Hello everyone! Last week I had the opportunity to speak with some of the cast members and creative directors of The Muddy River Opera Company’s rendition of Aaron Copeland’s, “The Tender Land”. The show will be performed by the company on June 14that 7:30 pm and June 16that 3:00 pm in the Orr Auditorium at John Wood Community College. “The Tender Land” follows the story of a maturing young woman named Laurie Moss who just graduated from high school. Laurie longs to venture out of her comfort zone and explore the real world. The plot emphasizes the importance of family and friends. Several of the cast members and creative directors in this production have participated in other MROC performances over the years. Let’s meet the dedicated people who are bringing “The Tender Land” to life right here in Quincy, IL…
Mark Gilgallon has been performing with the Muddy River Opera Company since 1990 and is returning to MROC for the first time since 1998. He will be playing the role of Grandpa Moss in “The Tender Land”. This character in particular is one that Gilgallon is very familiar with; he has performed it 2 other times, the last of which was in Quincy in 1995. Gilgallon is delighted to be playing Grandpa Moss for a third time, as he is one of the oldest in the cast and now a grandfather himself. These experiences have helped him to better understand the role, and he is looking forward to performing for you this weekend.
“The Tender Land” not only has amazing returning cast members, but the show also features a musical team that is experienced with The Muddy River Opera Company. The choral director for the show is longtime MROC chorus master Paul Shelor. Shelor said, “It is a delight to be a part of the musical side of a show with the right people, and this opera has lots of talented, enthusiastic, and quick learners in its cast”. The conductor for “The Tender Land” is Dr. David Galant. He said that his job is to bring music to the forefront of the show as well as to make the music flow with the storytelling. Galant strives to make the music and the acting 50/50 in all of his shows at MROC, “The Tender Land” included. This will be Galant’s fourth year with the Muddy River Opera Company.
If you have never seen an opera before, this production is a great first opera experience because the show is in English and the cast has great enunciation. Gilgallon says, “‘The Tender Land’ is a real-life story with lots of action in the second act of the show. The score by Copeland screams Americana as well”. Be sure to come see MROC’s production of “The Tender Land” on June 14that 7:30 pm or June 16that 3:00 pm in the Orr Auditorium at John Wood Community College.