The Sound of Music Production Reunites some SWHS Student and Staff

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Robert Slabodinik Played Uncle Max in the Skagit Valley College prodcution of The Sound of Music

Eden White, Staff Reporter

Skagit Valley College has just finished their newest production, Sound of Music, that they have worked on for the better part of this year now. Leading up to the performance dates (April 22-24 and April 29- May 1) this production has taken a lot of patience and personal time along its journey. 

Robert Slabodnik, a teacher at Sedro-Woolley High School, has balanced his work life as a French teacher and his personal time playing Uncle Max for SoM.

 “Balancing a full work day with evening theatre rehearsals is very challenging,” said Slabonik. “There are a few nights when I cannot eat dinner with my family. I try to get in daily exercise between teaching and rehearsals by either hiking at Northern State Recreational Area or playing pickleball with my regular group at Hillcrest Park in Mount Vernon.” 

SWHS Alumni Myles Doorn, who also was a part of this production as a Party Guest, Nazi, and stage crew, also shared his challenges. 

“Every production I do has its challenges,” said Doorn. “As most people, we all have lives outside of what we do. I find the most important challenge is balancing your mental health. We give so much emotion, energy, and time to theater, and if you don’t spend enough on yourself, you can quickly lose that passion. I focus on the present moment, and that helps me balance my personal life and many other productions I am working on, with this one. I’d say it’s worked out pretty well thus far.”

Despite these challenges all faced due to this production, seeing this work come to fruition has been very rewarding for those involved.

When asked what the most satisfying part of this project has been, Doorn responded “the most satisfying moment is every moment.”  “But if I had to choose, it would be working alongside Damond Morris, once again. This show has become a ‘full circle’ moment for me. About four years ago to this day, Damond Morris sat in on my Drama final while I was attending college, and asked me to be a part of his show he was directing at the time. He took a chance on me, and since then, I have performed in multiple shows, including directing, and I am now proudly on the board of directors for the Theater Arts Guild. Long story short, Damond was there for me, and I will always be there for him.” 

Slabodnik also shared his response saying, “For me, the most satisfying moment has been making the transition from being an opera chorus singer to Broadway musical. I love singing opera, whether it’s in Italian, French or German. But singing in English is so much easier to remember, plus I get to sing and dance a few numbers. I won the sock hop dance contest with my friend Nancy when we were seniors in high school,  I still play ice hockey on Sunday nights in Bellingham, and I play pickleball several times per week, so I think these all help me move pretty fluidly on stage.”

Having people you trust to work with on stage is very important when it comes to theatre. Robert Slabodnik was actually Myles’s French teacher back at SWHS. “This is the second show I have been on stage with my former student, Myles Doorn, who graduated from SWHS in 2016. He is a very fine young actor and dancer and it’s been so much fun to see him mature since I first met him as a freshman walking into my French 1 class. I joke with him that he could be a double for the actor Timothée Chalamet!” 

Doorn feels similarly.

“In short, an absolute honor. Ever since High School, Slabodnik has been a dear friend of mine. His endless support, kindness, and encouragement to everyone he interacts with is something I will always look up to. His ability to balance fun with professionalism is something I’ve adapted into my daily life. Performing alongside him is something I hold close to my heart; a million thanks to him putting up with my nonsense in the classroom, and in the theater! Merci, Monsieur!” 

On May 1, 2022 the cast said so long, farewell to the crew, and orchestra who have truly made the hills alive. 

You can find Robert Slabodnik in the halls of Sedro-Woolley High School, singing as a chorus member with Pacific Northwest Opera this fall in Othello, as well as future ACT and TAG productions.

Robert Slabodinik Played Uncle Max in the Skagit Valley College prodcution of The Sound of Music