Performing Arts at SV: Proud of the Past, Excited to Move Forward with Mr. Aaron Magill
Mr. Aaron Magill, Seneca Valley Senior High School Choral Director, All-School Musical Producer and Vocal Director
Aaron Magill is a graduate of Seneca Valley. He went on to major in Music Education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He spent his first years teaching in the Frederick County Public Schools in Frederick, Maryland. While teaching middle/elementary school choir and general music, he sang with the Master Chorale of Washington and the Professional singing group “The Washington Singers.”
Mr. Magill has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Avery Theater at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall in New York City and for several Christmas tree lightings at the White House. In 2003, Mr. Magill began his teaching career at Seneca Valley Senior High School in the Choral Department. He directs the Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Madrigal Singers, Women’s and Men’s Quartet and assists with the Show Choir. He is also the Producer and Vocal Director for the All-School Musical, Adviser to Tri M and is the intermediate high school (IHS) auditorium stage manager in charge of the IHS stage crew.
Under his direction, the choirs of the senior high school have consistently earned superior ratings and first place awards at music performance assessments and competitions throughout the country.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE WILL REVIEW:
FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)
File Name: Voices E34 Aaron Magill.mp3
File Length: 00:08:15
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Intro: Welcome to Voices, a podcast brought to you by the Seneca Valley School District.
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Jeff Krakoff: This is Jeff Krakoff, today we're speaking with Aaron Magill, who is the choir director at the senior high school and producer and vocal director for the high school musical. Thanks for joining us, Aaron.
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Jeff Krakoff: So tell us about this year's musical. What is it? When is it going to be?
00:00:28:10 - 00:00:59:08
Aaron Magill: So we're doing a musical adaptation of The Twelfth Night by Shakespeare. We're going to be doing it June 3rd through the 6th. So June 3rd, 4th and 5th will be at seven-thirty at night and June 5th and 6th will also have a two o'clock afternoon matinee. And unlike the past, normally we have it here at the school. But we're going to be doing this at the Cranberry Amphitheater at the Cranberry Park so we can do it outside of a nice live audience.
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Aaron Magill: while also live streaming.
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Jeff Krakoff: OK, that's awesome.
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Jeff Krakoff: So for those of us that might not be brushed up on our Shakespeare, what is the overall gist and plot of the musical?
00:01:10:28 - 00:01:44:19
Aaron Magill: Twelfth Night is kind of a funny comedy of errors. There's a young girl and boy who are shipwrecked and the girl washes up on the shore of Illyria. She does not know if your brother's alive or not. She needs work and she wants to work for the Duke. But the Duke only hires men, so she decides to dress like her brother to get the job for the Duke. So that obviously brings some some situations. The Duke is in love with the countess. He sends the girl to send his love to the countess.
00:01:44:29 - 00:02:06:01
Aaron Magill: The countess starts to fall in love with the girl dressed as her brother. And you can see the hilarity that can ensue. Her brother ends up coming into the picture. He is alive. He doesn't know his sister is alive. People mistake one for the other. So there's all this kind of fun, fun stuff going on.
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Jeff Krakoff: That'll be definitely some fun.
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Jeff Krakoff: So you mentioned this will be at an amphitheater, obviously, due to COVID-19. Are there any other aspects of the pandemic is affecting whether it's rehearsals, other preparations?
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Aaron Magill: Right. Yeah, normally we rehearse, have auditions in November, rehearse in January, February and put on the show in March. We put all that off so that we could be outside. Obviously, we didn't want to do an amphitheater show in March. So we're doing this in June, the very last week of school, hoping that we'll have great weather and that that will cooperate with us so we can perform this outside so we can have a live audience.
00:02:49:18 - 00:03:10:29
Aaron Magill: We have a little bit smaller cast to try to keep them spaced out. We will be wearing masks even though we're outside. The students all wear masks during rehearsals and during the performances. So all kinds of that kind of stuff. But the music's still great. The kids are doing a great job acting and we're having a good, good time. And I think it'll still be a great Seneca Valley production.
00:03:11:05 - 00:03:19:06
Jeff Krakoff: OK, well, you mentioned it's a smaller cast than maybe in past years, but I think as we all know, there's so many more people involved than just the cast.
00:03:20:07 - 00:03:25:03
Jeff Krakoff: How many students, how many faculty who's all involved to make something like this happen?
00:03:25:17 - 00:03:58:23
Aaron Magill: OK, so I'm the producer and the vocal director. I do kind of the business end of things and I work on the vocals. Stephen Santa is the director that does all the staging and the blocking and the artistic view of the show. Devon Brown is our choreographer. Bruce Smith is our orchestra director. He'll direct the pit band, which this year will be on stage. They're actually a part of the show. They're kind of they're in Illyria, a little band. And one of the characters kind of pretends she's the leader of the band in the show.
00:03:58:25 - 00:04:10:12
Aaron Magill: So that's kind of fun. And Amber Hugus is our stage manager. She also works here at the district. So there are many, many, many, many adults. We have costumers and makeup people.
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Aaron Magill: We have students that help us with sound and lights. We have students that help with costumes, students that help with backstage, moving the props, all of that kind of stuff. So we have approximately 50 students in the cast.
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Aaron Magill: And I'd say we probably have another probably about 50
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Aaron Magill: in back stage production work.
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Jeff Krakoff: Great. Great. So can you give us a snapshot of some of the things that go on behind the scenes to make a production like this come to life?
00:04:42:03 - 00:05:08:18
Aaron Magill: Well, we've been to the amphitheater several times, we've been meeting with light and sound folks looking at where we can hang lights to light the stage up, where we can put the sound. We've been meeting with the costumer, talking about all of that kind of one of our set design this year is going to be kind of, the inspiration was Randy Land, if you're familiar with Randy Land on the North Shore, I have want to describe it a little bit.
00:05:08:20 - 00:05:11:27
Jeff Krakoff: I've seen it on television, but maybe not all of our listeners have.
00:05:12:10 - 00:05:42:10
Aaron Magill: Right. So I guess Randy has this vision, and it's a very colorful area. I live not too far from there. Everything in his house is very colorful. He uses lots of reclaimed items for his garden. People can go and walk through, although I think at the moment because of COVID, it's kind of closed. But that kind of our vision for Illyria so our set is very colorful, lots of different things, reclaimed items to make it very bright, kind of fun.
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Jeff Krakoff: Sounds great. It's great. So this is a great training ground for students.
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Jeff Krakoff: Have you had students in past years gone on to to make this their professional vocation, whether it's acting or some other form of of musicals and entertainment?
00:05:58:16 - 00:06:15:20
Aaron Magill: Absolutely. We have students that have done both backstage and and in front of the stage, I think of one Conner Gillooly was a student who was here. He was in Oklahoma and in Little Shop of Horrors. He's gone on. He was actually the lead on Broadway in School of Rock.
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Jeff Krakoff: Wow.
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Aaron Magill: And did that for quite a while until that closed. And then he did the tour for School of Rock as the lead. I believe it was the Asian tour. I think he was in Vietnam and Korea. So he's gotten to do some really great things.
00:06:30:15 - 00:06:56:26
Aaron Magill: Josh Smith, Josh Smith Tolle told he was in the touring show of Kinky Boots is one of our very talented actors that has gone on to New York. We have some some girls who've gone on to do stuff with costuming in New York and a couple of girls who've done stage management who've gone on to do stage management for Disney. And there's one that's working on some stage management stuff up in New York.
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Jeff Krakoff: So you could make this your life's work or it's just one great activity that you'll remember the rest of your life that you've done in high school.
00:07:05:27 - 00:07:09:24
Jeff Krakoff: So tell people again if they're interested, how do they get tickets?
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Jeff Krakoff: And I understand that people can also watch virtually. Is that right?
00:07:15:02 - 00:07:48:25
Aaron Magill: So there'll be two options for tickets. Either in person will probably limit to about two hundred, two hundred and fifty and kind of spaced out in the yard there at the amphitheater. And if you prefer to watch it virtually, we'll have a virtual fee for the weekend of the show and you'll be able to purchase those tickets sometime in April. We'll be putting up a link on the school's website at svsd.Net. We'll link on the front page where you can go to get tickets both kinds. They'll be two separate links, one for in-person and one for the virtual.
00:07:48:29 - 00:07:52:18
Jeff Krakoff: Got it. When do you think that will be wive on the website for people to see?
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Aaron Magill: Probably around the middle of April, I would say, from April 15.
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Ok great, well everybody check out the website in mid to late April, get your tickets, learn how you can watch it virtually.
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Jeff Krakoff: This was Aaron Magill. Thanks so much for joining us.
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Aaron Magill: You're welcome. Thank you.
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Jeff Krakoff: Take care.