Pop Assembly

Choir Director Michael O’Neill has worked through many difficult times this year due to Covid and the fire at MHS, and the end of the year will be no less complicated since he and the vocal musicians at MHS are continuing the tradition of the Pop Assembly.

 The Marsaline

The Pop Assembly has been an end-of-year tradition at MHS for more than 40 years. The production is put on by the choir classes and performed twice, once during the last day of school for the student body and another during the evening for the public. It consists of pop songs that the choir students choose themselves and is full of solo, duet and ensemble performances. 

This year, the pop assembly will be May 26 and 27. The students will perform at 7 pm on Thursday in the MHS gym and the following day during school hours. Choir classes have been working hard to put on a good show for their audience every day by practicing during class, Owl Time and even after school. 

“We are putting many hours into preparing for the Pop Assembly by practicing during and after school,” Senior Alexia Bowlen said.

The Pop Assembly was started long before Michael O’Neill, MHS choir director, started at this school. The task of the assembly was passed down to him and has been a challenge, but he is determined to make the event memorable for his students. 

“The honest truth is that this has been an overwhelming experience, but I am very thankful to have students who have prior experience helping me out,” O’Neill said, “as well as Mr. Layton (prior MHS choir director) and other longtime teachers who have been good resources for my questions.”

For seniors who participate in the Pop Assembly, the event seems to be an important tradition for their “last hurrah.”

It’s a way for all of them to come together and sing for the last time with their friends. However, the performance puts a certain stress on the seniors due to it being their last performance in their high school career. 

“Getting all the songs and choreography memorized with such little time is what is most stressful for me,” Senior Lizbeth Tobar said.

Stress on the performance is also placed on O’Neill as the impending date of the performance grows closer. The question mostly asked in his choir classes is this: will this be as good as past years? 

“I think the stress comes from wanting it to be our very best,” O’Neill said.

The solo auditions for the assembly were conducted during class time when O’Neill listened to each auditioner sing a chunk of the solo and then he chose which student would get to sing it. 

“I lean toward seniors, but if somebody younger fits the solo perfectly, then they get it,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill already has been thinking how he can make the process of preparing for the assembly better. With the tiring tasks of planning the Pop Assembly, it can be hard to find the perfect time-management tactics. 

“The process of deciding what songs would be in the Pop Assembly was borderline excruciating,” O’Neill said.

In all, the Pop Assembly is a tradition near and dear to the hearts of many students and teachers at MHS. The stress seems always to pay off in the end with a spectacular performance to end the school year.