Conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson never considered herself an entrepreneur. But as founder of Philadelphia’s Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, that’s exactly what she’s become. And she and her orchestra are getting noticed.
Listen to the Story
Go behind the scenes of the BalletMetâ€™s performance of The Nutcracker and find out what it takes to corral hundreds of children who rotate in and out of the companyâ€™s 18 performances.
“A theater is set up in a way to be able to mask what happens backstage so that whatever you see onstage is the part we want everyone to enjoy. And you don’t necessary have to know that backstage there’s a lot of scurrying aroundâ€¦” said Daryl Kamer, rehearsal director.
It can get “pretty wild,” she adds.
Amy Huffman, a parent volunteer (also called “kid wrangler”), said that all the parents get involved in some aspect of the production.
There are about 130 students (ages 7 to 19) performing in BalletMet’s The Nutcracker. Huffman said that the students are very dedicated, but when you have so many students, “it’s a lot like herding cats sometimes.”
Lorrie Strum, head chaperone, describes some of what is involved in coordinating the kids costumes, dress, make-up, and with the stage.
Cannon Silver, another kid wrangler, said “It’s the process of building character in these young dancers â€¦ that is really the greatest value from this experience, and the chance to be on stage, to be graceful, and to act a part, and to have that experience of touching other peoples livesâ€¦”
“The Nutcracker is our gift to the community,” said Catherine Yoshimura of BalletMet.