Pops Concerts have been a Marian tradition for as long as many faculty and staff can remember.
“We had Pops when I was in high school,” choir director Miss Lauren Morrissey ’09 said, “but back then it was in the West Gym, and we performed for the whole school.”
Mrs. Rachel Misiolek ’98, chair of the Fine Arts Department and instrumental music director, remembers it as well. “When I was in high school, Pops was the only concert performed for the student body as an event to get students to sign up for choir, which
is why it happens around registration time. It was held in the cafeteria,” Misiolek said.
“When I first started teaching at Marian, it had been moved to the West Gym and a few band students participated as pit musicians. We were invited to play a few pieces as featured groups for the first few years I taught here. When the string program was started, it was decided to separate the groups for that one concert,” Misiolek said.
Pops has been undergoing change since then. The concerts now take place in the Performing Arts Center.
The instrumental music program held their concert, entitled “Marian Goes to the Movies,” on Feb. 9. It featured selections from Handbells II, Band, String Ensemble, and a combined band with grade school students from the Music in the Catholic Schools Honor Band.
“The music selections chosen this year were all crowd pleasers, from handbells playing a medley from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ to orchestra playing ‘Linus and Lucy’ from the new Peanuts movie, to the Band playing ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Star Wars.’ What is really special is the fact that the grade school students prepare music and then join us for a rehearsal before the concert and are able to perform music with us. The high schoolers enjoy getting to play with a larger group and getting to know younger students. Afterwards we have a small reception. This year we served popcorn to go with our movie theme,” Misiolek said.
Senior Hannah Saalfeld has been in the Marian band for four years now. She has been playing the flute since she was in fifth grade. She enjoyed playing with the middle schoolers at the instrumental concert. “It went well,” Saalfeld said. “Some of the middle school girls look up to us, and want to go here, so that’s cute,” Saalfeld said.
“The goal of the instrumental pops concert is to get people excited about music and show what Marian has to offer instrumentalists coming here. We invite the MCS Honor Band to perform with us so that those students can get a taste of what it would be like to perform as a high school student,” Misiolek said.
The choir students took the stage the next weekend for two concerts, Feb. 13 and 14.
If the instrumental and vocal concerts were to be combined into one, the result would easily be an event lasting more than four hours.
“It is a challenge to plan a concert that is equally enjoyable for the audience and an educational experience for the performers,” Misiolek said.
Vocal performances featured the Select Women’s Choir and Ninth Grade Choir. Marian Momentum, the new show choir, made an appearance for the rst time at Pops Concert, too.
The choir girls only have a short time to prepare songs for the vocal concert, as well as learn the choreography. “It’s a pretty fast turnaround from our Christmas concert,” Morrissey said. “We start learning songs the Monday they get back from break.” In addition to singing, the girls also learn choreography, taught to them by dance instructor Mrs. Michelle Delsi ’74. “They usually don’t have a hard time learning the moves, because they are dancing on risers, so it’s not too complicated,” Morrissey said.
This year’s concert included 21 songs, featuring several small group and solo numbers. In order to have a solo, the girls had to audition in front of a panel of ne arts teachers including Morrissey, Delisi and Misiolek. “They get to choose what songs they sing for their solos,” Morrissey said. Senior Tehillah Alphonso sang “Make it Rain.” She already knew the song, but she had to cut a portion of it to fit the time requirements. “It was difficult to transition between each section of the song,” Alphonso said.
Alphonso said her favorite concert of the year is Pops. Her favorite part was her solo. “It was my last chance to perform a solo for the Marian Music Department, so it was a really cool, emotional, sentimental moment for me.”
Sophomore Kathryn Morey enjoyed her second year of participating in Pops. She par- ticipated in four songs. “I liked involving dance with the music. It was cool to involve two things I really like,” Morey said. Morey said it was a really fun experience and plans to continue in choir.
For freshman Jolie Peal, this was her first year participating in Pops. She participated in the four Ninth Grade Choir songs as well as the final song. The hardest part for her was staying with the music as she was dancing. She liked seeing the show come together at the end. “It was cool to see the solos, because I hadn’t seen them until the concert,” Peal said. She also plans to continue with choir.
This year’s Pops Concerts were huge successes, showcasing the amazing talents of Marian’s singers and instrumentalists. The concerts have been a Marian tradition for decades, and they continues to exhibit the abilities of the students.
“I thought the concert went well. It’s really nice to be in the PAC, instead of a classroom like freshman year. It’s amazing that we have that space to perform,” Saalfeld said.
“We do wish more students would come to our concerts and support the musicians for all the time and hard work they put in to produce exceptional performances,” Misiolek said.
Watch for announcements with details of the Spring Concert. Like the Christmas Concert, the Spring Concert will be a free event to see Marian’s major performing groups, vocal and instrumental.