Senior Carolyn Arnold sits in front of the piano, hands shaking. The lights begin to dim, as Arnold begins to play the opening chords for High School Musical. Before she knows it, the audience erupts in applause as the actors take their final bow.
Arnold is the accompanist for this years musical, High School Musical. She rehearses, plays, and prepares with the singers and actors.
“Ive been playing piano since first grade. I love it because theres so many different things you can do with it and so many styles of music to play,” Arnold said. “Doing High School Music has been a really good experience for me.”
This isn’t Arnold’s first time on the stage, but this time, instead of being under spotlights, she’s in the pit, playing the piano.
“I’ve done musicals before, but I’ve never done piano for it. I have to pay attention to everything that’s going on. Its like I have a lead role, but I’m not on stage so I don’t have to worry about stage fright or anything,” Arnold said.
In past years, the school has used accompanists for their musicals, but this is the first time they’ve used a student.
“Its one of the first years we have had a student accompanist. we’ve always hired an accompanist to help the students learn their music,” theatre teacher Megan Thompson said. “We had a student that was capable of being the accompanist this year, and we always want to use students whenever their capable. So for example, when when we hire musicians to fill the pit, if we have students who can do it, we like to hire them or have them do. So far she’s been extremely professional. She’s been there when she is supposed to be, she’s playing very very well, so it hasn’t been very different than hiring a professional.”
In effort to appeal to the students, the theatre department chose High School Musical. Not only would this fill seats, it allowed auditions to be held school wide.
“We chose High School Musical because its so popular, its something everyone knows and that everyone’s excited about, and thats proven to be true, students have been asking me about it since the first day of school,” Thompson said. “I have high expectations for how many people are going to come. I`m hoping that we sell out at least one of the nights.”