Stepping down a different pathManley will direct the music for the Wizard of Oz
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
As a musician, Kyle Manley is used to being in front of an audience, so his newest adventure has him in a dark place: the pit.
Manley, a Rosemount High School graduate, will be part of a team of directors for the Chippewa Valley Theater Guild’s production of the Wizard of Oz. Manley will conduct the pit and direct the singers for the play. The theater, located in Eau Claire, Wis., will present the show June 28 through July 1.
Manley is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is majoring in instrumental education. To get the directing gig he answered an advertisement the theater had put out looking for directors for the Wizard of Oz.
Although apprehensive, Manley said he knew he needed to take the leap into something different in his musical career. Manley said Eau Claire has a vibrant arts scene and is a good place to try different things.
Directing the music for the play is a big job. The pit will consist of 25 and the cast includes more than 100 actors and actresses. While it’s a lot of music, more than 200 pages worth, Manley said he’s working with a good group of people.
“I’ve had to study the score a lot. Music is pretty much always happening,” said Manley.
While it’s been challenging, Manley has enjoyed the change. Rehearsals have gone well and he’s confident the play will be a success.
“This is a really big change for me, but I’m excited about it. I really love conducting a lot.”
Over the years Manley has had a lot of good directors and he’s tried to channel what they did.
“A lot of what I’m internalizing with all of this came from Rosemount,” said Manley.
Manley will graduate from UW-Eau Claire next fall after he completes his student teaching. While he’s not sure where he’ll end up Manley said he’s keeping his options open, including getting a teaching license in Minnesota.
Going forward, Manley thinks he will likely spend a lot more time directing and educating. This production is just the beginning of the road.
Manley was an accomplished saxophone player at Rosemount High School. He played for the RHS marching band for three years. He also played in the jazz and concert bands. As a junior and senior he was selected for All-State Bands. He also participated in several honor bands including St. Olaf, Concordia-Moorhead and the University of Minnesota honor bands. In 2008, Manley played at Carnegie Hall in the National Collegiate Wind ensemble.
In college Manley has played in the UW-Eau Claire Jazz bands and played principal alto in the wind symphony. He also marched with the Blugold Marching Band.