Veteran musicians prepare for "Annie"

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DAYTON -- As the cast of "Annie" rehearses at the Liberty Theater this fall, they are accompanied by two veteran musicians who have worked together many times. "Annie" is the twelfth fall musical production at the Liberty Theater, and Jim Thorn and Randy Pearson have helped provide the music for almost all of them.

"Annie" opens November 16, with 11 performances through December 1. Thorn and Pearson are teaming up to provide all of the music for "Annie", with Thorn on cello and Pearson on piano.

Thorn is a Columbia County farmer and lifelong pianist and cellist. Pearson is a Walla Walla dentist who lives in Waitsburg, and is also a lifelong pianist. Pearson is a vocalist as well, and a longtime member of a local barbershop quartet.

"I've been playing music with Jim for a long time, and I feel like we work really well together," said Pearson.

The score for "Annie" includes 30 songs. The two musicians are still in the process of reworking them all for their two instruments, with each playing some of the melody lines.

"I have a copy of the conductor's score, which has all the melody lines for the different instruments," said Thorn. "The good thing is that they're all transcribed into the same key."

"The music they make together is just beautiful," said Elizabeth Jagelski, who is directing "Annie". "It is such a treat to work with Jim and Randy."

Pearson is particularly enjoying this year's rehearsals, because his daughter Chloe is one of the two actresses playing Annie. The other is Hallyn Boggs, of Dayton. "Sometimes I find myself watching Chloe when I should be concentrating on the music," said Pearson.

"Annie" is presented by Touchet Valley Arts Council Productions. Tickets are available online at www.libertytheater.org or at the theater. For more information, call 509-382-1380.

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