Musical Memories

Reflecting on Previous School Musicals.


Mason McFadden

The musical last year was “The 22nd Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Katie Birge

Just like every activity in school, the fall musical is another opportunity for students to make memories, learn new things, and get involved. Two musical directors and three seniors reflected back on the musicals they were part of, and what they have learned while being in them.

Choir teacher and musical director Evan Adamon has been directing musicals for ten years off and on. This is his second year at AHS directing musicals. The musicals he has directed have been “a combination of high school theater and community theater.” Before directing, he had some interest in theater because he had participated in the musicals his high school did every four years. That year’s musical he got to be part of was Les Miserables. Musical directing has helped Adamon expand his musicianship skills. “The way the scores are printed require a different skillset and flexibility that have helped me out in my position,” Adamon said. Although there are positives and learning that come along with directing musicals, it also comes with stress and long hours away from home. Despite this, Adamon enjoys helping direct because musicals provide a different way to get involved with music. “It’s another musical experience, and that’s what I really like about it,” he said.

Band teacher, Jarrod O’Donnel, is the director of “the pit,” which is a group of band members that get to play music for the musical. The pit is located under the stage, so it is hidden from the audience. O’Donnell has been directing the pit for about 11 years. Before directing, he played in the pit for musicals at his high school, and at his college. Directing the pit has helped him develop some great listening skills. “You learn how to listen to things really well because the score I have doesn’t have all the parts in it,” O’Donnell said. He has to listen well in order to know if something doesn’t sound right. His favorite musical memory is when the high school did Big Fish because his son was in it and he had a cool role. Any musical that his son is involved in brings special memories to O’Donnell.

Senior Reese DeArment has loved musicals and Broadway since she was in middle school. It was actually in seventh grade that she started to act and sing in musicals. All the musicals she has been in have been school productions. Being in musicals comes with some negative and positive aspects though. For DeArment, a negative aspect of being in musicals is stress due to memorizing everything you need to do on stage and the directors relying on her. Even though being involved in musicals can be stressful, DeArment has made good friends while being in the school productions. She is still friends with the people she had become friends with in her freshman year musical production, Little Shop of Horrors. Overall, she believes that being involved in musicals is a positive experience. “To me, it is just as important as any athlete would think a sport is,” DeArment said. She will be playing the role of “Sandy,” a smart, karate-chopping, country squirrel in the musical this year, Spongebob the Musical.

Senior Charlotte Saluk has been interested in musicals and Broadway, like DeArment, since her younger years. She was in her seventh-grade musical, Seussical, and has been involved in musicals all four years of high school. “I have always been a very musical person,” Saluk said. One of her favorite musical memories is from her freshman year musical, Little Shop of Horrors. This was her first high school musical and her sister’s last. “It was fun being able to be with my sister, but it was also sad because it was her last musical,” Saluk said. Another favorite musical memory of hers is from her sophomore year because by being involved in this musical, she was able to become friends with her now best friend, Micaiah Andersen. Being involved in musicals “is a really fun extracurricular activity that allows me to express myself in a way to really do what I love and have fun while doing it.” Saluk will be playing the role of “Miss Mayor,” who is the mayor of Bikini Bottom, in the musical this year.

Rio Johnson, who will be playing the role of Perch Perkins in the musical this year, has only been involved in three musicals. She has some prior acting experience before this though. Before being involved in musicals, she was involved in Prairie Fire Children’s Theater for eight years, from elementary school up until middle school. She has also been involved in every high school play. Her favorite musical memory is from her seventh-grade musical, Seussical, where she got to play the role of the Cat in the Hat. She also liked the potluck the cast got to have this year during a choreography musical practice day. Johnson was the first one out of her family to participate in plays and musicals, and to be really involved in choir. A positive aspect of being involved in musicals is making a lot of new friends. By being involved in musicals, she has found that people she didn’t think she would have anything in common with, actually did. “So it’s really fun to meet new people,” Johnson said. Musicals have also helped her develop better time management skills. 

From singing to acting, musicals have provided a musical experience to those who wish to participate. Although they can be time-consuming and stress-inducing, they provide a great way to get to know people and make new friends and help you grow as a better musician.