‘Peter and the Wolf’ Brings Book to Life

Cedarville’s music and theatre departments have combined their talents to present “Peter and the Wolf” Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. and Oct. 7 at 12 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

As part of the Bach’s Literacy Series, the event is a kid-friendly show that brings together classical music, choreography, literature and artistic narration to cater to all ages.

Sandra Yang, assistant professor of music history, has been working since the spring of this year to orchestrate an event that will reach out to Cedarville alumni, families in the community and students. The event is designed primarily for children.

“I love any kind of art that kids experience, too, because I think it opens their mind to creativity,” said Shelby Hamrick, a senior communications major and choreographer of the event. “I’m super passionate about children and the arts.”

Yang said that she, along with the rest of the production staff, has carefully and specifically designed the event to give children an education and exposure to the arts while also giving them a fun experience.

Students majoring in music education and early education will be strategically placed throughout the crowd to help the kids understand the different instruments and choreography during the performance. After the performance, the kids will be invited to step up on stage to touch all the instruments.

Music, narration and choreography come together in the Bach Literacy Series "Peter and the Wolf" presentation Oct. 2 and Oct. 7 (Photo: Malia Rickards)

Music, narration and choreography come together in the Bach Literacy Series “Peter and the Wolf” presentation Oct. 2 and Oct. 7. (Photo: Malia Rickards)

“It’ll be like a petting zoo,” Yang said.

The program consists of two main aspects: orchestral music and theatrical production.

Several professional musicians in Cedarville’s faculty and some professional guests have prepared solos for the event. The university’s orchestra will join these professionals for the musical aspect of the event.

Carlos Elias, professor of music and director and conductor of the orchestra, said the orchestra will be using leitmotifs. These leitmotifs are specific tunes, or tunes played by specific sections of the orchestra, that are played whenever a certain character appears on stage. For example, whenever Peter walks on the stage, the string section will play a specific melody, signifying his character.

“Some of the instruments reflect the characters of the story,” Elias said. “It’s not just going to be the visual, we’re trying to also do the audio.”

The theatrical element of the show is in the narration and choreography.

Rebecca Baker, associate professor of theatre, will be narrating the story of “Peter and the Wolf” during the performance. Baker said she has been working with Elias to gain an understanding of the music, so that she can begin her narration at the right times.

Hamrick choreographed the production, which visually illustrates the story. She is a theatre minor and said her theatrical interests have led her to be involved in the theatre program even more than required.

Peter and the Wolf

The cast of “Peter and the Wolf” rehearses in the Recital Hall Sept. 29. (Photo: Malia Rickards)

Yang asked Hamrick to do the choreography. For the past month, Hamrick and nine other students have been working on what Hamrick described as rhythmic movement, or “blocking.”

“It’s really cool for me to learn how to tell a story without words,” Hamrick said.

But with just one practice to put all the elements together, orchestrating this production has been challenging. The performers had one rehearsal Monday, Sept. 29, to bring all of the instrumental solos, orchestration, narration and choreography together.

“They have been rehearsing on their end, we have been rehearsing on our end,” Elias said. “My concern is I have one rehearsal to put everything together.”

Although some slight changes had to be made to the performance after the rehearsal, Hamrick said the rehearsal went smoothly.

Baker said, “It’s going to be great to hear music, story and choreography all bringing a book to life on the stage.”

Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a freshman music composition major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes to write music in nearly every genre and enjoys listening to new genres as well.

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