I am inspired by the writings of my friend (A Good Reed Review), to write a post on being a member of the pit orchestra.
I play (or at least, used to play) the French horn.
During my life, I periodically stop playing and then pick it up again.
And during my life, I have, from time to time, played in pit orchestras for musicals.
The pit is a special home for musicians.
Generally you are squeezed into a much too small space.
Sometimes in full view of the audience, sometimes tucked away, out of sight.
Being in full view of the stage is my favorite because it means I can watch the show.
You might think seeing the show, over and over again, would become boring.
Not for me.
I have been known to become so entranced by what is going on onstage to sit staring with my mouth just hanging open.
And watching from the pit, you get to see some fairly hilarious things.
Like watching Camelot – one night I notice that King Arthur has a hole on the inside of his “chain mail” (which was really pants made out of a heavy gray yarn). The next night, he wore the pants backwards (obviously, trying to hide the hole) – not realizing that his butt had stretched out the back of the pants – and now that alarming bulge was in the front!
Like I said, fairly hilarious.
Being out of view is okay too – good time catch up on your reading – or knitting – or whatever. One music director in this area is a very talented sculpture – and he brings along whatever he’s working on.
Playing in the pit is a great way to participate in theater.
Nothing to memorize – you just play the music.
And you get to go to the cast parties.
One requirement though is you have a solid wardrobe of “concert black” – concert black is really just black clothes that are nice enough to be out in public.
So if you play an instrument, you might consider being in a pit.
You might like it.
And if you don’t play an instrument but perform in musicals – be nice to your pit members.
Many of the same musicians go from show to show playing in the pit.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a familiar face smiling up from the pit – I know I am in good hands.
Pit musicians are an important part of the show.
They are giving up their time and talent to make you look good.
And, trust me, they are cool people to hang out with.
I mean, of course, they are cool – dressed all in black and stuff.