How to give nuns starting notes in The Sound of Music
Date: June 14, 2014
I am assisting with a community theatre production of "The Sound of Music." We have about 20 nuns ages 15-70, mostly inexperienced singers. We are struggling with two places in the musical where the nuns must start a piece a cappella. They are already onstage both times, so it is hard for someone to unobtrusively give notes with a pitch pipe such that everyone can hear, and it is critically important that they be spot-on, because the accompaniment track comes in part way through and will reveal if we are not in the right key! We are using the Rodgers and Hammerstein accompaniment tracks and have checked with the company if they can provide any supplemental accompaniment/cues, and they cannot. We also want to find something that will blend seamlessly into the rest of the accompaniment so the audience will be none the wiser that something was insterted just for the nuns to find their notes!
1) The scene where Maria is preparing for her wedding: The track plays a sort of modal version of "My Favorite Things," and then fades out. The nuns (already onstage) break into "Gaudeamus" starting on a big C major chord. (One idea we have had for this is to replay the chapel bells recording from Act 1 where an E chimes three times, and find our notes from that).
2) The "Finale Ultimo": Mother Abbess quotes Scripture to the VonTrapps while the nuns begin "Climb Every Mountain" on "ahh." The accompaniment comes in at "Follow every rainbow..."
Has anyone encountered this issue before? If so, what solution did you find? We would welcome any ideas! Thanks!
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