Inside the Pit Orchestra

Spencer Johnson, Reporter

Every year in September, a group of volunteer musicians band together in A101—the instrumental music room—to begin practicing for the fall musical. This year’s school musical is How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

A pit orchestra is an accompaniment group that assists performers in any show involving live music, usually that of an opera or musical.  In the case of Taylorsville High School, the pit orchestra always accompanies the performances of the fall musical.

From filling would-be awkward pauses during scene changes to adding tremendous dynamics and backup that bolster the performance of the presence onstage, the orchestra serves as the musical backbone for the entire production.

From the standpoint of a musician playing in such an orchestra, a number of differences can be found between it and different music groups.

“It’s a different pace. I feel better connected with people in pit because it’s so small,” said Senior Drew Holland, who is playing the Reed 3 parts in the pit orchestra, “Everyone had to be really good in pit for it to work, but in a conventional musical group that isn’t always the case.”

There is a balance between orchestra and the stage that exists, in which the two contrasting groups of musicians simultaneously lead and follow one another. It forms a much more natural tempo that is dependent not entirely by what is written on the page, but by what is occurring on stage. This flow between the groups is perhaps the largest benefit to having a live pit orchestra—other than the difference in sound quality—as opposed to a recording.

“It makes it more real. You could have a perfect recording instead, but it wont sound as real as an actual orchestra. It give it a certain feeling that couldn’t be replicated,” Drew Holland added.

“Well, you don’t get as much recognition—it’s not as much work—but it’s harder, I think. Well, it’s harder for me at least,” said Junior Emma Thackeray, a first-time pit orchestra musician who had previously starred in Bennion Jr. High’s production of Into The Woods, “That’s what’s different, not really anything else. Just performing.”

How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying premieres on October 26 at 7:00 pm, and has subsequent performances on the 27th and 29th of October, and the 2nd and 3rd of November.