Last week, Newfield ran its production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The set design, lighting, and performances by every single person were nothing short of magical. While these amazing students’ feats are not to be overlooked, there is one subset of the production which is often glossed over and deserves equal recognition for their hard work. They are equally responsible for ensuring the play is as lively as possible: the combined pit between teachers and students within both orchestra and band.
Earlier this week I interviewed one of the members of this group to get a better understanding of the process that goes into performing these melodies, Ryan Grijalva. To stress just how much Ryan understand this process, it is worth noting that Ryan is an extremely hard-working member of Newfield's Wind Ensemble who has a colossal resume as a part of band. He has put together two ensembles within the past two years to perform during Newfield's Broadway Night and Tri-M Recital, both times lead and conducted solely by him. This past winter he was presented with the Marc Green Award in Band, granting him a scholarship due to his musical love and prowess. When asked how the pit process is different from regular rehearsals in Wind Ensemble, he responded, "Rehearsals are much more frequent and you’re surrounded by a totally different environment. It’s expected that you know your part right away and that your technique is solid. It’s also not a classroom environment anymore; it is more of a professional environment... Both the people and staff were very supportive, helpful, and fun." After this, I asked him if his experience as a member of Wind Ensemble was helpful in pit, to which he stated, "Most definitely, mostly with endurance. You play for so many hours and soon you just get used to playing for three hours straight. You also get much better at sight-reading." When asked about his favorite part of this year's program, Ryan said, "My favorite part was the people involved. There were so many amazing people working together to make the musical as amazing as it can be which allows for laughs and fun throughout the process. I’ve always wanted to work behind the scenes in a musical and pit orchestra was my way in to do it and still play my instrument." These were all very insightful answers that showed me that even more work goes into the musical than I would have originally thought.
If you are a student and a member of Newfield's band or orchestra, it is definitely worth considering pit and the work they put towards every aspect of the play should not go unnoticed.