Student stays an extra semester for Sinfonicron

  • One more time
    One more time  Rebekah Rochte '12 could have graduated in December, but she decided to stay at the College for an extra semester, largely because she wanted to participate in one more Sinfonicron production.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Mrs. Meers
    Mrs. Meers  Rebekah Rochte '12 rehearses a scene from the upcoming production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie." She plays Mrs. Meers in the show.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Rebekah Rochte ’12 could have spent the past few weeks working on her resume and writing thank-you notes for graduation presents. Instead, the William & Mary senior has been working 12-hour days in Phi Beta Kappa Hall, preparing for the upcoming production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Rochte, who was eligible to graduate from the College in December, opted to stay at William & Mary one more semester in large part to participate in one final production with the Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, a student-run theatre group that puts on one show each year.

“This is something I love doing,” she said. “There’s no guarantee that I will get to do theatre after I graduate from William & Mary, so I wanted this one last chance.”

{{youtube:medium:left|Udqdq4EHtrA, Sinfonicron 2012: Rehearsing 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'}}

Rochte, who is studying anthropology and religious studies at the College, got involved in several music and theatre groups, including Shakespeare in the Dark, as a freshman. That same year, she auditioned for Sinfonicron’s production of “The Secret Garden.”

“As luck would have it, they needed a small child and I’m kind of small child-sized, so that worked out pretty well,” she said. “Since then, I’ve just kind of stayed. Sinfonicron’s not the only thing I do, but it’s definitely one of the highlights.”

The next two years, Rochte took on ensemble roles during the company’s productions of “The Gondoliers” and “Patience.”

“That was really exciting to get to explore different characters that weren’t set in stone in a script,” she said.

This year, she is again tackling a new type of character: a villain. She plays Mrs. Meers in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

“She’s my first villain ever so it’s definitely a stretch, but it’s fun,” said Rochte. “I’m more of a comic actress, so it’s really easy to play those kind of stock characters -- just funny faces and voices and things like that. But, playing a villain, you still have to make it believable. And it’s hard. But I think it’s been a learning experience.”

Rochte hasn’t just learned to play different characters during her involvement with Sinfonicron. She’s also learned some lessons that she will carry with her beyond her career at William & Mary, including how to work with different people and how to present herself well.

In addition, she has also learned from the off-stage work she has done for Sinfonicron, serving on the set crew for three out of her four years with the company.

“I’m definitely not a very tool-handy person, but figuring it all out and knowing that I am capable of building a set of stairs, that is just the coolest feeling,” she said. “I feel like I can tackle more things with a little more confidence.”

Beyond her learning experiences on stage and off, Rochte said that the draw of Sinfonicron has been all about the people.

“It genuinely is a group of people who care about each other,” she said. “We’re not just friends here for the three weeks, we are friends outside of Sinfonicron.”

Rochte said that there are always people around to help with anything from running lines to figuring out personal problems. The rehearsal process is “grueling,” Rochte said, but each night, the students relax and enjoy time together, doing things like watching “How I Met Your Mother.”

“It’s the people who make the experience worthwhile,” Rochte said. “Honestly, there are plenty of theatre opportunities here. You don’t have to be in Sinfonicron to be involved in music or theatre, but having the group of people here who have become my friends -- my family away from home -- that is definitely what makes the experience.”

Though Rochte will graduate in May and then head to seminary, she plans to remain involved in Sinfonicron by coming to the shows and continuing to support the company in any way she can.

“I think just being a presence and showing up-and-coming members of Sinfonicron that there are people who care -- they want to see what you’re doing, they’re proud of you, they support you -- I think that would be a really good thing to continue after I graduate,” she said.

Sinfonicron’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” opens Jan. 19 and runs through Jan. 22. Tickets are $5 for William & Mary students and $10 for the general public. Premium seating is also available for $15 a ticket. Tickets may be purchased at the Phi Beta Kappa Hall box office or online at For more information, visit