Mt. Lebanon grad makes guest appearance on PBS' 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood'
February 12, 2016 12:00 AM
Fred Rogers Production Company
Mt. Lebanon High school graduate Cecilia Larson teaches a youngster how to play trumpet in an upcoming episode of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” on PBS.
By Janice Crompton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Mt. Lebanon High School marching band and one of its former members will be featured next week on a PBS children’s show.
Mt. Lebanon grad Cecilia Larson, now an 18-year-old freshman at Oberlin College, will be featured in episode 217 of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” set to air 9 a.m. Thursday on PBS.
Although the children’s show is largely animated, there is a segment that features Cecilia teaching a young boy how to play the trumpet. The boy -- a regular on the show named Phineas --also visits the Mt. Lebanon High School Blue Devil’s band during practice.
The short was filmed in the fall of 2014, and when she was approached by producers from the Fred Rogers Production Company, former band director Louise Marino said she felt Cecilia was the perfect fit.
“I had a very short list in my mind about which students to recommend as a good fit for this project. Cecilia Larson was ultimately my choice because of her lovely personality, excellent skills as a trumpet player and being an overall good band member,” Ms. Marino said.
“Cecilia was one of our section leaders for the marching band trumpet section at the time and her interactions with the other students in her section and the rest of the band demonstrated her ability to work with younger students. I knew she would represent the Mt. Lebanon School District and our band program well.”
The show was inspired by “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” and features 4-year-old Daniel Tiger, son of Daniel Striped Tiger from the original show.
Cecilia and her family were thrilled by the opportunity.
“She has a younger brother who she has always been close to,” said dad Dave Larson about Cecilia and her 16-year-old brother Willis. “She has always had an affinity for younger kids. I had a very easy time imagining her doing it. We were excited -- it was fun.”
Cecilia, who learned to play the trumpet in fourth grade, was a little wary at first.
“I was honestly really surprised and really excited, cause it’s such a neat thing,” she said. “I was pretty honored.”
During filming, crew members went out of their way to help her feel relaxed, said Cecilia, who worked as a babysitter and says she has always been drawn to young children.
“I was kinda nervous, just because I had no idea what to expect,” she recalled. “Everyone involved was very friendly and helpful and I actually had a lot of fun working with Phineas. The whole atmosphere was just really relaxed.”
Neither Cecilia nor her parents, including mom Debbie Larson, have seen the episode yet. They will all be parked in front of the television Thursday morning, including Cecilia in her dorm room.
“I’m going to watch it,” she said. ”I’m really interested to see how it turned out.”
Janice Crompton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1159.
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