The Sound of Music: A Memorable Experience for All

Josh Hobbs

 This year, SWHS will be presenting the production of “The Sound of Music”. This year’s musical will debut in November, and feature many well-known characters and songs from the famous musical.

Producing the “Sound of Music” is a very long intense process. It is a show with lots of demands on the actors. To fill the younger roles, the musical is using children from Orchard Hill, PRS, and TE in addition to the high school actors. It has been a challenge to coordinate schedules and some students have been rehearsing five days a week. The composers Rodgers and Hammerstein have written complex music and which is a challenge for the women cast members who need to sing a four part harmony. The von Trapp children will be singing in a six part harmony. Everyone involved really wants to do justice to such an iconic show.

The musical director and SWHS English teacher, Mrs. Stodd-Knapp, explained that “The Sound of Music” is a commonly misunderstood piece. Although beloved by adults and children, it has a serious message and is based on a true story. Stodd-Knapp explained, “The von Trapps (and Maria) were real people in a very real situation. It is a story rooted in a family who felt a strong conviction to resist a fascist regime, and that the only way to effectively do that, given their societal position, was to risk their personal safety and flee the country to seek refuge elsewhere. Captain von Trapp sacrificed relationships, his job, his home, and his affluent life because he didn’t believe in cooperating with an administration that oppressed the rights and freedoms of others. That is an important story to tell.”

Marshall Neilson, a senior, is playing the lead role of Captain von Trapp. In the past, Neilson has played a key roles in many different musical productions at South Windsor High School, such as Understaffed, Choral Spectrum, and has participated in several other musicals throughout the years. When asked about questions regarding his role and what we can expect from this year’s musical, Neilson said, “I’ve been in three musicals: Seussical the Musical, Cinderella, and Annie. I audition because I like to sing and act. I watched [The Sound of Music] a few times as a kid, but I’ve always really loved the songs.”

Senior Eldon Perkins is playing the role of Max Detweiler in the play. He has been a huge advocate for the music programs at SWHS for many years. In his opinion, he saw the chance of auditioning for the Sound of Music as an important part of his music career. Perkins explained, “I like the Sound of Music a lot and I thought I might be able to get a bigger part because I have more experience as a senior. I also have done musicals before so I knew they were fun and I knew other people that did it too.” Perkins also believes that this show is different from other performances in the past. “This show has better lead roles than past musicals but less opportunities for ensemble cast than past shows like Cinderella.”

Overall, Perkins’ message to the school and any people debating on whether to audition for future productions is that, “The musical is a lot of fun, and the real fun comes in the time between the scenes you’re in when you’re hanging out with cool people. Performing is also a lot of fun but the only way to do that is if you audition! Don’t be discouraged if you get a small part early on because as you get more experience you get bigger roles.”

Stodd-Knapp agrees with Perkins. She encourages that students, “Come out and audition! It is a lot of hard work, but the reward is fantastic. We are always in search of a diverse cast with diverse talents. This year we have a lot of students participating for the first time, as well as students who have been with us for four years.”

With the musical less than a month away, students should consider buying their tickets ASAP as this show is set to sell out quickly. Tickets will be $10 for students and $15 for adults, available to the public on October 29th. You can purchase tickets on the school website or through Mrs. White in room 144. Cast members will also be selling tickets during lunch starting on November 5th. The scheduled dates for this year’s production are set for November 8th, 9th, and 10th.

This show is a must-see. According to Stodd-Knapp, “This show has something for everyone. We’ve got cute kids, fun music, some intense drama, and a little bit of dancing. There is even a moment of audience participation! Performing is no fun without an audience, so come on out and enjoy the show with us!”