Assembly Performances

Mayanka Dhingra , Staff Writer

On Tuesday February 6th, students and teachers filled Gross Theatre with the sounds of feet stomping, arms flying through the air, and voices singing along to familiar tunes.

This was one of the several assemblies that Director of Student Activities Caroline Bartels organizes each year to showcase the talents of Upper Division students.

The assembly featured dance performances from the Student-Choreographed Dance Concert and Asia Night and vocal performances by Mathematics Department Chair Charles Worrall, Binah Schatsky (12), and James Arcieri (12). It also included a piece by one of the school’s dance groups, HM Stomp, a piano performance by Craig Murray (11), and a steel drums showcase.

Some people approach Bartels asking if they can perform, while Bartels selects others herself, she said.

“Our community is a busy one, but the school’s student body has such a diverse set of talents and interests, and my goal is to let the students showcase that as much as possible,” Bartels said.

Bartels recognizes that not everyone is able to make it to the various performance showcases that take place at night and thinks assemblies present a unique opportunity to engage more members of the community, she said.

“I think it’s really impressive to see people I know or don’t know that are members of our community do such incredible things,” Julia Robbins (10) said.

The experience of watching student showcase assemblies, inspired Robbins to create a grade-wide talent show for her grade to encourage more performers to take stage, she said.

For students who may be nervous about performing in front of the whole community or sharing their talent for the first time, receiving a positive response can be really gratifying, Bartels said.

“I knew most of the people in my audience and recently a Record article came out about my accomplishments, so I knew I really had to perform to the best of my abilities,” Murray said.

“Over the past five years, I have been used to playing in front of big crowds, but it still took me by surprise and it felt really exhilarating.”

Murray was surprised by the amount of positive feedback that he received from students and teachers about the piece he both composed and performed. 12 teachers emailed him about his performance, he said.

“Sometimes we get caught up in doing schoolwork and our grades, and we forget that there’s a lot more to people,” Murray said. “I hope the audience realized that they are able to show off their talents, and that people really do appreciate seeing what others can do and what they have to offer, and it’s not always in the form of academics.”

Artcieri wanted to perform in an assembly before he graduated, he said. “It was my first time performing in a normal C period assembly, and it was nerve-racking because I was playing piano too and I hadn’t done that before,” Arcieri said.

For Nisha Saghal (11), who danced in a duet with Allison DeRose (11), performing at school assemblies is a fun and low-pressure experience, Saghal said.

“I found it to be less stressful than performing at the dance concert, just because we had done the dance so many times, and we were so much more comfortable with it,” Saghal said.

“The stress of performing it for the first time was kind of over, and it was cool to do it one last time,” she said. Saghal also performed at the winter assembly, and found this experience to be different.

“This was all students’ performances, so there was a little bit more support just because there were more kids on stage,” Saghal said.

Member of HM Stomp Taussia Boadi (10) felt that performing in front of the whole student body was a stressful but meaningful experience.

“I know that we were all somewhat nervous before going on stage,” Boadi said. “But now that I have performed in front of the school, I won’t really be as scared to do it again.”

Boadi also felt that her performance helped spread the word about HM Stomp, she said.

“Now, people will go and tell their friends, and maybe next year more people will want to join,” Boadi said.

Students prepare for their performances at these assemblies in various ways.Members of HM Stomp choreograph and learn steps during I periods and common free periods, Boadi said. Arcieri and Schatsky only rehearsed once before the assembly, but enjoyed the impromptu and relaxed feeling of their performance, Arcieri said.

Students have already approached Bartels asking to perform in the next student showcase assembly on May 22nd. Bartels is also planning to have more student leadership and fewer outside speakers in assemblies next year, she said.