State High Choirs Sign Off at Spring Pops Concert

The combined choir performs a song featuring senior soloists.
The combined choir performs a song featuring senior soloists.
Hannah Majewski

On May 20, the annual Spring Pops choir concert was held in the South Building Auditorium. The concert featured performances from the 9th-grade choir, the Treble Makers, the Cecilian Singers, OMA, the Chamber Singers, the Master Singers and several featured instrumentalists. Each choir performed one song and combined at the end of the concert to perform two songs dedicated to graduating seniors. Seniors were recognized throughout the performance, celebrating their dedication to choir and future plans. All choirs were led by choir director Erik Clayton. 

Clayton explained the motivation behind holding the light-hearted spring concert. “So, we want to keep everybody involved and active, but we also want to have fun. So the idea was to do all kinds of pop repertoire that people are familiar with,” Clayton said. “And then it morphed along with that into recognizing the seniors. And so the kind of combo of those two things, keeping people involved, doing fun music, and also celebrating our seniors, seemed to pull together really nicely.”

Eight songs were performed in total, starting with the 9th-grade choir performing “Memories” by Maroon 5. The 9th-grade choir is comprised of over 50 students and they brought the energy to begin the night.

Following this performance, the Treble Makers, an acapella group of freshmen and sophomores, performed their rendition of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. 

The Cecilian Singers performed “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, featuring a solo from junior Grace Lebreton. 

Next, OMA performed an arrangement of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. 

The Chamber Singers sang “Dance the Night Away” by Dua Lipa for the crowd.

Next, Master Singers performed “I’ve had the time of my life” from the movie “Dirty Dancing”, as a nod to the end of the school year and choir season.

Master Singers and Chamber Singers member and choir president Abby Putnam described the environment of the concert, including the fun nature of many of the songs. 

“It’s really laid back. If someone has attended maybe our spring concerts or fall concerts, they tend to have more advanced repertoire that we might take on our adjudication trips,” Putnam said. “But this is all pop music, so we sang ‘Dance the Night Away’ from the Barbie movie in Chamber Singers, and we also sang ‘Remember Me’ from Coco as our final senior song.” 

Audience members may have also noticed the laid-back attire of the performers, as instead of wearing traditional concert blacks, seniors wore college apparel and underclassmen wore tropical-themed clothing or tie-dye. 

“We have all of the other members wearing Hawaiian shirts or tie-dyed shirts, and it kind of just adds to the laid-back environment,” Putnam said. “I think it started one year because someone begged to wear a Hawaiian shirt, and now it’s just become kind of part of the tradition.”

This tradition was not the only one present at the concert. Bringing back a tradition that ended with Covid, Putnam and fellow seniors Hannah Bloom and Lydia Roberts presented Clayton with a poster created by senior choir members and filled with symbolic images. 

“In the past, [choir seniors] would make murals dating back to the previous choir director, Mr. Drayfall. So from 2006, I think, was the first mural, and it kind of encapsulates the [time in choir],” Putnam said. “This tradition kind of ended, so we included elements in our mural that are from all four years of our high school experience and we have some Google Meet and masks from our freshman year and then other things like musicals we’ve done and trips we’ve gone on.” 

Clayton felt grateful for the poster and reflected fondly on the time spent with this year’s class of graduating seniors. 

“There’s been a lot of great performances and fun rehearsals and things like that, but I think my biggest takeaway is I’m so proud of how many things the officers did,” Clayton said. “There was like a lot more ownership of the [choir] room and kind of beautification and bringing back the canvas murals [and] the door competition. I think that really the highlight is just how this particular group of officers was just so awesome.”

In addition to recognizing Clayton for his influence on senior students, members of the choir community were recognized for their achievements throughout the year. This included those who attended the District, Region, State, and All-Eastern Choir competitions as well as those who served as choir officers. 

Near the end of the concert, graduating seniors were recognized for their roles in the choir community with a collection of videos announcing their favorite choir memory and future plans. 

Putnam described her feelings around being recognized as both a senior and a choir leader. “It was really cool because the choir officers do a lot of behind the scenes work, so it’s really nice that in the concerts we have a moment to recognize all that we do in choir,” Putnam said. “It was a little sad to have my final concert, but it was really nice to be with all of my other peers in my grade and it’s really fun.”

To conclude the night, the choirs combined to perform “Remember Me” and “Somebody to Love” in recognition of the senior class. Clayton reflected on the emotions he felt seeing this group of seniors perform their last songs. 

Seniors Abby Putnam, Hannah Bloom, and Lydia Roberts present choir director Erik Clayton with a poster memorializing their time in high school choir. (Hannah Majewski)

“It’s a great senior class and I’m always like floored when they’re all standing up front. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s so many.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, they’re going, they’re going on,’” Clayton said. 

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