Pit Orchestra Forms to Play Music for Big Fish


Esther Puderbaugh

Liv Leman gets out her bass clarinet, which she is playing in the pit orchestra.

Esther Puderbaugh, Reporter

The cast of Big Fish has been announced, but another highly selective crew has been formed and has begun to rehearse.

Pit Orchestra Director Megan Stucky-Swanson said most students come to do it because it is fun.

“So I collect everybody’s names that are interested and this year I had an email sent out to all the band students and talked to my own orchestra students. Then I sat down with the band directors and went over the parts because a lot of them are quite difficult, and [from there] we picked out the appropriate players,” Stucky-Swanson said.

Stucky-Swanson believes that having live music for the musicals is very important. 

“It brings so much!” Stucky-Swanson said. “The energy between the pit and the cast just cannot be matched with a recording. We’re able to feed off each other and really create something pretty amazing.”

Pit orchestra is not only a large part of the show, it is a great learning experience for participants. 

“For string players, we are always focused on playing all the notes,” Stucky-Swanson said. “Pit is a completely different skill set and I think students learn a lot from it. Big Fish is a unique challenge because there is a lot of dialogue in the middle of songs so it isn’t like Les Miserables where you’re playing for three hours straight from beginning to end.”

Every spring, many instrumentalists have to make the tough decision between participating in the pit orchestra or other activities. 

So [my] plan was to do track, but when I looked at the schedules, they were happening at the same time,” Liv Leman ‘25 said. Leman is playing bass clarinet in pit orchestra. “I wanted to do pit though because I like band more than track.” 

Leman doesn’t regret her decision to participate in pit rather than track and is looking forward to it. 

I’ve never done anything like this before. I really like music, so any chance I get to play I’ll take it,” Leman said. “It’s really exciting. It’s not just pit either, [but] in general I’m really happy that I’ve had chances to be in different honor bands that other people my age can’t be in yet. [Also], I really like learning new music [and] that’s probably what I’m the most excited about.”

Stucky-Swanson is excited to be directing the ensemble again. 

“My favorite part [of directing the pit orchestra] is really building relationships with students I don’t really see on a daily basis or work with on a daily basis,” she said. “I get to work with a lot of the band kids and obviously the choir kids and it’s really fun to build those relationships and to see their hard work from the beginning all the way to closing night.”