FOOD AND WINE...AND SOME IVORY by Thomas Putnam
I've been reminded the past few weeks of a particular person who means a great deal to me...and ultimately to you. The person is “the accompanist.” With the commencement of the new season of the HG Choral Program for kids in grades 2-12, and planning ahead for music gigs in October and even the musicals for 2023, and the fast-approaching musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, I am reminded that I and the projects I direct are worth very little without an accompanist. Wait, let me clarify that...without a really good accompanist.
I don't think most people realize the value of a confident, talented, flexible, selfless accompanist. HG has been hugely blessed with just such people. Over the years Kay Galloway, Marian Miller, Cheri Ayres have all bolstered our choirs and shows. More recently Parker Neal, Adam Mahonsky, and others have sat on the bench, which we might call the Mercy Seat. Without the strong support of those who sit at the piano, the choir or the show simply falters.
In the past few weeks, two guys have reminded me of this. Gary Citro became our accompanist for the choirs last year, and as we begin this year, he is once again is faithfully providing the support the singers need. He also played for the melodrama and the Animal Crackers show this summer! We couldn't do it without him.
Derek Young was the choir accompanist a few years ago. He also accompanied a few shows and traveled with the choirs on tour. Last month he came to our rescue when we were in great need of a solid accompanist for MY WAY, which opens next Friday. Though now living in Sayre and with a full schedule, he's making the time to accompany the four singers as they croon their way through 50 songs made famous by Sinatra. We couldn't do it without him.
When you attend an HG event, or a high school concert, or a Wellsboro Men's or Women's concert, take the time to thank Pat Davis and Judy Smithgall and Marian Miller and whomever is on the Mercy Seat, tickling those ivories and providing the support the singers need.