BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) announced today that it will hold auditions for its Musical Theatre Arts Company Instrumental Ensemble class on November 15, 2016 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. The Instrumental Ensemble, for instrumental students ages 10 through adults, is a 15-week program dedicated to the analysis and performance of Stiles and Drewe’s Honk! in collaboration with the Musical Theatre Arts Company.  During rehearsals, students learn valuable sight-reading skills, teamwork, and the adaptive, dynamic experience of playing in a pit band for a live musical.  Participants in the Instrumental Ensemble are given the opportunity to arrange their own parts as well as performing alongside experienced faculty members.  Under the direction of composer, pianist, and teaching artist David Seamon, the Instrumental Ensemble works alongside the Musical Theatre Arts Company to present a uniquely student-driven production of Honk!, a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story The Ugly Duckling, incorporating a message of tolerance.

Students interested in auditioning should prepare one solo piece and be prepared to sight-read a short excerpt and may register for an audition online at www.WhartonArts.org or by calling the student Services office at 908-790-0700.  Audition registration is free. Accepted students will participate in the weekly class on Tuesdays from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. beginning February 28, 2017. Additional Technical and Dress Rehearsals are June 3 from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. and June 15 from 5:45 - 7:45 p.m.  Performances are June 18 at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. 

Pianist, singer, and composer David Seamon, a graduate of Rutgers University, has worked on stage and behind the scenes for community theater, regional theater, and Off Broadway. He is a Teaching Artist at the George Street Playhouse, where he has composed music for original plays written by New Brunswick public school students, as well as composed and arranged for a mainstage event, Our Town Now (2014). In the Spring of 2015, David composed four original musicals about the Industrial Revolution which were performed at the George Street Playhouse. At The Workshop Theater in Manhattan, Mr. Seamon worked one-on-one with a songwriter to arrange and transcribe a full length musical, The Kingdom of Vincent Grapelli (2015). He composed the award-winning score to the short film Melody, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, receiving the Silver Tripod Award, Campus Moviefest. David is a certified cantor, voice and piano teacher, and avid songwriter and performer. David joins the WMC faculty as the Musical Theatre Arts Company Instrumental Ensemble Director.

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The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.

The Paterson Music Project is Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program held at the Community Charter School of Paterson and Paterson Public School 1/26. Students receive 6 hours of intensive music instruction each week with the goal of creating social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.