“A Music Director’s Perspective” by Rozlyn Sorrell

Singer/actress Rozlyn Sorrell is a New York native who has performed in music, film, television and theatre in Los Angeles and currently operates Vocal Precision Studio in Raleigh. Rozlyn serves as the music director for The Parchman Hour.

As an educator, I feel this piece is very timely and relevant in the world in which we live today. The economic challenges we face as a nation have affected our educational school system and the way funds are spent. Our world of political correctness jeopardizes historical curriculum and the way texts are written. Their content is watered down and falsified with generalities preventing knowledge in its truest form. As creative arts programs struggle to stay alive, it is so very important that productions such as The Parchman Hour continue to be produced. Future generations will come to know and respect the poignant pen of Mike Wiley, as he is able to communicate the hard realities of a difficult and ugly past in a moving, provocative, honest and entertaining way.

What value, quality and dimension can I add to The Parchman Hour as music director? Ay, there’s the rub. It is my job to support Mike’s vision with musical nuances that accentuate the underlying theme and purpose of the project. It is my job to ensure it is achieved by pulling the qualities he seeks from each artistic cast member. Fortunately, the talented and hard-working cast of this production makes this task less daunting.

The music in this piece helps to soften the heavy blow of harsh dialogue and physical action, but does not eradicate it. It punctuates and emphasizes contradictions of political rhetoric, but does not shove it down your throat. Some music is pounded into the core of your being, while some subtler music just makes you think. You will cry one moment and, before you know it, find yourself clapping your hands, stomping your feet and even singing along. The power of a well-written work is the ability to cause one to experience a roller coaster of emotional confusion. Mike Wiley succeeds – yet again – in accomplishing this feat. It is with great joy that I am able to come along for the ride.