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GHS Performing Arts brings "The Sound of Music" to life

The GHS Performing Arts Department cast in costume ready to go on stage for a successful opening-night performance. 
 (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
November 16, 2011
Gilford High School's Preforming Arts Department (PAD) hosted their opening night of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" Friday, Nov. 11 to one of the largest opening-night crowds known to Director Matt Demko.

Demko and his cast and crew received much praise from the huge audience after the show Friday night, as the hard work from members of the PAD through the fall paid off on stage as they mastered the complexities of the classic piece.

"This is one of the biggest opening nights we've had," said Demko. "And on a holiday weekend, too."

Lead actors Parker Ayer, as Captian von Trapp, and Grace McLaughlin, as Maria Rainer, said they were glad to be through opening night.

"It feels great. It's a big relief," said Ayer. "We did it now, and we're going to keep on doing it."

This production makes three musicals in which Ayer, now a senior, has taken part. Though this will also be his final musical with the Gilford PAD, Ayer said he was glad to have such a positive reaction.

Ayer said he hopes to continue with small performing arts groups as he moves on from GHS to college next year.

McLaughlin, a junior, said she was also relived to have completed the first show, and the entire cast could now focus on improving.

"We have more to go, but it's nice to get the first one over and done with," said McLaughlin. "I think was good. We can still do a lot more, but it was good."

McLaughlin said there is always room for improvement, and she could not imagine doing anything else describing her time on stage as "awesome," adding "I love this."

McLaughlin is excited to have another whole year of performances with Gilford PAD.

After "The Sound of Music" is complete, Ayer and McLaughlin hope to be back on stage for the next GHS performance in March.

Prior to the performance, anxious feelings filled the green room as the cast and crew prepared for the first show, but Demko was positive that they were "ready to go."

"The kids are energized. They put in a lot of work," said Demko.

He said they had a few great runs in rehearsal, and students used that as motivation to carry themselves through the whole show.

"They used that momentum. It really helped carry them through," said Demko, "Everything comes together, with the set, and costumes start getting finished; they're ready to go."

Audience members had a very positive reaction at intermission, as they stretched their legs and enjoyed refreshments in the cafeteria. Many reminisced about their own experience with "The Sound of Music." Some told stories of their time playing a part in a production years ago, while others examined the differences between the live production and the movie.

Ayer's parents, John and Cheryl Ayer, came to support their son on opening night.

"It's a little different from the movie," said John Ayer. "It's tough when everyone knows the show so well."

"They always do such a good job," said Cheryl Ayer. "They did a fantastic job with the set."

The Ayers held very positive feelings towards GHS PAD based on their experiences with the past shows, and said this one held with the reputation of excellence.

Demko, cast and crew are exited to continue playing in front of large crowds for the remaining shows scheduled, and invite everyone in the community to come share in the laughter and excitement of this great show.

"It's a great show with a good message," said Demko.

There are three more opportunities to see "The Sound of Music" at GHS, with a senior show Thursday, Nov. 17 and two more shows on Nov. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door of the GHS auditorium, the Gilford Village Store and Greenlaw's Music in Laconia. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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