The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, January 2016
Directed by Andrew Russell
Music Direction Supervised by Sylvia Garza
Conducted by Grant Gould
For my second outing as a high school music director, I took the backseat to the expert Sylvia Garza, whose experience gave me a lot of guidance in this production. Sylvia prepared the ensemble singing, while I prepared the soloists and acted as rehearsal pianist. Upon the arrival of the orchestra, I handed the reins to Grant, who helmed the performances.
This show was a formative experience for me in a lot of ways. It was my first time in many years to fill the role of rehearsal accompanist. This score is sometimes very pianistic, but at times strangely complex. It was a challenge to follow the unusual sounds of the score at times.
I learned a lot about accompanying and leading a cast through rehearsals, and then about taking a back seat to the conductor at performance. That was a bit of an ego blow, but I think it was a good experience for me. It paved the way for future outings as keyboard player in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
This cast was made up of 18-20 high school students, most of whom had strong acting skills but little singing experience. It was fun to work with them on developing technique and character through song.
In Spring of 2018 I returned to this show in a production with The Players Theatre Company of Conroe.