Pit Orchestra – Unappreciated?

By Jasmine Bar

IMG_6395On March 8, 9, and 10, BHS performed the great American musical The Music Man. The cast, crew, and orchestra worked very hard to put on the show, and it seems like all their hard work has paid off. But is the dedication of the pit orchestra truly recognized?Natalie Breuel, a sophomore, has been playing the violin in the pit orchestra for two years. Natalie commented that being in the pit is a great way of contributing to the show without having the full commitment of the crew or cast. However, she admitted that it was hard not to feel under-appreciated. “I don’t want the spotlight, but maybe we could have a little more than a bow during intermission.” David Gold, a senior, also played the violin in the pit orchestra. He said that music that he had to learn was more difficult than anything he had ever played, and he has been playing the violin since fourth grade. Still, David acknowledged that the orchestra had separate rehearsals from the cast and put in less time and, therefore, is not under-appreciated. Brandon Fuhr disagrees: “I didn’t even get a flower.”

Briarcliff Pit Orchestra - The Music Man 2013

Carol Arruci, the music director, showered the pit orchestra with compliments and compared the orchestra to Broadway! Ms. Arucci said that the student pit members practiced for two hours every Friday for two months. In addition to the students, there were about seven paid professionals who practiced three times before the show. She thinks that the biggest challenge was teaching the students, because the music is adult-level and very difficult. Amazingly, Ms. Arucci has conducted many pit orchestras and she feels that Briarcliff High School is the only place where the pit orchestra is not under-appreciated. “The community absolutely loves having a full orchestra. It adds so much feeling to the show,” says Ms. Arruci.

IMG_6393Erynn Altabef, a freshman, played the role of Gracie Shinn in The Music Man. During a technical rehearsal, she commented that the orchestra was coming along nicely and that they added a good vibe. “Last year in the middle school, we just used the CD for music. This year, having the orchestra is so exciting and special!” Erynn exclaimed.

Although opinions may vary, it is clear that the orchestra is a big part of BHS’ play productions. Perhaps they could be recognized a little more, as they obviously add a level of emotion and joy to the play that is unforgettable.

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