Pit Orchestra–or, P'Torchestra, as we sometimes call it–provides music for the CHS winter musical production each year. Pit orchestra instrumentation varies with each production; it usually includes a full string section (violin I and II, viola, cello, bass) as well as woodwinds (flute/piccolo, clarinet/bass clarinet, oboe, bassoon), brass (trumpet, horn, trombone), and percussion (drum set, timpani, mallets, traps). Sometimes keyboards are called for, and saxophones and tuba may be required as well–it depends on the show.
Musicians for the pit are all CHS students, and Mr. Mancini directs the performances. Wind ensemble members have the right of first refusal, meaning: if there are two trumpet parts in the pit, the top two wind ensemble trumpet players have the option of playing in the pit or passing the opportunity to the next player in line. Some kids love playing in the pit, while others don't care about it or are too busy with other activities to devote the time required.
Conducting the pit for musicals (and often the singers on stage) is one of Mr. Mancini's favorite events of the school year. We run a professional pit that adds seamlessly to the show while avoiding all distraction from the performers on stage. During intermission, pit musicians are expected to go out behind the theater and smoke, just like the pros do!