Thursday, February 23, 2012


19 committees! Wow! Concentrated support like this from our parents and community is one reason why Edina Public Schools have been recognized as a Grammy Signature School. Thank you to all who give our students this opportunity to shine.
Ric Dressen @EdinaSuper 

The 59th annual Pops Concert, presented by the Edina High School Concert Band, is underway at Fick Auditorium. The show is much more than a typical band concert: it combines music, skits, short films and unexpected talents of all sorts. The performance is unique in that it is almost entirely created by the students themselves. Nevertheless, a show of this scope also requires the time and talents of many, many volunteer parents. The timeline is short, only 6 weeks from start of production to the final curtain, so parent involvement is key. As one of those parent volunteers, I can give you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

There are 19 specific committee chairs, each tasked with some segment of the production, from tickets to publicity to costumes. While the students and band director Paul Kile fashion the content of the show, parent volunteers are filling all the duties that a production of this size creates.

Well before the show ever hits the stage, parents begin the campaign to get the word out. Media outlets are contacted, posters and buttons are created and distributed, and advertisers are solicited for participation. The performance program is designed and yard signs are created and planted. 

A Silent Auction is presented each evening. This auction is the sole fundraising event benefiting the entire EHS Band program.  Solicitations for donations are all handled by volunteer parents, as is the entire auction itself.

Parents also are responsible for creating the costumes for the show. Working with the costume designer, Carol Ann Winther, volunteers spend hours sewing, fitting, retrofitting and custom-sizing pieces used in the dazzling production numbers. 

One of the committees is responsible for compiling a “Senior Slide Show,”a traditional and sentimental part of the production recognizing this year’s senior band members.

Once the show is ready to open, photos, advertisements, personal messages and student biographies have all been compiled and edited by volunteers to be included in the show program. Preparations have been completed for ticket sales, flower and balloon sales and food concessions.  Ushers have been recruited.

As the curtain opens each night at Pops, there are at least 40 volunteer parents at work in and around Fick Auditorium, including backstage where quick costume changes and unexpected repairs are being made. Our work doesn’t finish when the curtain comes down.  By 10:00pm, when the show is over and the instruments are back in their cases, students are exhilarated, but also exhausted, hungry and thirsty! Following each performance, one family hosts the band and stage crew at their home for a meal and a viewing of the tape of that night’s performance. Again, parent time and donations make up the event.

Pops is a huge production, one that requires the time and effort of many, many parent volunteers, many of whom take on multiple tasks. It is fast and furious, and can be, at least for a time, all-consuming. It is also a privilege and an honor to volunteer for Pops. The band experience for my student has been absolutely amazing, and Pops is the culmination of that. I would not trade this volunteer experience, this opportunity to give something back to EHS Band, for anything in the world. 

Don't miss the final performances of the 59th Annual Pops Concert, APOPScalypse, this week.  Shows are Thursday 2/23, Friday 2/24 and Saturday 2/25 at 7:00pm. Order tickets online at

Cindy Awes

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