By Mia Randall Managing Editor
As the El Camino band and the drama programs prepare to perform the “Oklahoma!” musical next week, they expected everything to be in place and ready for them to start dress rehearsals, but that is not the case.
The orchestra pit, where the band is expected to play, is covered and not at all ready for opening night just days away on Mar 10.
The performing arts center has been often unoccupied and relatively underused since it has been built. The original design had a temporary stage that could be assembled over the orchestra pit to bring the pit level up with the audience or even higher to the performance stage. Later, the builders added earthquake reinforcement beams to the pit area, only allowing the stage to be level with the audience.
Communication between the district facilities department and the El Camino performing arts programs has been a challenge as opening night approaches.
El Camino Plant Supervisor Andrew Freitas said the process should be simple but there have to be certain safety measures taken to undergo this task. Freitas doesn’t know when the cover will be removed, but he has been working with maintenance and operations to find a solution as quickly as possible.
Band Teacher Gabriel Read mentioned he is excited about having the EC band perform for the “Oklahoma!” musical. Although it is a very stressful time and he is hoping that the orchestra pit will be ready by the time “Oklahoma!” opens, Read said that they will have to get creative and, if that happens, most likely play at audience-level, which is not ideal.
“We need to be heard as much as possible and seen as little as possible,” Read said.
He also added that this small bump in the road has not affected band preparations at all and that the show must go on, in the orchestra pit or out.
Drama Teacher Christopher Travlos said the district has been lacking in communication with El Camino in terms of the orchestra pit situation, but he’s confident that it’s going to happen. Travlos said he has been fighting very hard to give the Center for the Arts building’s multipurpose use back to El Camino students.
To purchase tickets, visit elcaminoperformingarts.ticketleap.com/oklahoma. The show runs Mar. 10-12.
Since this article was published on Mar. 3, the temporary cover is now removed and the orchestra pit is now ready for opening night.