Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Timothy Weddle of Jefferson City, Missouri, is performing this summer as a pit musician with the St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre, commonly known as the Muny.
With a love for musical theatre, the freelance musician sought out the opportunity to work for the highly professional organization located in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri.
“It’s a very special feeling to be a part of such a monumental organization, especially during their centennial season,” Weddle said. “St. Louis has a real gem here.”
The Muny amphitheater seats 11,000 people and runs every summer from mid-June to mid-August. This year, it is celebrating its 100th season.
Weddle auditioned alongside 13 other candidates and was elated to be selected as a bass player, providing a solid rhythmic and harmonic foundation, along with guitar, drums and keys.
He says he hopes to use the experience as a chance to grow as a musician. The Muny’s wide variety of shows and performances with different players and styles of music gives him the opportunity to develop his craft.
“Any opportunity to play with different players is a great way to improve, and playing different styles keeps you fresh as a player,” he said. “I’m mostly a classical bass player, but getting to play funk and jazz is always rewarding.”
This year’s 2018 centennial season features seven shows and has required a great amount of practice and dedication. “Jersey Boys” currently is being performed at the Muny. Upcoming performances later this month and in August include “Annie,” “Gypsy” and “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Previous performances this summer included “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” “The Wiz” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”
“A typical day includes rehearsals, ‘sitz’ rehearsals, sweat tech rehearsals and performances,” Weddle said. “Normally, we’ll have three rehearsals before each show.”
The first rehearsal is for the band only, and the musicians work out cuts, tempos and entrances. The “sitz” rehearsal includes the show’s singers and dancers, and dance and vocal cues are practiced with the music. The “dreaded” sweat tech rehearsal is during the heat of the afternoon, where performers practice the entire show, said Weddle.
Performers at the Muny work as a unit and depend on the attentive and adaptive qualities of one another.
“Theater work changes from show to show, so you must bring your ‘A’ game to every rehearsal and performance,” Weddle said. “Everyone here is incredibly supportive and easy to work with.”
Weddle says he has enjoyed the professionalism and kindness from the Muny players and getting the opportunity to hear some the veteran players’ stories.
“Some of these players have played here for many years, and hearing their stories from prior shows has been a real pleasure,” he said.
Weddle says he had never performed music for any of this season’s shows, but each one has been a privilege to be a part of, thus far.
“I must give a shout out to the ‘Jerome Robbins’ Broadway’ production,” Weddle said. “That was a magnanimous achievement. It was probably one of the hardest shows the Muny has put on, ever.”
Weddle graduated from Southeast in 2006 with a Bachelor of Music in music performance. At Southeast, he performed in the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, Southeast Wind Symphony and Studio Jazz Ensemble. He pursued a master’s degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music but then decided to change his degree to a performer’s diploma. In addition, he studied with the principal bass emeritus of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bruce Bransby.
Weddle also subs with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, is Principal Bass of Orchestra Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is section bass with the Memphis Symphony and adjunct professor at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville. He spends his free time teaching private music lessons, exercising at the gym, and cooking and playing board games with his wife.