The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The seventh annual awards take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. (Reserve your seat here.) Each year, we single out one category for further recognition on the NewsCenter. This year, we are spotlighting the five schools nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra.
Castle View High School
Jay McGuffin, Orchestra Director
- How does one become an Orchestra Director, anyway? The desire to create music has to be the most important influence. The desire I had on my own instrument went through a metamorphosis. I wanted to be part of something greater than myself. I did a lot of practice conducting when I was in grade school. (I would literally mimic the conducting patterns drawn on the inside of my music folder with my bow in hand). In college, as a music education major, I enrolled in two conducting classes that furthered my knowledge and ability. I was fortunate to have excellent mentors in my life in the world of conducting. Thomas Wilson, Allen McMurray and Larry Livingston have all influenced my conducting over the years. Professionally, I have been involved in more than 40 musical productions that have helped me understand the specific challenges and ways to problem solve certain situations that can come up in musical theatre.
- How much are you in charge of at your school? Although I work primarily with the instrumentalists, I have provided vocal help and suggestions when appropriate. As a team, we feel very comfortable with allowing one another to speak up in rehearsal about all aspects of production without feeling like we are stepping on toes.
- Which musical players are hardest to find at your school? Guitar and French Horn.
- What is the value of a full, robust (and on-note!) orchestra to an overall production? Taking pride in the final product begins with attention to detail at the beginning. We see all aspects of theatre as equal – on stage, tech and orchestra). If one falls short, we all fall short. All students help one another and no single person is placed above anyone else. The orchestra understands this commitment and the importance of holding our end of this contract.
- Shout out one of your kids: That is difficult for me because I look at every member having to overcome personal obstacles in order to be a fully functional and necessary piece of our final orchestra. I will say Miles Hundley, a junior, has proven to be a highly versatile member. He performs on cello, guitar and banjo. I think most people would not peg him as a musician given his very mathematically analytical vibe combined with a cowboy way of doing things on a daily basis. He is a problem-solver and gets things done.
- What does it mean to your students to be nominated for this Bobby G Award? I think my students are still in shock to receive such incredible recognition. We tend be our own worst critics, and it is challenging to accept such a meaningful compliment. With that said, our students hold great pride in creating memorable moments in our performances. This production of Mamma Mia! will remain a positive memory for our students for the rest of their lives.
- What is the greatest orchestra performance you have ever personally witnessed? That would have to be Itzhak Perlman’s ‘97 performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Boulder Philharmonic (I played bass), or the Colorado Symphony’s performance with Rodrigo y Gabriella at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2012 (I was an audience member).
- What is the value of music education at your school? The stories and life lessons experienced through music and musical theatre specifically provide important journeys for our students. Castle View High School places high value on these journeys and encourages students to take part. We do not turn students away who want this opportunity. This is an important aspect of our team philosophy and a driving force at Castle View.
- Last words? It is an honor to be recognized for the work, time and diligence that all members of the company have put into the Castle View High School Performing Arts program. Thank you!