Duo collaborate on music for 'Annie'

Randy Pearson plays the piano while Jim Thorn plays the cello during a rehearsal for “Annie.”

Randy Pearson plays the piano while Jim Thorn plays the cello during a rehearsal for “Annie.” Photo by Ken Graham.

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DAYTON — As cast members of “Annie” rehearse at the Liberty Theater this fall, they are accompanied by two veteran musicians who have worked together many times. “Annie” is the 12th fall musical production at the theater, and Jim Thorn and Randy Pearson have helped provide the music for almost all of them.

“Annie” opens Nov. 16, with 11 performances through Dec. 1. Thorn and Pearson are teaming up to provide all of the music 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 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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