No four-letter word inspires quite as much excitement and anticipation in the hearts of CVHS choir students as the word “Pops.” Maybe it is the sleepless nights, the new friendships, or the bliss of performing. Or maybe it is even more.
This year, along with singing in the Pops Concert numbers with my fellow choir participants for the fourth year in a row, I was also chosen to be one of the six student directors. While I knew that the job would entail many hours and much effort, I had no idea that it would also open my eyes to much more.
Though the rehearsals for the Pops Concert typically begin in early December, the entire process begins much earlier. The theme and songs were chosen by the choir director Susanna Susoeff at the end of last year and the four writer-directors, including myself, began working during the summer on weaving more than 20 random Disney songs into a coherent storyline.
By the end of winter break, the script was polished, the dance rehearsals were underway, and singers were practicing their harmonies. Then the real fun began: Hell Week. Every day for two weeks before opening night, the 150 student participants stayed in the Center for the Arts until at least 9 p.m. singing, acting, and dancing.
As a director, I finally saw what truly went on behind the scenes of Hell Week. Everyone had a job: the directors were delegating, the choreographers were teaching dances, the costumers were assigning costumes, the crew was building sets, and the performers were practicing every number with great enthusiasm. Each day, the show inched closer and closer to greatness and I was able to both witness and affect the transformation.
When the weekend of the opening finally came, it was a complete whirlwind of shows that culminated in the final Saturday night performance. It was a sold out show and, as I looked into the crowd and saw a handful of audience members giving standing ovations, I knew that all of our hard work had not been wasted. Each and every member of the cast, crew, and production team had come together to create something. And it was something we could be proud of.
That is when, for the first time in high school, I learned the true meaning of Pops. After seeing the show from a directorial standpoint and watching as a group of talented young men and women combined their efforts towards a common goal, it became apparent that Pops isn’t about which person gets a solo or which person plays the lead or who the directors are. Those facts are trivial in the grand scope of things. Pops, like many other extra-curricular activities here at CVHS, is the embodiment of a team effort.
That is why I feel so privileged to attend a high school that provides youth with the opportunity to not only grow as students, but as people. While team-oriented activities like Pops or sports may not offer academic education, they do provide an environment to educate students about leadership, responsibility, problem-solving, and perseverance.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I can say that I am incredibly excited to return to CVHS in future years to see the great Pops productions that are sure to come. Wherever there are enthusiastic, talented, hard-working students, there will be Pops.