• Robert Lathers

Portland High School Musical to feature Live Orchestra

It’s been a long time since a live orchestra has accompanied a production of the Portland High School Drama Club. That will change on Thursday night as Mike Sulecki, Portland School’s Music Director will lead several members of the Portland Community Orchestra as they perform with the cast of Peter and the Starcatcher on stage at Portland High School.

Sulecki is no stranger to performing in “pit orchestras” as he has participated in other communities on a number of musicals including Man of LaMancha, Young Frankenstein, Spamalot and Carousel. However, this is only the second time he has had the opportunity to actually direct the music.

Chandra Polasek, Portland Drama Club Director is “thrilled” to have Sulecki involved in the music, “Mike Sulecki is nothing but totally dedicated to helping kids learn and achieve through the arts!”

This is Polasek’s third production as a Director having previously directed The Crucible in 2012 and last year’s Portland High School production of Into the Woods Jr. “Having a live orchestra has taught the students to use the music as a vehicle and form of expression. It is not singing along with a soundtrack. It allows these actors to explore more character choices”, Chandra explained. When asked about the uniqueness of having a live orchestra for a high school drama performance Polasek said, “A lot of larger schools will have an orchestra but smaller schools like us don’t always have an opportunity.”

Joining Sulecki in the orchestra for Peter and the Starcatcher are: Josh Arleth, Percussionist, who has performed in many Portland Community Theatre productions; Jesse Ward, Violinist, who is a Portland High School Student and one of Portland’s few string musicians; Jessica Cymbal, Piano, who also teaches piano and voice professionally and works for St. John’s and Portland Public Schools; and finally, Evey Arleth, Auxiliary Percussionist, is a Portland Middle School student.

Peter and the Starcatcher opens Thursday night at 7:30 PM at Portland High School Auditorium. Performances are also scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. Tickets are available at the door for $7 general admission, $5 for students and Seniors.

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