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New York, New York
USA

Blog

A New York harpist trying to figure things out - and the mishaps and adventures that inevitably ensue.

Filtering by Tag: Pit Orchestra

Here We Go, OLO (Sounds Like a Cheer, Doesn't It?)!

Kathryn Sloat

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Tonight is opening night at the Ohio Light Opera! I arrived in Wooster, Ohio two weeks ago (wow, two weeks! It’s flown by) to start rehearsals for the season. The first week we played through about half the shows (there are seven, although I am only playing in three) and for the past several days we’ve been in dress rehearsals for The King and I. 

When we got into the theatre, I received kind of a surprise - they do not have room for the harp in the pit, so I am on a small platform next to the stage, basically in the audience. I was warned about this by a previous OLO harpist, however, the shock came when we started to play. I could actually hear myself! All the time! Sometimes I could only hear myself, and could barely hear the orchestra - usually it’s the other way around! It was very unnerving. 

I’m slowly getting used to it, but it’s still rather nerve-wracking (is it wracking, or racking??) to feel like the audience can hear every single solitary note (or wrong note) that I’m playing - and there are quite a lot of notes. The harp book for The King and I is almost TWO HUNDRED PAGES. That’s at least twice the length of any show I’ve ever played before. Really, Rodgers &Hammerstein, can’t you give a girl a rest??

On the bright side…

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I have the best view ever!! Usually when I play a show I’m sitting in the pit, wondering what on Earth is happening onstage, but now I can play the show AND watch the show! Just not at the same time… that could get very distracting. 

Spring Break!

Kathryn Sloat

For Spring Break 2012, I got to fulfill one of my Teenage Dreams.  

When I was in high school I always wanted to play in the pit orchestra for the musicals (when I was in middle school I tried to sing in a musical, but I’m not going to tell that story).  A couple of the musicals that my high school put on had harp parts - Once Upon a Mattress, Kiss Me Kate - but there was always a more senior harpist who was given the part.  In college I got to play for a couple of operas, but never a musical.  I once had the chance to play in the pit for a production of the WIZARD OF OZ but had to turn it down because it conflicted with another gig!  So when I got a text from a friend asking if I would be interested in playing for a local high school production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Stephen Sondheim), I said yes, absolutely!  

The production was a success and it was so much fun!  I got to see some old friends and meet new people.  It turned out that more than half the pit orchestra were Crane School of Music graduates, so we had lots to talk about!  The kids in the show did a great job too.  Especially on the last day - I walked into the auditorium with my harp about an hour and a half before the show, and the music director told me that a bunch of the kids had gotten food poisoning the night before!  Regardless, the show went on and they did a wonderful job, even though some of them were still sick.  Someone told me that the boy playing the lead character was running to the bathroom in between scenes to throw up!  You wouldn’t have been able to tell, though.  It must have been such a bummer to be onstage trying to act while feeling sick, but I guess that will make it more memorable for them!  

The Pit Orchestra