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Pittsburgh Youth Chorus gets little singers some big experience | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

Pittsburgh Youth Chorus gets little singers some big experience

Patrick Varine
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Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
From the left, Olivia Laubham, 13, of Harrison City and Evelyn Maiman, 12, of Murrysville pose for a photo on Friday, March 29, 2019.
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Submitted photo
Above, Olivia Laubham, 13, of Harrison City in costume for her role in Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of “The Tempest.”

A few years ago, Olivia Laubham and Evelyn Maiman were just starting out with the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus and were a little nervous about getting onstage.

Today, they might not be considered stage veterans yet, but after performances with the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Public Theater, they’re certainly not as nervous anymore.

“I feel really honored to be able to do these things,” said Laubham, 13, a seventh grader at Penn Middle School in the Penn-Trafford School District.

When several Pittsburgh-area performing groups are seeking child actors and singers, they put in a call to the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, formerly the Children’s Festival Chorus, founded in the 1980s to provide opportunity and choral education to artistically talented children.

Both Laubham and Maiman, 12, of Murrysville, a Franklin Regional student, joined PYC a few years ago and quickly found themselves stepping out onto larger and larger stages.

“I did some work with (Greensburg theater troupe) Stage Right, and was part of a performance of ‘Seussical (the Musical)’ at the Palace Theatre,” Laubham said. “I’d have never thought I’d be doing even bigger shows after that.”

Both girls sang during the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2018 production of “Te Deum”; they were part of the Pittsburgh Opera’s youth chorus during a run of “Hansel and Gretel”; they were among 22 PYC performers who took part in the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 2019 all-female production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”; and they are cast members in the Pittsburgh Opera’s late-March/early-April run of “La Boheme.”

All of that performing doesn’t leave a ton of time for homework.

“I’ll come home from school and only have a few minutes to do homework if I’m going to rehearsals all the time,” Laubham said.

Maiman, who along with Laubham was part of 17 “Tempest” performances in January and February, agreed.

“I have to make sure I have the time to do all the rehearsals when I sign up for a show,” she said.

Busy schedules, however, don’t make it any less enjoyable to step out onto a professional stage.

“Before the first (PYC) concert, I was just bouncing around, I was so excited,” Maiman said. “Then I saw the church where we were performing and how big it was. I was kind of amazed.”

Laubham said it’s quite an experience to see a theater from the stage instead of the audience.

“It’s so neat,” she said. “I got to be on the same stage where I’ve seen ‘Wicked’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera.’”

The PYC’s next choral concert will be John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children,” set for 4 p.m., April 14 at Moon Area High School.

For more, see PittsburghYouthChorus.org.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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