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Media Memo: Baca part of 'Wicked' orchestra in Minneapolis production

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: Sept. 14, 2010

SUBJECT: Baca part of "Wicked" orchestra in Minneapolis production

Robert Baca, professor of trumpet and director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire, is a member of the orchestra for the Minneapolis production of the critically acclaimed musical "Wicked." Performances will continue through Sunday, Sept. 19, at the Orpheum in Minneapolis.

Winner of 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, "Wicked" is a Broadway blockbuster that was recently called "the defining musical of the decade" by The New York Times. All shows during the six-week Minneapolis run have been sold out, Baca said.

Baca has brought several UW-Eau Claire students with him in the orchestra pit during the shows to allow them to experience what it's like to be part of a Broadway show. Students are accompanying him again this week to several shows.

"We are really into bringing students into professional situations," Baca said of students joining him in the orchestra pit during the shows. "It's very inspiring for the students to hear things in that setting. They may be inspired to play something differently or to think about their careers differently."

Several UW-Eau Claire alumni now make their living playing in orchestras for Broadway productions in New York City, Baca said. Some of those students chose that as their career path after being in orchestra pits with Baca in Minneapolis during other shows, he said.

Baca has been involved with Broadway shows in Minneapolis for more than 20 years.

To talk to Baca about his involvement with the production and bringing students with him to the orchestra pit, contact him at 715-836-4371 or bacarj@uwec.edu. He also can put reporters in touch with students who have been in the orchestra pit with him during "Wicked" performances.

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