Disney HSM – Cast and Musician Photos

Disney’s High School Musical opened at McIntyre Hall on March 23, 2007 for a three week run. Here are some photos of the HSM cast and musicians in rehearsal. Full cast is almost sixty strong and the live pit band is seven musicians (and six keyboards!).

High School Musical Cast at McIntyre Hall – Warmups



HSM Cast in General Rehearsal



HSM Musicians Setting Up In Orchestra Pit


Rhythm Section Compares Notes





Conductor’s Keyboard Rig



Oscar De La Rosa – Percussion


Scott McDade – Director


Cathy Pfahl – Costume Design


Theater Arts Guild Gobo



Jann Barem and Harold Paige


Disney High School Musical


Mount Vernon, WA – Disney’s High School Musical opens at McIntyre Hall (Mount Vernon, WA) on March 23, 2007 for a threek week run. Included in the run is a school show and a bargain night on Thursday March 29th.

This show is the latest craze with pre-teen audiences. See it and find out what the fad is all about. It’s silly, it’s fun and great family entertainment. And the message of the play is fantastic: Don’t accept what others think about you, follow your dreams.

I can tell you we have a very strong ensemble chorus and we’re all looking forward to the opening. If you have a child in elementary or middle school, this would be a great show to see with them.

See you at the show!

Bringing Vocals Forward

The challenging part of vocal coaching is getting singers to understand the feeling of vocal placement for their particular voice. It’s common at some point to show a vocalist an actual anatomy picture of the throat and muscles involved in vocal production. After that, it’s a mind game to have them understand the nuance of their own instrument.

One way to have singers bring the sound forward is to have them push out with their hands slowly while they are singing. It will look something like water aerobics – a bit silly looking and awkward. But I’ve heard this work well with individuals and especially in larger vocal ensembles. Just in bringing the hands forward I would estimate a 30% increase in overall volume without degradation of tone.

With a vocalist recently we tried this excercise but it wasn’t producing the desired effect. So I had them actually walk forward slowly while singing several phrases. For this particular vocalist it did the trick. The lightbulb went off in their head and they were very excited to feel the difference in bringing the sound forward.

Often I have heard a vocalist who is singing individual notes, but not driving through the end of a phrase. It’s as if they are sitting complacently on each note. The hand and walking excersises prove useful in getting a vocalist to visualize the forward motion of a phrase.

When a vocal phrase is “given up on” before it’s completion, it’s not very interesting to listen to. Why should the listener be engaged if the vocalist is not interested in the phrase? By singing through with intent to the very last note of a phrase, the listener is engaged in what is happening.

The walking forward is nothing I have ever read about – but came about because of a related idea I keep in mind. If you are instructing someone and they are not fully grasping the thought then you have two basic approaches: you can keep repeating the same information until they get it, or you can find a new way to explain the concept. I have found that finding a new analogy or explanation is infinitely more productive. I’ve slowly made it a habit. The reward is seeing the lightbulb shine in someone’s eyes; yes, they’ve got it!

And the thought that drives the creation of different examples is this: Know the final outcome you want. Chances are there are many varied roads to get there. Just pick one.

High School Musical Part Two

hsm2poster.jpgHigh School Musical Part Two begins production soon. The movie is slated to begin production in Utah on February 19th, 2007.

On February 9th, it was reported that three of the cast members are holding out for a more lucrative contract. The actors reported to be involved in the dispute are Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu and Vanessa Anne Hudgens. Disney Channel representatives claimed rehearsals would begin on schedule at the end of February.


To stay together as a team during the summer, the East High Wildcats get jobs at the Evans’ country club as caddies, bus boys, and cooks. Every year the country club puts on a show in which all the club members and employees put on their own acts. Sharpay unites the club members, while the basketball team organizes the employees.

The producer, Bill Borden, has confirmed that Troy will kiss Gabriella, and that there will be a musical number that occurs at the swimming pool.


Directed by Kenny Ortega
Produced by Bill Borden
Written by Peter Barsocchini
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman
Distributed by Disney Channel
Planned Release date August 17, 2007
Preceded by High School Musical
Followed by Haunted High School Musical

HSM Musician Rehearsals

High School Musical rehearsal schedule for musicians can be found here: HSM Musician Rehearsal Schedule. HSM musicians please visit that page for updates and musician-specific info. Still need two guitars and latin percussion. If you play either of these instruments and have contacted me, please email me again.

Would also still like two marching Sousaphones and a 4 team drum line for a couple numbers.

Definition of Tessitura

Literally, “tessitura” is the Italian for “texture.” So it isn’t just the range of pitches that is included in the concept of “tessitura”, but also their arrangement. Examples of differences in tessitura include: does the piece have mostly sudden or gradual rises and falls in pitch; the relative number of very high or low notes, not just the total range; whether lines and phrases of music in the piece tend to rise or fall – the muscular tendencies of a singer may be more suited to one or the other direction. Speed of the changes in pitch is also a factor.

The ability to sing pieces with fast or slow note-changes is related to the muscular tendencies of a singer. This difference may be similar to, or identical to, the distinction made in sports medicine between slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscular abilities. Singers who can change pitch easily and gracefully may have difficulty singing long, sustained passages, and vice versa. Young singers need to learn this and until they do, may choose pieces which they can’t sing well — the tessitura needs to be considered.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessitura

Pharyngeal Vowel Exercise

Pharyngeal Vowel Exercise:


The next step is to work with the pharyngeal vowel exercise that I designed years ago. I have found it works with approximately 95% of singers. Have the singer sing a 5-tone descending scale with the tongue between the lips imaging the vowel space straight back behind the tongue. Then have the singer place the tongue inside the mouth and sing the five basic vowels in any sequence KEEPING the pharyngeal vowel space behind the tongue root. You will find a large, resonant, yet body-connected sound results. Vocalizing with the tongue between the lips in the middle register demands a body connection and this is a good way for teachers to vocalize any student who has difficulty with this concept.

Causes of Vocal Fatigue

Causes of Vocal Fatigue by David Jones (2001) VoiceTeacher.com.


(1) Smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages.

(2) Belting: using too much chest voice pushed up to high in the scale.

(3) Using a technique with a tight solar plexus during singing.

(4) Singing with a high larynx.

(5) Singing with a low soft palate.

(6) Singing with a forward jaw position.

(7) Singing with the vocal cords too far apart or too squeezed together.

(8) Pushing too much breath pressure through the larynx.

(9) Incorrect posture; dropped chest or hyper-extended chest.

(10) Singing with the head posture pushed forward from the spine.

(11) Use of mouth vowels instead of pharyngeal vowels.

(12) Unsupported singing; lack of connection to the resistance of breath pressure in the lower back and abdominal muscles.

Visualization Rehearsal Tip

During an initial rehearsal with the vocal chorus of a musical, something seemed out of place to me. The cast was very talented, there was just a lack of focus. How do you get all that talent to bring it as far as they can? I spent the better part of a week mulling this over. I came to the conclusion that the lack of focus had nothing to do with a lack of intent. It had more to do with a lack of knowledge on how to rehearse most effectively. Or more accurately, a lack of quality rehearsal habits.
Thoughts and actions repeated become habits. Through repetition you can create the habits you want for your cast that will make the difference in between an ok show and an exciting adventure.

Breaking in a cast can seem a little like breaking in a horse. So know in advance what your expectations are and keep driving that home until it happens without thinking. Here’s a two step process I used tonight for breaking in a new cast and I feel it was effective.


I think a non-equity (read non-professional) cast needs a delineation for when concentration begins. I began by showing them a hand clap signal. I clap a “ta-ta-teetee-ta” rhythm and they respond in like. Over the evening we repeated this with an expectation of total silence at the end. Perhaps a little grade-schoolish, but a good tool bringing a large cast back to focus. If there wasn’t silence then I would repeat the sequence. The whole idea being to make the instant focus switch a habit.
Most pros have an imaginary veil they step through that delineates a time for focus. At some point they were probably taught how to do that. If there’s something you do well, there’s probably a little pause you take before beginning the task. That’s your mental preparation.


I had the cast split up into four sections. We did “Row Row Row Your Boat” as a round with each part singing once through and starting every other line. There were some snickers because that was a bit silly. Then I asked them to do it again but not to sing. They were instructed to hear the parts in their head. There were a lot of confused looks and hands went flying up, and I just cued the first group who started singing. A few started singing, not quite understanding the game yet. I stopped and told them again that we were doing the song but no one should sing, they should just hear it in their head. I started the first group, then the other three.

Here’s the great part. In many of the cast’s eyes I could see a lightbulb shining. An “AHA” moment. Many of them could indeed hear the singing in their minds. I wonder if for some of them this was the first exposure they had to visualization as a rehearsal tool.

Then they were instructed that while one part was practicing, they should be running their own parts in their minds. That’s the purpose of this exercise. For cast members to get in the habit of rehearsing parts in their head while other groups are singing.

Keep demonstrating different takes on visualization until it becomes a habit for the cast. As a musician, I can see most of the music I play in my head. If I can’t see it, that means I don’t really have a grasp on it. Many times I’ll practice in my head to find out the rough parts I need to work on. If I can’t see it, then that’s what I have to work on.

May seem like work, but this is one rehearsal tip for lazy people. By incorporating visualization into your practice time you can get as much done in 1/3 the time.

If you have other visualization tips for actors and singers please drop a comment here and let me know about them.