[THEN AND NOW] POPs concert rocks and rolls since 1991

December 8, 2022

The POPs Concert took place Dec. 2-3, and the rocking-good-time-of-a-concert has been a tradition for decades, dating back more than 30 years in the school’s history. Most students have been in or attended the POPs Concert, but few know the story of how the winter concert got to be what it is today.
Director of Orchestras Almut Engelhardt, who has directed the concert all 30 years she’s taught at SPA has seen the POPs Concert go from small shows every six weeks to five-hour shows in the gym to the two-hour concert students know today.
Engelhardt said the dress code for POPs also changed.
“There used to be a t-shirt design contest, but we stepped away from that because we wanted a more unified look,” she said.
2022 POPs Concert there was a new twist on the tradition: students wore colorful, plain shirts to create a peppy, rainbow effect on stage.

I think there is a lot of great music in a variety of genres and I believe that the POPs Concert helps to highlight that.

— Emma Goodman

The choir, orchestra and jazz band take turns performing and each concert ends with one big finale. The music is not classically-focused and features popular songs students know and love.
Senior Emma Goodman said, “While I am a big fan of classical music, I think there is a lot of great music in a variety of genres and I believe that the POPs Concert helps to highlight that.”
When COVID-19 hit, the POPs Concert was temporarily shut down. There was no concert in 2020. In 2021, the show came back, but not in full force. The orchestra took a turn playing; the choir took a turn performing, then the jazz band played. There was no final number, and due to the restrictions implemented, the POPs Concert didn’t hold the same power as it had in previous years.
Senior Parisa Ghavami said, “It was a bit of a mess with the masks, but it was still great.”
This year the hope was to return the POPs Concert to its former glory. All the music groups were on stage together with a big “Born to Be Wild” finale by Steppenwolf.
“I think it’s time to get back to having a fun time after COVID,” Engelhardt said.
Ghavami agrees: “I think the POPs Concert really shows the big sense of community that we have at school, especially in the music community.”
The next music concert is the MS/US Choir Concert Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

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