An 11-year-old lakecity musical theatre performer has achieved the chance of his young lifetime to perform in Western Canada Theatre’s (WCT) production of The Sound of Music in Kamloops.
“(Opening night) was so much fun, some of my friends came to see it and they had a great time and it was so exciting just to perform in front of everyone,” said young thespian Cassius Ford. “It was sold out and my music teacher was there to support me, my nana and aunties were there, my grandma and grandpa flew from Winnipeg to come and see me and my uncle.”
Those involved with the Cariboo Festival Society might know Cassius, a young performer known for his love of musicals and his fine singing voice. In addition to singing Cassius, the son of Chris and Robin Ford, is also a dancer, a hockey player and most recently an actor on the Kamloops stage.
Over the course of November he’s been in and out of the River City practising for his role in the classic musical. Cassius plays Kurt Von Trapp, one of the children of Captain Von Trapp, a rambunctious child who is taught to sing and dance by his governess, and future mother in law, Maria. A humorous character attempting to act older than he is, Cassius said that one of his standout lines is when he introduces himself as “almost 11.”
“He’s really sweet, he cares about people, he likes giving people a chance,” Cassius described of the character he plays.
He really loves his part in the song So Long Farewell, as he gets to do an operatic goodbye in a solo line. Cassius also enjoys when the Von Trap family introduces themselves and lists off all their names, and how sad his character is being 10.
The opportunity to play Kurt, Cassius said, came about thanks to his performance at the Provincial Festival earlier this year. Members of WCT saw his performance and scouted him there and they encouraged him to audition for the production in June.
Cassius said he had just one week to learn a song and part of a scene from both act one and act two to perform during the audition process, which was a little daunting. However, it paid off, as he ended up receiving the role in late August.
The challenge of learning his lines and songs for the rest of the production over the last few months has made Cassius “really happy.”
Working with WCT has been especially rewarding as Cassius describes them as a really good company that’s given him the chance to connect with and learn from professional performers in the production.
The Sound of Music began its run on Saturday, Nov. 30 and runs until Dec. 10, meaning lakecity audiences who have yet to catch the production still have a chance this weekend. Cassius said that it’s an amazing show with a lot of people involved in producing it and that if you aren’t familiar with this musical classic, this is a great way to see it.
When he’s not playing as a goalie in the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association he practices dance with Corine Stromsten of Dance in Common, and both singing and piano with his vocal coach Angela Sommer of Angelkeys Music Studio.
He is currently a Grade 6 student who attends Cataline Elementary, although he’s had to do some homeschooling this semester.
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Given the opportunity, Cassius said he would definitely like to audition for and perform in more musicals in the future. All the fun he’s had combined with the people he’s met has made this a memorable experience for him.
In closing, Cassius said he really wanted to thank Sommer, the Cariboo Festival Society and Stromsten for their support of his artistic endeavours over the year, as well as his peewee tier three hockey team that gave him the time he needed to prepare for this role.
His mom, Robin, said she’s been surprised by how many people from Williams Lake have been coming down to see the show this year.
“He’s been having a blast, he’s been working hard and he’s been having the time of his life and is just so thankful for it,” Robin said.