Although any of the musicians down here could be considered professional level players, none of them actually are. Playing with Theater in the Grove, while intensive and time-consuming, is nothing more than a non-paid, community theater gig. Each player, while dedicated and talented to their craft, spends the majority of their life doing something entirely different. Many of these players are music educators in surrounding towns, working to better the music programs in schools in hopes that more students will continuing playing and singing for the love of it. Upon learning of Dave's career as a middle school band director, it made sense that he was prepared to help and encourage a beginning clarinetist. Kathy, another regular woodwind performer, usually held a position in the medical field in addition to being a talented oboist and working towards a music education degree. The pit's conductor, Michelle, and a regular trumpet player, Jeff, both also work as music directors in private schools.
At 7:30, it was time for the downbeat. Sight-reading the show next to seasoned players was intimidating to say the least, but their friendly demeanors and encouragement made for a pleasant experience. Throughout the evening, jokes were made, often jokes that only close friends could make; but playing three shows a weekend for weeks at a time was enough to build that kind of bond.
"Tomorrow night, Dennis is playing cello with drumsticks!" David snickered. The cellist, Cory held up his bow as an offering. Buh-dum tshh.
"It would sound the same if I played with a bow!" Dennis called out in a loud whisper.
It is easy to get caught up in the competitiveness of a career in music. Being here reminds you of the real reasons we play music: friendship, happiness, and love. The relationships created through music are unlike those made anywhere else, and the bond between members of a pit orchestra may be some of the most tight-knit possible.