes in how we sang, as many people adjusted to the computer score, and when our musical directors returned, had to change again. All of this leads us towards the real musical treat though - our own orchestra! That’s right, we have a 14-piece orchestra that is accompanying us in the play.
The actors and orchestra first chance to meet is at the Sitzprobe. What’s a Sitzprobe? Translated from the German, it refers to a seated rehearsal. Essentially, the orchestra plays the various songs, and the actors sing along. It’s a chance to hear the songs as they might be done during the play, without worrying about other things like acting, costumes, props or scenery.
A rush of excitement ran through most of the actors when they heard the orchestra for the first time. Despite having only a handful of rehearsals under their belts, the musicians already sounded great. Each of our singers stepped up and sang their solos with gusto, and the group numbers were filled with passion. The resulting mix of singing and music was outstanding and bodes well for how things will soon be in the theatre.