WSC music department puts on show

Pfaltzgraff and Pfriends put on 16th annual performance for Students at Wayne State College

Morgan Stough, Staff Writer

The 16th edition of “Pfaltzgraff and Pfriends,” a musical collage put on by staff accompanist Phil Pfaltzgraff was Nov. 8. The show consisted of 26 musical theatre pieces in one hour.

“It’s laid back,” Pfaltzgraff said. “The preparation starts ahead of time, so once the show starts it’s like auto pilot. So we don’t strain our brains, the kids work hard, everyone does their best and it’s just quite an extraordinary hour of music.”

The evening began with an audience sing-a-long of classic songs such as “Yankee Doodle” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

Students then took the stage, accompanied on piano by Pfaltzgraff, with pieces from musical theatre, including “Guys & Dolls,” “Wicked” and “West Side Story.”

Pfaltzgraff chooses the students who perform with him and helps pick their songs as well.

“I know the kids’ voices and I have songs in mind,” he said. “Some of the kids’ voice teacher Sarah Farr works with them and coaches them. She gives them musical theater pieces for their vocal lessons.”

Pfaltzgraff and Pfriends was initially created to be a vocal concert, but over the years Pfaltzgraff has added instrumental groups into the mix. This year included a saxophone quartet, consisting of Dusty Leifert, Katie Aschoff, Heidi Nelson and Kelley Robinson, who played “Give My Regards to Broadway” from the musical “Little Johnny Jones,” as well as a saxophone solo of “Embraceable You” from the musical “Crazy for You,” performed by Karl Kolbeck.

The concert is done in a collage format, which means the pieces flow into one another and leave no room for applause. Pfaltzgraff accompanied all of the pieces on the piano aside from the saxophone quartet.

“The challenging thing is getting a sequence of songs that works, and then because we have people singing on the balcony, people singing on the stage, on the floor, it’s picking who will sound the best wherever,” Pfaltzgraff said.

Pfaltzgraff said that the goal of the show is for the performers and audience to have a good time.

“It’s a feel-good night,” he said. “It’s not really hard. It’s a lot of work but it’s so worthwhile.”

This is Pfaltzgraff’s ninth year at Wayne State College and his 16th Pfaltzgraff and Pfriends. He usually starts planning for the show a few months ahead of time and said that the fall shows are always musical theater. Other shows have themes like female composers or a fun show called “I don’t play this instrument,” where performers play instruments other than the ones they are well-versed in.