“A Chance to Dance” at the MBHS and LOMS Choir Pops Concert

By Claire Wilson 

March 22, 2024
Photo credit: Katie Bravante

On Wednesday, the MBHS and LOMS choirs put on their annual Pops Concert. Students from both choirs sang numbers from movies, musicals, and even different languages, in large groups, duets, and solos. Students wore themed outfits in several of the songs, including “ABBA Gold”, “Meet the Plastics”, and “The Greatest Show.”

Before the show, attendees scrambled to buy tickets outside the theater or online. Tickets went fast, and by the start of the show, were completely sold out. The packed theater was very lively, thanks to the high student turnout. Throughout the concert, attendees often shouted and cheered as performers walked on stage and even during songs. 

Jhanna Mendoza’s solo “If I Ain’t Got You” was by far the most impressive performance, eliciting the most enthusiastic eruption of applause and cheering from the audience of the whole show. “She always amazes everyone with her vocals,” said Angus McNellie after the show. “It's not a surprise. Like, you see her walk on stage and you know it's gonna be the best part of the show. Like, that's just who she is.” Mendoza has taken all three of Ms. Bravante’s classes, stage choir, chamber choir, and music production, both this year and last year, and plans to pursue a career in vocal performance. 

The majority of the music was chosen by the choir students, who suggested songs and voted as a class. “This is the concert that's all about the students picking the music,” says choir teacher Katie Bravante. Soloists and small group performances chose songs as well, but had to audition to get the part. But not everyone enjoyed the music selection. “I feel like it could be a lot more diverse, like a lot of it was stuff from ABBA. I think my choice “Misty” was the only thing that differed,” says sophomore Acacia Mayo. 

While most of the concert was enjoyable, some parts of it were awkward, like the audience sing-along of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid and the strange lighting choices during “ABBA Gold”, when the stage lights went dark and the audience lights came on, forcing attendees to squint to see the choreography. 

The choreography of the MBHS stage choir was a major talking point after the performance. Some students loved it, while others viewed it as forced public humiliation. “I literally have nothing good to say about the choreography,” said McNellie. Sophomore Emerson Jaquay says, “I really enjoy dancing up there because I don't get a lot of opportunities to dance except for musicals. And I'm just really glad that I got the chance to dance.”

Jocelyn-Ocampo Mateo and Jhanna Mendoza sang “Winner Takes it All” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, which were originally meant to be performed as a trio. Unfortunately, the third member of the trio, Dian Lewis, was sick, leaving Ms. Bravante and her small chamber choir class of three people scrambling to rework the songs. During the block period, they rehearsed tirelessly, learning new parts and making last minute cuts to the program. “We had to cut a solo that Dian was singing by herself, and we had to cut a duet too,” says Bravante. “And then the other two, we looked at were the harmony and melody line, what were the best lines to keep and which third one to cut.” In that block period, Mendoza and Ocampo-Mateo both learned new harmonies for the two songs they could still perform. Bravante says, “they totally pulled it off. I'm very very proud of them. But it's also work. They've been studying music for years and so not anybody could do that.”

From the very beginning, when tickets sold out, to the raucous applause at the end, the Pops Concert was a huge success. “I'm just really proud of my students and what they've accomplished tonight,” says Bravante. “It takes a lot of work and effort and vulnerability and they just really exceeded my expectations.”