Life lessons learned on stage

Seventy Six trombones may be in the big parade, but life lessons are what stacked up for the St. Edmond students involved in the presenting the wholesome comedy of the “The Music Man.”

Performances of the classic Iowa-based musical will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Msgr. Kelly Auditorium at St. Edmond High School, 501 N. 22nd St. Additionally, a 2 p.m. matinee will be offered on Saturday.

Of all the lessons to be learned staging a musical production, Cal Coleman, who plays the male lead of “Professor” Harold Hill, said what he has taken away from the experience is a reminder of a very basic life principle.

“I learned that you should always tell the truth,” he said, “no matter what. It’s something that happens in this play. Harold isn’t the most truthful and it comes back to bite him. You should always tell the truth even if it leads to a consequence.”

By Meredith Wilson, the musical revolves around Hill, a confidence man who travels around to small towns and sells musical instruments and band uniforms under the promise that he will form a band for the residents. Instead, he collects the money then disappears.

When he lands in River City, though, his typical scheme goes awry when he falls for the skeptical librarian and piano teacher, Marian. She, in turn, becomes conflicted whether to expose Hill’s scheme after he helps her younger brother overcome his lisp and social awkwardness.

The score includes such well-known and popular songs as “(Ya Got) Trouble,” “Iowa Stubborn,” “Seventy-six Trombones,” and “Til There Was You.” And while the refrains and lyrics of those numbers easily pop to mind, bringing the songs alive on stage takes more effort than humming a few bars. It takes cohesion within the group.

“I think our audiences will really be able to see our students function as a group,” said Nicole Brown, musical director of the production.

Spectators and ticket-holders will definitely notice the St. Edmond students have matured, both on stage and off, said Katie Ahlers, who plays the role of Marian.

“Staging a production is a lot of work and you have to learn to just stop and let yourself breathe. And I think that’s how things can be in life, too.”