Hadrian Lau / Staff reporter

For over a decade, musical theatre performances at Gleneagle have used professionally pre-recorded music. But that’s all set to change this year when live music will be used.

Musical theatre teacher, Justin Maller, volunteered to bring back the pit band, a type of orchestra that accompanies performers in musicals, operas, ballets, and other shows involving music. 

This theatre tradition was designed by Richard Wagner, a German opera composer. The first public appearance of a pit band was in 1876 with the performance of The Ring of the Nibelung.

While pit band players are not required to make an appearance on stage, they perform in the orchestra pit which is located in the lower front section of the stage.

Furthermore, the size of pit bands varies from large orchestras to a small rock combo.

Maller noted that the school pit band is voluntary. “I asked and whoever wants to can play, as long as I have a part for them.”

Vitor Bello Conceição, grade 12 and a member of pit band, is excited about the launching of this course. Conceição said he and other students had wanted to join a pit band since he was in grade nine, and this year he and others could finally join one. “Being in a school band again is a very nice change of place,” said Otto Mao, grade 12 and member of pit band.

With the help of live music, it is believed that the atmosphere will undergo the most change. “Since [the backing track] will not be used anymore, [the performance] will be a lot more personalized,” said Conceição.

Maller believes that pit band will bring positive changes to the quality of the production and “it will enhance the performance tremendously and also give a more professional experience for our performers, and theatre production crew.”

There are many differences between pit band and concert band. Mao states that the concert band has a more serious atmosphere compared to pit band. In addition, Mao notes that pit band doesn’t have the same rigidness as the concert band.

Conceição stated the main difference between concert band and pit band is the genre of music, “we play more classically based [music in concert band], whereas, we play a lot of pop [music in pit band]”.

In  Conceição’s opinion, pit band is a lot of fun to play, as the genre of music played in pit band is designed for singers, which contains a huge amount of unusual key signatures, adding an extra spice to the music as well as increasing the level of difficulty.

The schedule of the pit band will begin in December, “[it will] be a mixture of after schools, evenings ad perhaps Saturdays,” stated Maller. 

An important time to note is that the pit band’s first performance will be hosted in May in Gleneagle’s theatre. “We will performing alongside the Legally Blonde musical production” said Mao, “I hope we can do well in our debut.”