PACE Proudly Presents Soundscapes

Hannah Mehler and Emily Scobie

Each year, Mamaroneck High School’s performing arts program, PACE, produces various performances that allow students to show off their talent and creative abilities. From the annual fall play to the dance show, Kinesthesia, PACE performances display the talent found within MHS’s own student body. This December marks the eighteenth production of Soundscapes, a composition of student-produced acts organized by the PACE music director, Mr. Derby. Soundscapes distinguish itself from the two other annual major PACE productions as it is entirely student-led. All students enrolled in PACE can take part, both participating in and orchestrating unique acts. This year’s performance is set to have four showings, each at 7:00 PM, on December 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, in the PACE auditorium and is sure to be a captivating and bright production. 

Not only will this production capture the interest of the audience, but for the majority of the cast, Soundscapes is a fundamental aspect of the PACE experience. While other PACE productions allow students to carry out their creative interests, participants are constrained to the requirements and expectations of the director and have limited creative freedom. As Soundscapes is a compilation of student works, students are able to push their creative boundaries and take on leadership roles in a truly unique way, building a community that remains unmatched by other productions. People from all different grades and backgrounds come together and grow close by creating a piece. Student Maya Knowles (‘24), put forth her perspective on the show and the community in which it builds, stating, “Soundscapes helps connect PACE students with one another by presenting us with a common goal: making the show as spectacular as possible. Everyone is working together doing something we all love in order to bring our director’s visions to life.” Knowles further elaborates on this togetherness and the community created by Soundscapes saying, “Soundscape is important to the PACE community because it allows students to meet others who they may never have gotten the chance to know without the show.” Senior Timothy O’Hara (‘23) agrees, “Everybody has a little bit of musical talent and with soundscapes, students across all grades can come together and collaborate on different musical projects.”

Directors have the important role of leading a piece. Instead of faculty directing, like in the fall play, the students are in control, allowing them to embrace their creativity and put something together that’s truly their own. O’Hara provided his experience this year as a first-year director and a performer. He’s directing a performance of “Therapy” from the Oscar-nominated musical sensation Tik…Tik…Boom. Like any production, directors also have to cast their acts, and no matter who gets the role you can expect a great performance, O’Hara explains, “Pace is filled with wonderful performers and I knew that whoever was cast in my piece as the singers, would be able to deliver a wonderful performance that embodies the wackiness of the song. Artie Donohue and Glory Derhammer-Hill steal the show. They are perfectly cast and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.” He also has one guitarist: Ayden Manley. Additionally, O’Hara loves the flexibility of the show as he is allowed to participate in multiple shows and is not confined to the one he is directing.

 Finally, the producer, Mr. Derby, put forth his perspective on the show and his experience guiding students as they create innovative, original pieces. “One of my favorite aspects of producing Soundscapes each year is helping the student directors create something that they designed themselves that makes them proud.” While he acts as a mentor and helps students bring their vision to life, students are able to create a product out of their own ideas and capabilities, something that is incredibly unique to the show and completely changes his experience as a producer. After a rough two years of COVID restrictions, production is finally back to normal, allowing both Mr. Derby and students the freedom to design the show as in years prior. Additionally, Mr. Derby brought up non-COVID-related challenges associated with the production. For example, the show has an extremely short rehearsal period, lasting just over one month. Other PACE shows take months of work and rehearsals. With such little time and so many unique acts, coordination and ensuring the show is completely polished remains challenging year after year. 

In its eighteenth production, Soundscapes is sure to be a captivating presentation of the works of MHS’s own student body. Be sure to purchase tickets and support the PACE program and the hard work of both students and Mr. Derby who have helped create this fantastic show!