PopsNight returns to BHS

A+PopsNight+performance+from+years+past+prior+to+the+pandemic++

Lindsay Barna

A PopsNight performance from years past prior to the pandemic

Gianna Galesi , Staff Writer

On Thursday, April 28, the BHS choral department will be hosting PopsNight, making a return since 2019 due to the outbreak of COVID-19. PopsNight is unlike a traditional high school concert. With a lively setlist designed around one collective theme, the choir aspires to capture a sense of spirit and nostalgia that caters to all members of its audience.

For over three years, theaters across the country, including that at BHS, have shut down in the interest of the community’s safety. Of course, these circumstances have not been ideal for theater departments and theater enthusiasts alike, leaving many longing for the ambiance of in-person performances. 

Everything shut down in 2020 just one-week before our scheduled PopsNight performance. The students were ready, and they were awesome,” Mr. LaPine, director of the choral music department, addresses.

 “We kept on pushing PopsNight back, first to April, then to May, and then to June. However, we never got to share that music in a performance setting.” As a matter of fact, of the current student population at BHS, only the senior body has had the pleasure of experiencing a live PopsNight. Despite the outbreak-inflicted setback, Bernardsville has reached a comfortable state of recovery from the pandemic, and as many are relieved to hear, live concerts have made a return. 

From 7:00 to 9:00 pm, the BHS choir will take its audience on a musical journey back in time, celebrating some of the greatest hits from the early 2000s. The annual theme “comes 100% from the students,” reports LaPine. Early in the school year, students recommend fresh themes that the choir hasn’t yet adopted. LaPine receives hundreds of ideas each year! After a simple vote, the students narrowed it down to the early 2000s: the decade widely recognized for a dominance of hip hop, as well as pop rock and punk. 

The choir in its entirety will exhibit some of the most prominent hits of the era, including I’ve Got a Feeling (Black Eyed Peas), Fireflies (Owl City), and Avril Lavigne’s Sk8tr Boi and Complicated. PopNight will also feature an abundance of solo and small group acts. Viewers can anticipate a variety of special performances, from Rhianna’s Umbrella (Monique Kefala-Dori, Bridget Lim, and Mariel Pallante), to The Killers’ alternative hit, Mr Brightside (Milo Perone). “The Radrigals” will showcase the 2001 song, Don’t Stop Movin’, a tribute to the British pop group, S Club 7.

The early 2000s was met with one of the most influential cultural shifts in the media: contemporary R&B. The genre is “hallmarked as the era in which tilted caps, basketball jerseys, dance formations, velour suits, and the now-popular rap/sung collaboration thrived,” says Candice Nembhard of Highsnobiety Magazine. 

While the music and aesthetic associated with the decade has since evolved, “2000s R&B still manages to make long-lasting impressions on eager music listeners today,” Nembhard concludes. Contemporary R&B’s critical imprint on the 2000s will not be overlooked at PopsNight. Making appearances on the setlist include Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy (Charles Greco), Amy Winehouse’s Valerie (Nina Robles), and Beyoncé’s If I Were a Boy (Abby Sebastian).

The students are quite committed to mastering their craft. They “work hard to make sure that the performance not only sounds fantastic, but also work to make sure that the audience has a great time, too!” says LaPine, “Soloists work extensively on their own and in one-on-one and group coachings with [him] before school, after school, and whenever else [he is available] during the school day.” 

As evident with their extensive practice around the clock, the students of the choir are quite enthusiastic about their upcoming performance. Max Lukes ‘23, staging his first solo at this year’s PopsNight, comments, “it’s the best concert of the year!” Abby Medina, member of the choir says, “I’m so excited for the opportunity to do PopsNight this year, since we were unable to last year. I can’t wait for everyone to see how it turns out!”

“To say that I’m excited for this PopsNight is an understatement,” director LaPine expresses. 

PopsNight is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10/adult and $5/student. With these students’ undeniable talent and dedication, the choir will certainly deliver a show worth attending.