By Claire Maloney
Mamma mia, here we go again! Greek islands, unknown parentage and ABBA. Canterbury High School’s upcoming musical for 2018 is the Broadway smash hit Mamma Mia, and the cast of dancing queens and kings has already started working hard on preparations for the production.
With vocal rehearsals every Tuesday and Thursday of the week, and acting for the leads on Wednesdays, it isn’t hard to imagine how heightened the stress and struggle is for the ensemble already. Not to mention, a cast with a large percentage of grade 11s and 12s! However, with a show only weeks away (premiering November 21st), there’s a lot that has to be done within a fairly short amount of time.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be part of a Canterbury musical? Maybe you’ve considered it, but you’re worried about your schedule. Maybe you’re worried you wouldn’t fit in. Maybe you’re terrified of Mr. Caswell. Well this article is here to give you an idea on what exactly goes down at rehearsals, and hopefully discourage any doubts you had before.
It’s 3:30 p.m on a Thursday afternoon, and students are just beginning to shuffle into the vocal room after the school day. There’s a wide range of students from grade 10s to 12s, drama kids and vocals, and they’re all eager to crack open their scores and start singing. There’s a strong feeling of a unity within the room as people chat and laugh together, different voice sections going over their parts briefly and discussing cues and troublesome bars. It’s clear to see that they make a determined group of talented young people who have come together to do something special.
After a concise vocal warm-up led by Mr. Caswell, the ensemble splits into their sections and learns their parts to one of the songs. For some people, learning this kind of music is nothing new.
“I started musical theatre when I was 8. I’ve done shows with Orpheus, ASNY, Greeley, and the NAC,” says Mckenna Mellon, a member of the chorus who’s had lots of experience with theatre. But the realm of experience amongst the ensemble ranges high and low.
There’s nothing like the sound of when the whole chorus comes together to sing through the score."
“Well, throughout my singing experiences, I haven’t been a part of any productions, but I’ve always aspired to be in a musical. I’m really glad that I ended up participating,” says Lillian Ayoubzadeh, a backstage chorus member. Of course, Canterbury rehearsals are new for everyone who’s only there for the first time. When asked if they found the rehearsals to be difficult or stressful though, the response was very similar across the board.
“No, it’s actually been really good. The way Mr. Caswell teaches us doesn’t make me feel stressed out about it. I pick up he harmonies a lot easier with the way we’ve rehearsed so far,” speaks Mckenna.
Similarly, lead role Mirana Rambelo, playing the character ‘Rosie’ says, “Not at all! The harmonies aren’t too difficult and really catchy. I can see how it would be difficult for anyone new to reading music though, since we’re all used to just singing the main melody of the songs and not the harmonies.”
Despite any of the stumbles that may happen along the way, there’s nothing like the sound of when the whole chorus comes together to sing through the score. Just hearing the first bars of one song is enough to secure you that this show is going to be absolutely spectacular.