Girl, 11, to play in pit — as first chair
By Rachel Basinger
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
When the actors of “Oliver” take the stage on Thursday in Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale, there will be at least one young lady who will be experiencing the thrill of an audience and their reaction for the first time.
But she won't be on the stage. Instead, 11-year-old Michelle McCalmont of Donegal, will be playing first-chair violin in the pit orchestra.
Music director Rebekah Laughlin said her mother is good friends with Beth McCalmont, Michelle's mom.
“My mom knew Michelle played the violin and mentioned that we needed people for the orchestra for this show,” Laughlin said.
Beth McCalmont said she was thrilled when she was approached about the opportunity.
“I had actually been praying the Lord would provide an orchestra locally for Michelle,” she said. “I knew she would just enjoy playing with other people.”
Michelle was thrilled.
The young musician began playing the piano at 6, the violin at 8 and the guitar at 11. She taught herself to play the ukulele and the autoharp.
“I was surprised and excited when I was asked, but this is my very first musical so I said yes,” Michelle said.
During the past several years, she has played in her local church and at her brother's recent wedding.
“God gave me a talent, and it's my duty to give it back to him,” Michelle said.
Beth McCalmont said that after just the first practice, Michelle was totally alive.
“She wasn't tired at all,” she said. “I think it was one of the best days of her life. This has really been good for her. It has really sparked her loving her violin more.”
McLaughlin said she is thrilled to have Michelle as part of the orchestra.
“I think I knew she had talent, but I wasn't expecting her to be 11 and to be playing first violin already,” she said.
Along with Michelle, Laughlin said she is very grateful for the rest of her orchestra as well, all of whom are volunteers.
“My musicians have worked really hard and the fact that they come out and volunteer their time for community theater is so awesome and so appreciated,” she said.
Michelle said she is already looking forward to the next play.
Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Unity woman loses appeal of DUI conviction
- Jeannette to use grant to secure Monsour
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Wilkinsburg man jailed in heroin overdose case
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends
- Mt. Pleasant’s St. Pius X serves up Lenten meals
- Mt. Pleasant board to vote on contract with Volz
- Homicide charge added in Derry death
- Greensburg Salem raising funds for fitness equipment
- Police charge New Alexandria man with using counterfeit money