This week I want to write about our Musical Director Robert Hyman. He has been at the centre of our work since our first large scale production in 1993.
Robert has composed, arranged and conducted all of the 31 different large-scale shows and 99 performances we have produced. Singlehandedly. he has guided the musical side of Theatretrain and found solutions to challenge after challenge.
“Every show is testament to his skill in making an 18-piece professional orchestra sound like the original songs we sing.”
If you were to ask me what are the biggest things he brings to Theatretrain, I would say these are some of the standout and remarkable aspects to his work. First, he is an experienced professional musician – a keyboard player, a singer, a composer of an amazing number of works, an arranger of music. Every show is testament to his skill in making an 18 piece professional orchestra sound like the original songs we sing. That is far harder than it sounds. The hours of work this involves would surprise you. Even the business of printing the orchestra parts he creates is a gargantuan effort.
All of those skills are largely unseen – you would notice them if they were done badly but like many things in life you don’t notice the effort that goes on behind the scenes when something is done well.
“When he jumps at the end of the number you can see exactly when he lands and that’s when you stop!”
Then you have LIVE Robert – and that is something else. Standing on the conductor’s podium at the Royal Albert Hall and keeping together an orchestra is one thing but then to guide 500 singers through 30 odd musical numbers requires a special person – and quite simply Robert is that special person. When he picks up that baton and begins, our pupils know that they are in safe hands: they trust him and give it their all. When he jumps at the end of the number you can see exactly when he lands and that’s when you stop!
That’s an aspect of his teaching that can also be overlooked – he gives huge energy to what he does. He does it because like all the best teachers, he knows that you can only get out of pupils what you put in. And they do. The wall of sound that comes back at you is the result of many teachers’ work but someone has to put it in one place on the day.
Robert is a showman – he shows you how it’s done and you follow him whether you are a performer or an audience. In the early days we used to give Robert a costume. In his time, he’s been an astronaut, a Beatle, an artist, a gameshow host, a James Bond villain and Superman.
Theatretrain would not be the same without you Robert. And another thing – this year marks 35 years of us working together and being friends. Long may it continue.
Theatretrain is a professional part-time performing arts school for kids aged 3 – 18 years of age with over 70 centres operating across the UK. Top-quality classes in dancing, acting and singing are at the very heart of what we do. If you would like to find out more about Theatretrain for your child or if you think you have what it takes to open your own centre why not visit our website www.theatretrain.co.uk where you can find out all you need to know.