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  • Writer's pictureCarla DeFord

AHS Pops Goes to the Movies

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

The Arlington Chorale with members of the AHS Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Justin E. Moore, in "The Promise of Living," from Aaron Copland's "The Tender Land"

From the visceral percussion of the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey (a.k.a. Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra) to the sinuousness of “Arabian Nights” (Aladdin), from the simmering tension of the “Tonight Quintet” (West Side Story) to the barbershop nostalgia of “Lida Rose” (The Music Man), from the romance of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (The Lion King) to the tragic plangency of the theme from Schindler’s List, the Arlington High School (AHS) musicians will be performing some of the best music Hollywood has to offer at their Pops concert on May 4 and 5 at Town Hall (see further information below). With video clips featuring such fantasy locations as Caribbean pirate ships, Hogwarts School, and Jurassic Park – this concert is certain to take you on a memorable journey.

The AHS Jazz Band under the direction of Sabato ("Tino") D'Agostino

Town Hall is the venue, and it will be decorated for spring, with table seating on the orchestra level and balcony seats above. Like the Boston Symphony Pops (but with better parking and lower ticket prices), edibles and beverages will be available for purchase.

The last formal concert of the academic year, AHS Pops is the traditional time to recognize the accomplishments of graduating seniors, who will be embarking on new adventures next year. For the soon-to-be-graduates themselves, Pops is a moment when they seem to say, in the words of “What I Did for Love” (A Chorus Line), “Kiss today good-bye and point me toward tomorrow.”

"Tonight Quintet," featuring soloists (from left) Sam Dieringer, Joey Dalton, and Ella Simring

Cellist Eliot Martin (2020), a member of both the AHS Symphony and Honors Orchestras, noted that what he finds “exciting and challenging about Pops is all the effort that goes into this one final event that showcases AHS performing arts.” His favorite piece on the program is the movie medley the symphony orchestra will perform toward the end of the concert. “The amount of energy it takes and the changes in character from one section to another make it a masterpiece,” he said. Describing performing arts as “one of the most enriching programs available at AHS,” he noted that “in a sense it is one large community in which we all look out for each other.”

AHS Symphony Orchestra

Senior Olivia Carpenter, a member of the AHS Madrigal Singers, Bel Canto (women’s choir), and the Arlington Chorale observed that Pops “requires so much hard work from each member of every ensemble that it really feels like a celebration of all of us.” She said she is most excited about performing John Williams’s heroic “Duel of the Fates” from Star Wars (with the combined instrumental and choral groups) and the elegiac “Let My Love Be Heard,” which will be offered by the madrigal singers. Although she looks forward to going to Vassar College next year as a double major in music and neuroscience, she noted, “I’m very emotional about this being my last Pops. AHS performing arts has become such a big part of my life that I know I’m going to miss it a lot and will be coming back as often as possible to visit.”

The AHS Madrigal Singers; Olivia Carpenter is on the extreme left.

For interim choral director, Justin E. Moore, “Pops is an opportunity for students to use all their skills and apply them to pieces that are fun and familiar. This is not only music the students love, it’s music we love programming! Logistically, there are a lot of moving parts, and an enormous amount of work goes on behind the scenes, but the resulting concerts and student experiences are always worth it.”

Bros II Men, under the direction of Joey Dalton, in "Lida Rose" with soloist Neeraja Deshpande

Instrumental music director, Sabato (“Tino”) D’Agostino, agreed: “Some students have preferred the more melodic works on the program, like Schindler's List or Titanic, and others have clearly enjoyed the more dramatic ones, like Pirates of the Caribbean or Gladiator. Performing such a huge variety of repertoire has given us the opportunity to focus on many different techniques and approaches.

The AHS Honors Orchestra, under the direction of Julian Carpenter, in his composition: "Ouroboros"

“In our last concert of the year,” he continued, “we are sad to be saying goodbye not only to our seniors but also to four Performing Arts Parents Association (PAPA) board members: President Karen Schoonmaker, Treasurer Christine Hurley, and board members Scott Carpenter and Joe Curro. Their support has been outstanding, and on behalf of our staff and students we would like to thank them for their many years of service in helping our department grow.”

AHS Freshman Chorus with pianist Avril Allard

See the entire concert, as recorded by ACMi (Arlington Community Media, Inc.), here:

What: AHS Pops concert

When: Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m.

Where: Arlington Town Hall

Tickets for table seats at $15 each are available at the AHS main office, by calling (781) 316-3589, and at the door. Table seats for Sunday afternoon, May 5, are sold out; a limited number of table seats for Saturday night, May 4, are still available. Balcony seats at $10 each are sold only at the door.

Baked goods and beverages can be purchased at the event.

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