Photo by Mike+Ness Photography

by Paul Sharpe

Kemptville Youth Musical Theatre Company continues to improve, improvise and impress local audiences, providing a stellar show in The Sound of Music at the Urbandale Arts Centre. I had the distinct pleasure of attending the technical and dress rehearsals, so that this preview could be presented to North Grenville Times readers.

Pyper Johnston is enchanting to watch and hear as she displays the emotions of Maria, a novice nun falling in love, with conviction. She sings all the famous songs with a gorgeous voice showing colour and depth. Pyper interprets Maria’s emotions with a passion that will make some of you cry.

Cooper Langer is wonderful as the insular Captain von Trapp who has a hard time relating to his children. Cooper’s mellow, smooth voice is reminiscent of crooners of a by gone era.

Maddie Bolland is well cast and very convincing as the hopeful Baroness Elsa Schraeder. Maddie brings a great range of emotions and impressions to the role.

Tatum Tatarciuc is the vulnerable, attractive 16 year old von Trapp daughter, Lisl. Tatum has a lovely, sweet voice and is a very graceful dancer.

Freddy Simonyi plays 14 year old Friedrich von Trapp. Freddy is wonderfully enthusiastic and does a great job blending his voice with the other children.

Azaria Shams shows a rebellious side to the role of Louisa von Trapp. Her singing, marching and mischief are all well done. She also sings a lovely solo in a separate role as a nun.

Jana Szpala plays Brigitta von Trapp with great diction and precision in her singing. Katelyn McGahey plays Kurt von Trapp with gusto and a great sense of fun. The roles of the two youngest von Trapp daughters are each played in alternating shows by two different actresses. Marta is played alternately by Susannah Burtt and Linden Mansell. Gretl is played alternately by Avery Burtt and Victoria Rasa. These four should have a long career of making music.

Sam Horner becomes the character of Max Detweiler, a talent scout, showing his great talent of acting with energy, wit, diction and projection.

Devin Geertsema plays Rolf, the boy who loves Lisl. He shows a variety of emotions very well as his character changes over the course of the story.

Sarah McKibbin displays a lyrical expressive voice as the Mother Abbess, who must mentor Maria. She shows a wonderful compassionate side towards Maria.

The abbess joins three other nuns, well played by Sarah Bolland, Julia Desormeaux and Lauren McKibbin, in a funny and lively, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” and later a rousing “Climb Every Mountain”.

Other named roles are well-played by Lela Fox-Doran as the housekeeper, Frau Schmidt; Rhiannah Gallagher as Franz the butler; Alex Fear as Admiral von Schreiber; Maxime Tufts as Baron Elberfeld and Arden Leahy as Baroness Elberfeld. Aby Robbens is fierce and convincing as the Gestapo member Herr Zeller.

The remaining cast members obviously worked hard to learn all the songs, lines and dances to put on this wonderful performance. Kudos go to: Alina Watson, Hannah Marceau, Laura Maskell, Laura Eyre, Regan Blair, Grace Hamilton, Rylie Hillier, Shannon Geertsema, Elisha Whelan and Mathew Disci. Watch for energetic guests waltzing at a ball and a lonely goatherd romping with his goats. On the occasions when the entire chorus fills the stage, you will be impressed by their sound.

My one disappointment and biggest surprise is that more boys and young men are not taking advantage of the fantastic opportunity and rewarding experience of singing and dancing with all these talented, attractive girls!

Artistic Director Barb Lacelle continues to impress audiences in this small community with the performances of young amateurs. For this performance she is ably assisted by Kevin Colwell. Music Director Phillip Konopka has taught a talented cast to sing the wonderful and familiar tunes by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein with authenticity. They even sing Latin hymns like real Austrian nuns! The choreography by Laura Anderson is innovative and moving. Producer Marilyn Conroy keeps everything organized and ticking along like a well-oiled locomotive. The sets are attractive, cleverly designed and well-lit by the lighting and sound crew and the scene changes are smooth. The costumes were colourful and amazing. All the cast members were well cared for by the makeup crew – keep a look out for The Lonely Goatherd!

The improvement from one rehearsal to the next was impressive, with an upsurge in teamwork and enthusiasm. I think the audience will be swept up by this cast in the emotions of the story: an uncertain future, budding love, discovering talents, fear and determination. If you ever cry while watching a movie, bring several tissues to this production. When you are there, remember to encourage these outstanding young members of the community by cheering, clapping and laughing with enthusiasm. The show is held April 29 and 30, May 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14 at the Urbandale Arts Centre within the North Grenville Municipal Centre.

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