Symphony partners with the school system to prepare students for the next musical

The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra has partnered with Jamestown High School to help prepare student musicians for the school’s upcoming musical (Pexels/Ludwig Kwan)

WILLIAMSBURG-JAMES CITY COUNTY – Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (WJCC) has partnered with the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) to prepare student musicians at Jamestown High School (JHS) for the upcoming musical from school.

From April 28-30, JHS will present “Beauty & The Beast: The Broadway Musical,” which is based on the Disney animated film and licensed through the International Musical Theater Catalog.

Since March, the musical’s pit orchestra, made up of student musicians and led by JHS Senior Karin Hines, has been practicing for the upcoming show. A statement from the WSO says this will be the first time a student orchestra has performed live during a theatrical production since 2019.

WSO said this particular production includes more than 80 participating students across the cast, crew and orchestra.

“While we’ve been able to do taped performances, outdoor shows and even a little outdoor musical over the last 24 months of the pandemic, it’s nice to be back to something that feels normal,” said the drama teacher J. Harvey Stone.

To prepare for upcoming performances, professional WSO musicians worked with students on campus throughout April, providing them with an instrumental coaching experience.

This partnership is part of the WSO’s ongoing educational outreach initiatives, which focus on promoting lifelong musical opportunities and teaching collaborative ways to invite community members to a shared experience that enriches lives. The partnership is made possible by funding from the Huston Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Arts Commission of York County, Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, Newport News Arts Commission and of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra League.

“The dedicated students and teaching staff at WJCC Schools are to be commended for their tireless work and dedication to this production. Their enthusiasm, excellence and encouragement are really what made this partnership a success,” said JB Crowley, WSO Community Outreach and Marketing Manager. “Our WSO musicians look forward to educational outreach opportunities, especially those that allow them to make an immediate impact. Student musicians have invested a lot of effort in making this pit orchestra a success. The mutual support of students in all fine arts disciplines is truly touching and speaks to the character of these impressive young people.

JHS will present the musical from April 28-30. For more information or tickets, residents are encouraged to call (757) 259-3644.

Jeremy S. McLain