Music and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Andrea Hummel

One of the difficulties for amateurs putting on a musical like You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is the accompanying music. Most amateur productions use recorded sound. And although recorded music is perfect, it doesn’t allow for mistakes. Forgot some lyrics and skipped to the chorus? Nope, there’s no way the recorded music is going to help the singer out, and you can end up with a garbled mess.

But can you imagine the expense of a pit orchestra? Ticket prices would be astronomical!

Enter Jeanette and Gene Cline. Residents of Sun Lakes for the past 10 years, Jeanette taught music, including developmental music for special-needs students, in the Tempe School District for 30 years. She plays several instruments and with her husband Gene has attended many national music conferences.

So how did Sun Lakes Community Theatre find these wonderful people? The hunt began with Susan Schlesinger, who fortuitously plays Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“I played piano all through my childhood,” said Schlesinger, “but got an adolescent attitude in high school and didn’t want to practice. Years went by. Then I heard about Keyboard Connection, a group that meets with Jeanette Cline every Wednesday. That sounded fun, so I got involved.”

Keyboard Connection plays a Christmas program every year for Women’s Connection, and another SLCT member, Cindi Decker, was involved in the group.

“When I learned that You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was having trouble finding an accompanist for rehearsal,” Schlesinger continued, “I figured the Clines would know someone. I was surprised that Jeanette wanted to do it!”

And do it she has! Four times a week during rehearsal, Jeanette is stationed at her keyboard. She plays some parts over and over while the actors rehearse. Other times, she waits patiently while the directors give notes and work with the actors on blocking. Her husband Gene sings in the chorus for the show.

So when you attend one of the six performances of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and enjoy Jeanette Cline on keyboard, Carolyn Rooder on second keyboard, and B.J. Van Noy on percussion and bass, enjoy and appreciate the talent and generosity of the area musicians adding a professional touch to this production.