Down in the Pit: seldom seen, often heard

Valerie Adams, Staff Writer

As you’re watching the play, you see the actors, you hear them singing, and you see all the lights. But can’t you also hear all the music being played? There’s that one lone trumpet sounding during the transition between scenes or the big dance number with the full orchestra.
That’s all coming from the tiny orchestra pit that’s located underneath the stage.
“It should be way bigger. It’s so small and crowded and we have twice as many people this year,” sophomore and third trumpet Rachel Noble said. “I don’t know how we’re all going to fit.”
The pit orchestra plays all the numbers for the musicals under the direction of John Platter.
“I like to say that I’ve got the best seat in the house since I see the orchestra and the play right there,” Platter said. “It also takes an immense amount of focus because I need to cue the instruments at the exact right time.”
Auditions are held towards the beginning of the New Year and are open to all band members even though only a select few get in. Senior, flutist and piccolo player Paige Balut has auditioned ever she was a freshmen.
“Liberty Pit has probably been one of my favorite activities in high school,” Balut said. “Not many people get to say they have played in a pit orchestra since there aren’t many musicians down there. It really has helped me improve my musicianship over the years.”
Not only is pit orchestra selective, it’s much different than playing in a full band or orchestra. There are only a small number of people playing each of the instruments and sometimes only one person plays in a section.
While the actors are working hard above the stage, Platter and instrumentalists of the pit orchestra work just as hard underneath.
“It’s great to look back at how far we have come as an ensemble,” Balut said.