This season, as we have been welcoming our students back to the stage, alumna Genevieve Lefevre also returned to grace our BYSO stage once again, too! Genevieve, ’15, Viola, is a recent Harvard University graduate with a degree in Theater, Dance & Media, and served as the narrator for BYSO’s Peter and the Wolf performance earlier this month.
Genevieve has experience in all sorts of performing roles, having done live theater and musical theatre, along with film and commercial work, in addition to her experience as a classical musician, and each requires her to prepare in a different way. “When you’re acting in front of a camera, the camera is much closer to you than an audience would be, so your movements and actions can be subtle. You can even utilize little details like eye movement because the camera will pick it up. For live performances, you have to be much more physically expressive, and have larger movements. The most exciting thing about performing live is getting to feed off of the audience’s energy and play with how they react to things. But much of the role preparation is similar too – you need to learn your lines, and you need to understand the intention behind what the character is saying, or what the character wants.”
There are similarities between her experiences performing as an actor and singer and her experiences performing as a classical musician, too. “I really honed certain things like practice techniques and repetition at BYSO. Taking a longer piece and breaking it down into smaller chunks and practicing those over and over again is something I definitely use when I learn my lines; I’ll repeat a phrase over and over, just like I would with a musical passage that wasn’t sitting right in my fingers.”
“Generally, the work ethic that you get from a program as rigorous as BYSO is incredible. You have to work very hard to continue to be in the program, and you learn a certain amount of commitment and dedication. I’m super grateful to BYSO for teaching me that work ethic, and for also giving me the confidence to know that if I want something badly enough, I just need to put in the time and the hours necessary.”
This work ethic is what helped Genevieve prepare for being back on stage with BYSO again, though in a new capacity than before. “Not only was this role much different than being part of the orchestra, it was actually different from most acting gigs I’ve done in general! Learning and memorizing the script was straightforward, but timing it with the music takes much more practice, and you can practice to a recording but it won’t be the same as learning it live.”
“It was also important to me to balance both being in the spotlight, but letting the kids have their moment to shine, too. But, it was thrilling to be able to take part in this performance and share this experience with them!”
Asked what she would want current BYSO students to know, Genevieve says “I would want them to know that they are all spectacularly talented human beings. They can do whatever it is that they want to, if they put their minds to it. They are the future, and they should go out and follow their hearts!”
Are you, or someone you know, a BYSO alumni with a cool or interesting story or life update to share? Contact Jessica Chen, Development & Alumni Relations Associate!
2023-24 Auditions are now open. Learn more about this season’s audition process and requirements.