The MICDS Upper School Choirs presented the annual Spring Pops Concert on Friday, April 30, 2021, in a creative, memorable way. The concert, which was held under the sunshine on the bonfire field with plenty of space for families to implement social distancing while sitting on blankets and folding chairs, was the first in-person concert by the choir since December 18, 2019.
“To say that it was great to perform in front of a live audience for the first time in nearly 18 months is an understatement. Although the concert this year had a very different look and feel to it, I am so glad that we were able to take this first step in offering live performances again! » said Mr. Dana Self, Upper School Performing Arts Teacher. « Each year I share how incredibly proud I am of the work that these young people put into making this concert a reality. This year, these young singers were forced to step it up a few levels and push themselves outside of their comfort zones by performing outdoors instead of on a concert stage. The work they have done throughout this challenging school year is simply remarkable. And the senior class has provided such strong leadership this year, determined that a pandemic was not going to stop the music.”
Danielle Kain ’21 and Najaah Muhammad ’21 served as the hosts for the concert which featured the Upper School Men’s Choir, Bella Voce Women’s Choir, and Chamber Choir. The choirs performed music from various genres of pop music, from Elvis Presley to Tim McGraw and Lady Gaga. Each piece was fully choreographed by choir students, providing them with the opportunity to step into the teacher role for a short period of time. Student choreographers included Annabelle Abramov ’22, Ashley Benoist ’23, Cora Bryan ’24, Ella Chamberlain ’23, Layla Daud ’23, Samantha Iken ’22, Jaylah McMurtry ’21, Najaah Muhammad ’21, Emma Mills ’23, Sasha Shanker ’22, Kate Slone ’23, Jaida Smith ’24, Livi Thomas ’23, and Aanya Tiwari ’23.
Mr. Self thanked the many community members who helped bring this concert to life. He said, “This concert could not have happened without the support and guidance of Chief Financial Officer Beth Miller, Upper School Nurse Michelle Fox, Head of Upper School Scott Small, the MICDS Marketing & Communications Office, the Maintenance, Facilities, and Grounds crews, Director of Campus Safety & Security Tim White, our Public Safety Officers, and my wonderful friends and colleagues in the Upper School Performing Arts Department who went above and beyond – Carolyn Hood, Patrick Huber, Becky Long, Josh Baumgartner, Erin Hamill, and David Doherty. »
To reflect on this first and final concert of the year, students also shared their own thoughts:
« Despite the circumstances, we were able to work hard to put on a concert for the MICDS community. » said Sebastian Ashman ’22. « It was great seeing everybody at the concert having prepared for their performances and showing some of the amazing things we have accomplished this year. »
« Throughout the pandemic and this school year, Bella Voce Choir has helped me to grow as a young woman. It hasn’t been the easiest process with online school and masks, but through it all, we were able to pull together an amazing concert that I thoroughly enjoyed. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing program and cannot wait for the future, » said Layla Daud ’23.
Emma Mills ’23 spoke about her personal experience, sharing, « Though I have only had the pleasure of working with DSelf for two years, I have learned so so much. The choir program has really allowed me to make connections with my peers as well as develop my connection with music. The community that we have is extremely special and I look forward to coming to class every day to connect with everyone in a really special way: singing. It takes a special group of people to persevere through all the challenges this year has brought us, but we made the best out of it. The concert displayed the culmination of all our hard work, and I’m so grateful to have finally had a spring pops concert. I had a ton of fun choreographing ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and I’m so proud of all my peers who I know worked so hard to put on a great show. »
« Although the concert did not look like it normally does, it was still a fun show to put on, » said Jane Cohen ’23. « Everyone worked hard to learn the music and dances within a few weeks. When learning the choreography, we had class outside so we could practice performing outside. I am so glad that we were able to put on the concert! »
« Despite all of the craziness that has happened this year, DSelf has provided an extremely cohesive, exciting, and, of course, song-filled environment for his students. It has been so nice to have such a supportive community surrounding me through every step of this year. The Spring Pops concert this year was so well-structured in my opinion, creating a fun-filled environment that considered each students’ health and well-being respectively. I had such a great time getting up in front of an audience again, singing and dancing for the first time in well over a year, and it was truly so refreshing to be able to perform in front of a live audience again, challenges aside, » said Jaida Smith ’24.
Thank you to all of our Rams in the community who not only pulled off the first choir concert in 16 months but who also did so in such a unique, fun, and memorable way. What an incredible testament to the resilience of these students, faculty, and staff members, especially Mr. Self. Enjoy the Spring Pops Program for more information and remember to keep singing!