• Broadway Beat

Knitting, Painting, Changing Your Car's Oil: Activities for Orchestra Between "Sound of Music" Songs

by Maury Levine. Facebook: maurylevineauthor. TikTok: @maurylevinedrums. Twitter: @MauryLevine.

The Sound of Music is one of the most beloved musicals in all of theatre - and by "beloved" we mean, "Running nearly three hours, but having the orchestra play for only thirty minutes of that time." After fielding complaints from bored and sleepy members of their orchestra, Westlake Community Theatre of Kenosha, Wisconsin is allowing the musicians to pass the down time in unique ways during the production.


Flute 1 player Margaret Meade has learned knitting from YouTube videos and has knitted a bonnet for her cat Sniffles, a shawl for her Aunt Clara, and made herself a cozy pink case for her flute - all over the course of one performance's first act.


Trumpet 2 player Lee Carlile is finally writing his debut novel The Mysterious Arpeggio. With hundreds of tacet measures, Lee has had time to write, edit, and rewrite his hard-boiled crime tale. Lee's book tells the story of Jimmy Fisticuffs, a private investigator known for his hot temper and questionable interrogation tactics. Jimmy's secret desire? To play trumpet in a swinging big band.


Percussionist Larry Murray has used his spare time between songs to learn auto repair and has opened an express oil change business in the theatre's parking lot. Between pianissimo triangle hits, Larry is able to change oil for up to seven cars per show.


Tuba player Mark Diddums has taken up painting and is secretly painting a picture of flutist Margaret Meade as she knits. Mark plans to present it to her at the conclusion of the show's run and to finally profess his love to her.


Violin 1 player Elenore Swanson is learning magic, with an emphasis on close-up and sleight of hand tricks. Despite losing a finger to a card trick gone horribly wrong, Elenore leaves between songs to headline a magic show at the local Holiday Inn bar.


Horn 3 player Justin Henry is currently taking French horn lessons. Having faked playing the French horn since high school, Justin hopes to finally learn how to get his instrument to make a sound.


Keyboard 1 player Andrew Westlake has planted a flower garden next to the dumpster behind the theatre. In addition to having a green thumb, Andrew is also a shrewd entrepreneur. Having first sold Mark Diddums the supplies for his painting of Margaret Meade, he plans to sell the flowers to him at an outrageous mark-up.