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Local band provides music for BMC play

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MALONE - Those who attend the Brushton-Moira Central School play will get an extra treat when they get to hear the play’s musical pieces performed by popular local rock/country/bluegrass band Thirty1&Mandolin.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will feature around 20 songs performed by students in grades three through 12 and Thirty1&Mandolin.

“We had a late start because we didn’t know nobody was available until December,” said sound board director Joy Hastings. “So that’s why the musical is late this year.”

She said the last few school musical plays have just used piano music or “canned” music.

“The last time that we had a pit band was several years ago,” Ms. Hastings said.

“Joy and I have been friends for a while and she had told me how she was going to take on this musical,” said Thirty1&Mandolin lead vocalist and keyboardist Travis Preve, adding that Ms. Hastings asked several people if they would be interested in performing for the play, but people were busy.

“Our band has preformed here at Brushton a few times for fundraisers,” Mr. Preve said, adding that the band played two concerts for the Dollars For Scholars Scholarship Fund.

“So, her thought was, we were kind of known as a band to the people here ... so I kind of volunteered the guys to do it,” Mr. Preve said.

However, his bandmates were unsure of the idea at first.

Mandolin and acoustic guitar player Corey Monette said his first reaction was, “Are you kidding me? But it’s actually been really fun.”

Electric and acoustic guitarist Jim Stickney said he didn’t know what to think at first, though he is enjoying his time performing for the show now.

“It’s out of our comfort zone, but the music is really catchy,” Mr. Stickney said.

Thirty1&Mandolin bass and guitar player Corey Maneely said he thought it was “a really good idea.”

“When we first listened to the CD, I realized how much work we had to do; breaking the music down, putting our own little spin on it,” he said. “Travis wouldn’t put us up to something he didn’t feel like he couldn’t actually achieve.”

Drummer Mike Dufort didn’t know what to expect.

“I was excited about it, but I was a little nervous,” he said. “It’s not really a style of music I have a lot of experience with.”

However, that changed quickly.

“It’s really come together quite well, I think,” Mr. Dufort said.

Preve noted the band doesn’t strictly follow the way the songs are usually played.

“We keep the melodies and the basics of the song, but we kind of make it our own as well,” he said.

Preve said the biggest challenge of agreeing to perform was working with everyone’s schedules.

“I kind of became the default music director because I would come every night and work with the kids. I could then go to the band when they were available and then say, ‘OK, this is how we’re doing it,’” he said, noting that he was already familiar with some of the songs. “There were a couple of pieces we knew would be tough, but with the exception of those few pieces, it came together very nicely. The kids are so talented.”

“We have incredible talent,” Ms. Hastings said. “The kids have blown me away and all of us away.”

Mr. Preve said the band only rehearsed a total of five times with the students in the play.

“So it was challenging,” he said.

Mr. Preve also helped design some of the set work, noting that two of his nephews are in the play.

Ms. Hastings described this musical as the “most fun” out of all the plays she’s been a part of — “and it’s my favorite.”

“I figured if I was going to do a musical, it better be one I know because I’ve never directed before,” she said, noting that she was in charge of the spotlight for this particular musical at a theater camp when she was still in high school.

“The show is a very famous show,” Ms. Hastings said, noting that this is the first time the play will be performed at BMC. “This musical has been done in 20,000 public schools.”

Ms. Hastings said the story line is “great.”

“It’s a story about never giving up on your dreams, no matter what,” she said.

The musical is a “retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and the coat of many colors,” according to the musical’s pamphlet.

Jim Berns is the stage director and Rachael Ghostlaw was in charge of the choreographer, according to Ms. Hastings.

Though Mr. Preve was unsure if Thirty1&Mandolin would perform for school musicals again, his bandmates said otherwise.

“I think it’d be interesting,” Mr. Monette said. “It was definitely a new chapter in our musical lives, I know that.”

Other band members said they would “definitely” perform for a school play again.

The play is tonight at 8 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Cost is $7 and $5 students and senior citizens.

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