the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Pit orchestra selected to perform at spring musical “Mamma Mia!”

Exploring the craft of pit orchestras in live performances.
Photo by Daniel Lee
Pit orchestra musicians sophomore Keegan Beecher and senior Kyle Kim practice for the upcoming spring musical.

Students were selected for the “Mamma Mia!” Pit Orchestra to play the crucial role in enhancing the Spring Musical.

The job of the pit orchestra is common in most musicals, as their role is to evoke certain emotions to match the actions and dialogue of the performers on stage. Orchestra director  Katie Takahashi will direct her best musicians in their ensembles through their performance in the pit orchestra. The musicians usually play the transition music and the underscoring for the vocalists to sort out the required amount of instruments. 

“The pit orchestra is pretty important. We play like professional Broadway music, and these are the same stuff that people play at the Pantages.” Takahashi said. “If you don’t have a pit orchestra, you have to use pre recorded music and canned music, and it just doesn’t sound the same as a live orchestra.”

The music that students play and must learn is around two hours long and is more specialized and difficult compared to other ensembles. Pit orchestra must match the keys and songs to the tempos and changes that the show is undergoing. 

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“There’s a lot of pressure because a lot of it comes down to specific timing. I have to time the music to exactly what is going on. But it’s definitely one of the most fun things that I do,” Takahashi said. “The level of the music is going to be challenging for the pit orchestra, but they practice a lot to get down the key changes and different tempos.”

Orchestra students signed up and were then selected based on their level and instrument they played. Sophomore Teresa Chen plays the violin and contributes harmonic rhythm and cohesive sound.

“I’m going to try my best and not be afraid to make mistakes. I’ll probably go over the notes before rehearsal and listen to the songs that we are going to go over,” Chen said. “The experience of being part of the show is what I’m looking forward to and being in the pit orchestra gives me a sense of accomplishment and excitement.”

Junior Trish Ho was also selected for the pit orchestra and plays the flute. Being a flute player, she has a wider variety of options to convey more tone and mood into the atmosphere of the show. 

“Everyone has a really important job, and it’s important to cooperate with each other. For me, I just want to prepare enough, so that I don’t mess up. I might be a bit nervous when the musical happens, but my hard work has finally paid off, and I have been preparing for this a lot,” Ho said.

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Timmothy Chen, Staff writer
Hi, my name is Timmothy Chen, and I'm in the ninth grade as a staff writer for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint, I play tennis and enjoy going outside in general. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out or talking with friends.
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