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Monday, May 2, 2016

LCS students present 'The Sound of Music'

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The new governess Maria (Erin Connor) teaches the von Trapp children the scale song, "Do, Re, Mi." The children are played by, (from left) -- Liz Bixenman, Charlie Ellis, Joel McGrew, Cassidy McGrew, Erin Connor, Emma Parry, Alyson McGrew.
The Le Mars Community High School musical, "The Sound of Music," will be presented this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Middle School Auditorium.

Curtain time is 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

This is the first time "The Sound of Music" has been presented by LCS students, according to director Erin Ohrlund.

Ben White as Captain Georg von Trapp returns home after a month-long absence with the new woman in life, Elsa Schraeder, played by Yashila Permeswaran. He is waiting for Elsa to meet his children, who she regards as charming entertainment but little else. (Sentinel photo by Beverly Van Buskirk
"We checked back 25 years and didn't find that it had been done," Ohrlund said.

LCS junior Erin Connor plays Maria, a young woman studying to become a nun.

However, the Mother Abbess, played by Katey Lempares, sends Maria to the von Trapp family to be a temporary governess to the seven children of widower Captain Georg von Trapp, played by Ben White.

The Mother Abbess, played by Katie Lempares, sends Maria, played by Lisa Connor, to the von Trapp family to be the temporary governess to seven children.
(Sentinel photo by Beverly Van Buskirk)
Maria soon has music filling the home, teaching the children songs and how to have fun.

Tryouts for the LCS musical were held in September.

"I was very surprised to the get the role of Maria," said Connor. "I didn't think I'd get that big of a part."

Ted Hallberg serves as director of the pit orchestra for the LCS production of the "Sound of Music." The production is directed by Erin Ohrlund working with music faculty members Randy Ewing, vocal music, Halberg and Curt Ohrlund, instrumental music.
(Sentinel photo by Beverly Van Buskirk)
She admits preparing for the production has involved a lot of late nights.

"School is like my new home," said Connor, who added she really likes the musical.

"My character is different from anything I've done before," said Connor. "Sometimes it's difficult to think how Maria would act and stuff, what her character would do."

Connor said she's also had fun with rehearsals and has bonded with the students who act as the von Trapp children in the play.

"We're actually like one family," she said.

Lempares, a senior, said she enjoys her character, Mother Abbess.

"I absolutely love it," she said. "I was so excited to get the part. When I watched the movie as a child, I got chills from 'Climb Every Mountain.' Now I get to sing it."

She said the part also has special meaning because her older brother played Captain von Trapp in his high school production of the musical.

"It's a big deal to my family and me," Lempares said.

Rehearsals, she said, have gone well and everyone has worked hard on the production.

Matt Strub plays the von Trapp family butler, Franz, with Miranda Ritts as the housekeeper, Frau Schmidt.

The von Trapp children are played by Liz Bixenman as Liesl, Charlie Ellis as Friedrich, Shania DeBoer as Louisa, Alyson McGrew as Brigitta, Emma Parry as Marta, Joel McGrew as Kurt and Cassidy McGrew as Gretl.

Josh Sluiter plays Rolf Gruber, Liesl's boyfriend.

Yashila Permeswaran plays Elsa Schraeder, Captain von Trapp's lady friend.

Travis Barrett plays Max Detweiler, the music promoter who encourages the von Trapp family to sing at the Saltzberg Festival.

Director Erin Ohrlund said she appreciates working with music faculty members Randy Ewing, vocal music, Ted Hallberg, orchestra, and Curt Ohrlund, instrumental music.

"All the music faculty is working on the production," she said.

Hallberg directs the orchestra, Ewing plays piano in the pit, and Curt Ohrlund runs the sound system.

Choosing the musical is a challenge every year, according to Ewing.

"Mrs. Ohrlund, Mr. Hallberg and I all sit down and brainstorm different ideas and then figure out if we have the potential cast members to fill the roles. We also have to really love our choice as we are living with it for several weeks," he said. "We also try to pick shows that have audience appeal."

The students were excited once they were told of the directors' choice, said Hallberg.

"Auditions for the musical are done without prior knowledge of what has been chosen. The reason for this is so no student will aim for any one character and the students who audition are ones who will work for the success of the musical no matter what is chosen," said Hallberg "It is also easier to place the students in areas of their strength rather than be limited to 'they only want a certain role.'"

Preparation for the musical begins weeks in advance of the performances.

Hallberg said the pit orchestra, rehearsed Tuesday and Thursday nights for three weeks before going before the stage. Then rehearsals increased to Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Dress rehearsals were held last Saturday, and this week on Monday and Tuesday nights.

"Speaking as the director of the pit orchestra, this group has been outstanding," said Hallberg. "I have had a blast working with them and they have done a great job learning a ton of music."

Ewing said one of the biggest challenges for the directors is finding enough rehearsal time when everyone can be there.

"So many of the kids are involved in a lot of other activities," Ewing said. "It's a good problem to have though."

Hallberg agreed there are time issues to overcome.

"When we put the pit orchestra with the stage, each ensemble needed to get used to each other and the new sound," Hallberg said.

The musical features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and follows the story written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.

The musical is based on the book, "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria von Trapp.

The musical debuted on Broadway in 1959, and was released as a film in 1965.

Tickets for "The Sound of Music" are $7 each and are on sale in the high school office. Some tickets will also be available at the door.

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