Music Major Joins Professionals in "Wicked" Pit

October 21, 2011

Community musicians and Bradley professors have offered Michael Archer unlimited support.

By Ivy Hillman '12

Michael Archer, a junior in music performance and music business, has received the opportunity of a lifetime. He is playing trombone in the current production of "Wicked" at the Peoria Civic Center.

"The part calls for use of both tenor and bass trombones, but I am opting to perform all of the music on tenor trombone. This is difficult, but it can be done," Archer said.

Archer said his connections with local musicians helped him land the opportunity to perform in the production. He has always lived in Peoria and has spent the last five years working his way into the music community.

"Musicians are a tight-knit group and sometimes it is difficult to work your way in," Archer said.

He credits a large amount of his success to his high school trombone instructor, Carl Anderson, who is also an affiliate instructor in music business at Bradley.

"I cannot thank him enough for what he has done, as I could not have gotten to where I am without him. He is an invaluable asset to the University," Archer said.

Archer acknowledges that playing for community theatre is not highly touted by professional musicians, given the low paycheck and odd working hours. However, he has played for about 20 musicals over the last five years.

"I believe that my constant involvement in performing for musical theatre led me to be a prime candidate to play for 'Wicked.' Sometimes you only get one shot, so you've got to make it count!" Archer said.

Archer said that the music heard in the show is of a contemporary genre, which focuses on the lower range of the trombone. This relies on the musician's own interpretation of the music.

"One of the big hits of the show is 'Popular,' where you likely hear the trombone plunking along with the bass," Archer said.

Archer believes that the toughest part of performing for him is the scheduling of practice and performance times. He is left with less time to study and less down time.

"Setting aside all evenings and afternoons on weekends for the greater part of a month is very difficult to do as a student," Archer said.

Archer's professors have all given him their full support in his latest endeavor.

"I think this is something unique to the Bradley experience," Archer said.

"Wicked: A New Musical" will be performed at the Peoria Civic Center at various times through Sunday, Oct. 30.

View the article printed in Peoria Journal Star on musician with "Wicked":