When the touring show “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” returns to the Mount Baker Theatre on October 23, be on the lookout for two quartets — not just one. Students from the Bellingham High School string quartet will have the privilege of joining professional actors on stage. The quartet includes Bellingham seniors Chloe Johnston, Sophia Kongshaug, Madeline Smith and Tanner Wallace.
The producers of “In My Life” approached Bellingham’s orchestra director Nick Strobel looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience and Strobel suggested the quartet.
The show is a musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and features the live music of tribute band Abbey Road. The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Jesse Wilder (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years. The production played to a capacity audience at the Mount Baker Theatre in June 2014.
The BHS quartet will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.”
“The violin is such a versatile and interesting instrument,” said Bellingham senior, Chloe Johnston. “You can play contemporary or classical music with it.”
In addition to playing with the Bellingham High School’s chamber orchestra, the quartet members have competed at the Washington Music Educators Association Solo and Ensemble Competition, earning a “superior” score with their chamber orchestra. Wallace performs with the prestigious North Sound Youth Symphony and earned a superior score at last year’s Solo and Ensemble contest with a cello quartet.
Bellingham High’s music department includes nearly 200 students in its choirs, bands, and orchestras. Notable awards for the department include a first place finish in 2015 for the Showstoppers choir and a first place finish in 2013 for a piano and string quartet.