Shelburne Free Press
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Export date: Tue Sep 25 2:09:01 2018 / +0000 GMT

Young pianist “scores” with Les Miserables




By Marni Walsh

Sixteen-year-old Shelburne-area pianist Nicholas Mustapha is taking on the 340 page score of one of Broadway's most beloved musicals - Les Miserables.

The Theatre Orangeville Young Company production is set to run the last weekend of July and Nicholas is rehearsing with the cast five days a week, as well as dedicating himself to hours of rehearsal at home, in order to have the challenging score ready for opening night on July 28.

Director Pamela Scott-Demetriou brought Nicholas on board in June when their long-time accompanist and musical director Joy Bell broke her hand, leaving her unable to play for the production.

“Working with Nicholas has been an absolute dream,” says Ms. Scott-Demetriou. “He is talented, yet humble, a perfectionist, but still confident when he isn't perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better musician to accompany this incredibly gifted cast.”

Nicholas is excited by the challenge and loves working under Pamela's direction.

He says one of his biggest thrills is being musically mentored by Joy Bell, who has stayed on as Musical Director, and Vocal Director and international opera singer Mark DuBois.

“I am learning so much just by watching them,” Nick said after a rehearsal, “not just piano, but singing – Mark is amazing.”

Nicholas first started playing piano at age five with Music for Young Children.

“I had a piano in my home and as a child would go and sit and play. My Mother's family members all have musical talents, so she put me into lessons quite early.”

Home schooled from the age of seven, Nicholas say he was allowed to focus on his piano, and “spend time to create.”

Currently, he is studying Grade 9 RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) piano and working towards his goal of more training at the post-secondary level and a career in music performance and education.

He says it is his dream to enrol in the four year Jazz Program at Humber College.

Even for a talented kid, a career in the arts is not an easy road. Nicholas says his love of music has meant countless hours of study, hard work and discipline.

“Many times I wanted to quit, but my parents encouraged me to keep going. It paid off in the end.”

When not busy with high school, where he leads the school jazz band in concerts and helps with the choir, Nick plays piano in a jazz trio, performing at area bars and restaurants; he often plays with local musicians; and performs piano solo for private events.

Nicholas admits playing the music for Les Miserables is more technically challenging for him than jazz music, but calls the score “breathtaking, dramatic, heart wrenching and beautiful.”

He says, “The music for Les Miserables “is amazing and will captivate the audience.”

The young pianist says he was surprised by the talented cast of young actors and vocalists, some as young as 12; in fact none of the actor-singers are older than 17 – one of the rules for this school edition of Les Miserables.

Avid fans of the show will notice only small differences from the full length production, but nothing significant is left out of the poignant musical based on the writings of famous French novelist Victor Hugo, published in 1862.

Les Miserable tells the story of several characters, but most centrally that of Jean Valjean and his journey to redemption and grace. It is set against the turbulent background of social injustices that spurred young students to revolt and sadly fall in the streets of Paris in 1832.

Tickets to see Nicholas and the Theatre Orangeville Young Company cast of Les Miserables directed by Pamela Scott-Demetriou, with Vocal Director Mark DuBois, Musical Director Joy Bell, and Assistant Director Dan Reale will soon be sold out. So, contact the box office for tickets ($18 for Adults/$15 for Students) at www.theatreorangeville.ca 1 or call today at 519-942-3423.
Links:
  1. http://www.theatreorangeville.ca
Post date: 2017-07-24 17:23:54
Post date GMT: 2017-07-24 21:23:54

Post modified date: 2017-08-08 14:15:08
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