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Editor’s Picks

The next time you see a musical, thank your pit orchestra.

I’ve been playing saxophone in the pit for the Garden School’s production of “Shrek the Musical” for the past week — the infamous tech week — and I’ve got to say, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

I’ve never played in a pit before. My high school’s musicals always used recorded music, which poses its own set of challenges. In fact, I always assumed it would be easier to put on a show with a live orchestra because the singers and musicians could respond to one another and be freer with the timing.

And maybe now that we know what we’re doing, that’s the case. But getting to that point can be pretty ugly, especially for someone like me, who’s doing it for the first time.

I’m used to watching my conductor, my fearless leader and tempo king/queen. But watching a conductor who has to watch and, sometimes, follow a singer can make for some counting catastrophes.

Plus, sometimes the show is so entertaining that I get distracted and forget to watch the conductor at all. I’m past that point now, much to everyone’s relief, but seriously, some of these kids can sing.

It’s pretty clear that the actors are the stars. They put in a ton of time and hard work to get everything right, and they portray the characters that you grow to love throughout the show. Thank the actors and tell them what a great job they did.

But remember that if the orchestra makes it look easy, its members probably worked really hard to get there, too. I certainly have a whole new appreciation for their part in a production.

I hope to see you at the show!

Friday

California indie rock band Cold War Kids are coming to the Belly Up. The 10-year-old band sounds like a dreamier, sleeker Modest Mouse, with southern rock influences mixed with a California care-free attitude. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $40 in advance and $42 at the door, and reserved seats are $65.

Saturday

This is your last chance to see “Calendar Girls” at Snowmass Chapel. The play is based on the movie of the same name, which is based on a true story of a group of women who posed for a nude calendar in order to raise money for cancer research. In that spirit, ticket revenue will be donated to Pathfinders, and the “Calendar Girls” cast created its own calendar, which will be available for purchase at the play. Proceeds from that calendar will also be given to Pathfinders. There is a $20 suggested donation at the door for admission, and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Sunday

The Black Dog Saloon in New Castle hosts an open mic every Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Hosted by Wally Bacon, the afternoon allows you to hop on stage with strangers or friends or bring the house down all on your own. Check it out in the audience first if you’re nervous, then join in on the fun.

Jessica Cabe has had “I’m a Believer” stuck in her head for six straight days. She can be reached at jcabe@postindependent.com.


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