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The hills are alive in Lowville with “The Sound of Music”


LOWVILLE — Penny S. Jay is taking the sound in “The Sound of Music” very seriously.

A few weeks ago, she took the 35 “nuns” in the Lowville Academy and Central School production to St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Lowville, where a recording was made to use at the beginning of “The Sound of Music” production set for tonight, Friday and Saturday in the high school auditorium.

“It’s because of the acoustics,” said Mrs. Jay, music department chairwoman. “It’s the kind of sound I wanted and it’s the experience of going to a church, singing and hearing how they sound at another venue.”

Most of the storied venue for “The Sound of Music” is the Austrian Alps. Millions today know that the show, which won the 1960 Tony Award for best musical, tells the story of maverick postulant Maria, played in the Lowville production by 10th-grader Elizabeth G. Kelly. Maria’s future as a nun ends when she becomes governess to the seven children of icy Austrian widower Capt. Georg von Trapp. Maria wins the hearts of her charges to the tunes of hits such as “Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things” and takes the spiritual advice of Mother Abbess to “Climb Every Mountain” on her way to falling in love with and marrying the captain.

The musical was the final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Its book is by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.

Mrs. Jay is a fan of such Broadway classics: Last year, she staged “Annie.”

“I feel the kids need the basics,” she said. “They can learn a lot by doing the basic Broadway-type musicals. When they go to further themselves at a college level, they can take the experience with them.”

Mrs. Jay posted tryout notices for the roles of the seven von Trapp children and was flooded with entries.

In all, 111 elementary/middle school students tried out for five of the roles because she wanted five of the seven children to be students from those grades. “We ended up with four elementary and three high school students because of the size of the kids,” she said.

The youngest von Trapp child is second-grader Alexandra Dosztan, who plays Gretel von Trapp. The oldest von Trapp child is Liesel, played by junior Erin Fayle.

Elizabeth (Maria), said that one of the things she enjoys about the show is that it attracts audiences of all ages.

“I like how it’s family-based,” she said. “Basically, anyone can watch it. I like the music from it, probably because I grew up with it.”

Most of the von Trapp children are enjoying their first stage production and gaining theatrical experience.

“I like having fun with other members of the ‘family’ during rehearsals,” said fourth-grader Aidan D. Macaulay. “I like the challenge of the songs; not only knowing what to sing, and what you have to say, but knowing what you are supposed to be doing and where you’re supposed to be.”

Fifth-grader Rachel N. Van Buren plays Brigitta von Trapp.

“She’s not bratty, but she comments on a lot of things,” Rachel said about her character.

Rachel hopes to continue performing for school productions.

“I like being around people and learning new things to make me perform better,” she said. “I probably won’t do it as a career, but I’m hoping to do it in high school and stuff.”

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The cast list of “The Sound of Music” at Lowville Academy and Central School:

Elizabeth Kelly as Maria; Collin Farquhar as Capt. von Trapp; Catherine Lyndaker as Mother Abbess; Maggie Griffiths as Sister Berthe; Kristen Beyer as Sister Margaretta; Charity Gingerich as Sister Sophia; Erin Fayle as Leisl von Trapp; Lee Buckingham as Friedrich von Trapp; Emily Birchenough as Louisa von Trapp; Aidan Macaulay as Kurt von Trapp; Rachel Van Buren as Brigitta von Trapp; Morgan Nortz as Marta von Trapp; Alexandra Dosztan as Gretl von Trapp; Adam Roes as Rolf; Nicole Adsit as Elsa Schraeder; Tommy Johnson as Max; Collin Stewart as Franz; Shannon Stacy as Frau Schmidt; Stephan Larche as Herr Zeller; Megan Panowicz as Frau Zeller and Dan Austin as Baron Elberfeld.

Also, Abby Jantzi as Baroness Elberfeld; Dustin Shanley as Admiral von Schreiber; Kyle Steria as the bishop; Kiersten Lehman as Ursala; Lyndsay Golas, Rachel Waite, Tasha Widrick as new postulants; Shannon Stacy as Fraulein Schweiger; and Kerrigan Catlin, Chelsea Kain, Hannah Gebo as the trio of the Saengerbund of Herwegen.

Nuns and ballroom dancers in the chorus: Olivia Brooker, McKenzie Marti, Ellory Roberts, Rachael Waite, Anna Platz, Kelsey McLean, Megan Weber, Jasmine Roggie, Lyndsey Young, Allie Dykeman, Rachel Pridell, Christine Pisaniello, Tessa Oldroyd, Stephanie Jump, Julie Farquhar, Lindsey Golas, Delia Andalora, Meghan Schulz, Heather Adsit, Zoe Purcell, Tasha Widrick, Laura Schroth, Emma St. Croix, Courtney Lehman, Alyssa Laribee, Abby Jantzi, Kiersten Lehman, Hannah Gebo, Kerrigan Catlin and Chelsea Kain.

Nazi soldiers and ballroom dancers: Dan Austin, Ryan Marti, Eric Bingle, Remington Hanno, Scott Bingle, Brandon Munger, Devrin Hannan, Billy Lee, Lucas Arthur, Zachary Hardy, Kyle Steria and Andrew Hardy.

the details
WHAT: “The Sound of Music,” presented by Lowville Academy and Central School students.
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday at the high school auditorium, 7668 N. State St.
COST: $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for students and senior citizens.
OF NOTE: There will be a “meet and greet” party in the high school gym following the Friday night performance. Pre-sale tickets are available in the high school office.
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