Staging The Sound of Music

Nathan Liewicki
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Published on November 06, 2013

Chantal Morin, cast as Maria Rainer in Cornerstone Christian School's fall production of The Sound of Music, sings a number with members of the von Trapp family during Tuesday's final dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

Published on November 06, 2013

Chantal Morin, cast as Maria Rainer in Cornerstone Christian School's fall production of The Sound of Music, sings a number - complete with actions - with members of the von Trapp family during Tuesday's final dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre. 

Published on November 06, 2013

Actors from Cornerstone Christian School perform a scene from The Sound of Music at Tuesday's dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre. The four-performance play begins at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Published on November 06, 2013

Karina Mellor, who plays Liesl von Trapp in Cornerstone Christian School's production of The Sound of Music, sings a number during Tuesday's dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

Published on November 06, 2013

Ewan Sommerfeld (right), playing the role of Friedrich von Trapp in Cornerstone Christian School's production of The Sound of Music, sings a number as Emily Knippeleberg (left), playing the role of Louisa von Trapp, sings in the background during Tuesday's dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

Published on November 06, 2013

Chantal Morin (left), as Maria Rainer, and Miranda Garrett (right), as the Mother of Abbess, share a scene at the Mae Wilson Theatre during Cornerstone Christian School's Tuesday dress rehearsal for The Sound of Music production that will take place Nov. 6-9. 

Published on November 06, 2013

Chantal Morin, cast as Maria Rainer in Cornerstone Christian School's fall production of The Sound of Music, peers into the audience as she performs a number during Tuesday's final dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

Published on November 06, 2013

Nuns consume the stage during the opening scene of Cornerstone Christian School's production of The Sound of Music on Tuesday evening. It was the the final dress rehearsal before the four-show play begins at the Mae Wilson Theatre on Nov. 6. 

Published on November 06, 2013

Members of the pit orchestra play a tune during the final dress rehearsal of Cornerstone Christian School's fall production of The Sound of Music on Tuesday evening.

Published on November 06, 2013

Cornerstone Christian School Grade 12 student Emily Dombowsky has the finishing touches of her makeup applied by fellow Grade 12 student Alexis Lang prior to the final dress rehearsal of The Sound of Music at the Mae Wilson Theatre on Tuesday. 

Published on November 06, 2013

Emily Dombowsky, who plays Elsa Schraeder in Cornerstone Christian School's autumn production of The Sound of Music, applies lipstick as hair and makeup guru Lucy Dalgarno fixes Dombowsky's hair prior to Tuesday's dress rehearsal at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

Excitement doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions Sarah Butt was feeling Tuesday evening.

One night before taking the stage at the Mae Wilson Theatre for the biggest role in her young theatrical career, Butt was feeling the butterflies.

“I’m both excited and nervous,” the Grade 6 Cornerstone Christian School student told the Times-Herald prior to Tuesday’s final dress rehearsal of The Sound of Music.

“I’m mostly excited, but a little part of me is screaming inside not to mess anything up.”

Butt and 64 of her fellow cast and crew were refining the final details of their autumn musical the timeless classic that is The Sound of Music before raising the curtain on Wednesday’s opening night performance.

Each member of the cast and crew is a student at Cornerstone in Grades 2 through 12 and since early September they have been working hard on making sure the production goes off without a hitch.

“We actually did some auditions last spring before the end of June. We then did another round of auditions in September in case there were new students,” said vice-principal Tanya Johnson, who is also the director. “We really started going hard the first Saturday after school started.”

Students Martha Shareski and Chantal Morin have also put in significant time and effort into the four-day production that runs from Nov. 6-9. At the tail end of the last school year, Shareski and Morin - Grade 10 and 12 students respectively - auditioned for the lead role of Maria Rainer, which was made famous by Julie Andrews in the original 1965 film.

When they returned to school in September they received their roles, double casting as Maria and a nun. They will rotate playing each role during the performances.

For Shareski, it’s her first starring role in a major production. She was not expecting to be chosen to share the role, but expressed humility regarding her selection.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Shareski. “At first it was kind of overwhelming because I know there are so many talented people who could have done such a great job with the role as well.”

She is also looking forward to one particular part of the performance.

“I love singing The Sound of Music song 'The Hills are Alive.' That one’s really fun,” Shareski said. “I get the whole stage to myself, which has always kind of been on my bucket list.”

Also grateful to have been chosen for the lead role, Morin believes it’s challenging, but more importantly beneficial to share acting duties.

"The young kids in the cast will steal their hearts and the older students, just their acting ability and their singing ability, will amaze them." Tanya Johnson, Cornerstone Christian School vice-principal

“It definitely is an interesting take to see somebody else do the role and sometimes you pick their brain for the different ways they do things … and steal some of the little mannerisms they have,” said Morin. “It definitely broadens your view on what a role can look like because everyone brings something new to a role.”

Friends off the stage, Morin and Shareski appreciate that they have something to share with one another. Still, that doesn’t mean they aren’t striving to best one another.

“I guess there is a little bit of healthy competition too because you want to be at the top of your game,” stated Morin.

As bright as the spotlight will be on Maria come opening night, the girls couldn’t do it without the host of volunteers. That includes a few former students playing in the orchestra pit, plus a pair of Grade 12 students who gave their time to choreograph the entire production. Not to mention everyone involved with costumes.

“It wouldn’t happen without all of the behind the scenes stuff,” said Johnson. “It’s just a tremendous amount of hours that people volunteer their time for.”

Every cast member and person involved in production spoke with the Times-Herald said that people who attend one of the performances will not leave disappointed.

“The young kids in the cast will steal their hearts and the older students, just their acting ability and their singing ability, will amaze them,” said Johnson.

“It’s definitely a production you want to perform really well,” noted Morin. “The Sound of Music is a really big name, so you want to give it (your all).”

Performances begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 68, and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 9. Tickets are $7 for opening night and $10-$12 for the other three shows.

Cornerstone will recognize former principal and drama enthusiast Dr. George Falk when they name the school's auditorium after him on Nov. 10. To read some background information about it, read more here.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

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