Reply To: Help! Putting together a pit orchestra for 1st time!
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Generally speaking, you’ll want at least one of each voice: violin, reed, trumpet, trombone, percussion. From there, you add more kids as they are available (or hire pros if you can afford them). Obviously the most important thing is to have capable musicians. Pit music is among the most challenging music out there, with myriad key changes, tempo changes, oddball time signatures, etc.
If you don’t want all those instruments, you can probably do without the trombone. The higher instruments are going to be carrying any melodies.
When you say “school version,” do you mean the junior version? If so, then the music will be a lot easier. But my experience with junior versions is that they only give you the piano part–if you want other instruments, you have to arrange them yourself. That’s a ton of extra work for you.