Pomp and Plenty set Nov. 7-8

Eryn Dolby, along with other members of the Huntington North High School Varsity Singers, practice a piece on Wednesday, Oct. 21, after school. The Varsity Singers will present Pomp and Plenty to the public on Saturday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 8.
Eryn Dolby, along with other members of the Huntington North High School Varsity Singers, practice a piece on Wednesday, Oct. 21, after school. The Varsity Singers will present Pomp and Plenty to the public on Saturday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 8. Photo by Katelynn Farley.

Annually, the Huntington North High School choral department holds their Pomp and Plenty concert at the end of November, featuring the Varsity Singers, Varsity Brass and Viking Volume, along with the Varsity Crew.

Though COVID-19 has brought on changes for many groups, especially school groups and athletic groups, the HNHS choral department is doing what they can to ensure the students within the department have their time to shine and perform for the community this year.

Aaron Childress, who has been Huntington North’s choir director since the 2018-19 school year, is looking forward to this year’s Pomp and Plenty concert, which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 8.

“When all of this stuff first started [with COVID], we originally thought that we wouldn’t be able to sing for nearly two years,” Childress says, addressing issues with singing being a “super spreader” activity. “Things look a lot different, but what matters is getting the kids on stage and letting them have even a small sense of normalcy.”

The Huntington North choral department has seen a nearly 25 percent smaller amount of students this year, due to the virtual learning option not being cohesive for a choir class.

“We’re hoping that more students will return at the year goes on,” Childress says. “A lot of kids would be here if they had the choice, but between having family members with compromised immune systems or virtual learning working better for them, they just aren’t able to be here right now.”

This year’s theme for the Pomp and Plenty concert will be “Songs of the Silver Screen” and will include selections such as “Cheek to Cheek,” “I Won’t Dance,” “The Way We Were,” “The Heat is On, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Footloose and more.

To ensure the safety of students, staff, volunteers and concert-goers, ticket sales will be limited for each concert. The Saturday evening concert, which will start at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday afternoon concert, which will start at 2:30 p.m., will each allow up to 425 attendees. This number has been set to ensure that, even with singers and volunteers in the building, the 500-person capacity will not be overreached.

According to Childress, those in attendance will be socially distanced in their seating, with groups having the option to sit together. Those in attendance will be required to wear a mask, unless they have a medical condition that exempts them.

“We don’t want to do anything that will hurt the future of the kids in the program,” Childress says.

While practicing, choir students are spread out on risers so they are six feet apart. The department has also added more position changes to the show in order to keep students moving and away from one place for too long. Childress notes that, because of the masks that are worn during practices, the product of the concert will differ from years past.

“We’re sacrificing clarity for safety. It’s a new challenge that we have to face during class, but it’s worth it,” Childress says. “If it gives the students that sense of normalcy and gives them that outlet, it’s worth it.”

Another tradition in the HNHS choir department is competition season, which normally starts near the end of the winter or early spring.

“We do plan to have another show, but the question is whether or not we’ll travel,” Childress says.

Childress also notes that, because of the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, these plans could all change. Despite that, the department is currently planning on holding their annual Christmas concert as well.

Christmas concerts will be split this year, with one being held for the band students and another being held for the choir students. This decision was made in an effort to have smaller crowds at once within the high school auditorium.

In order to pre-order a ticket for Pomp and Plenty this year, which Childress says is the best way to guarantee having a seat for the concert, submissions for ticket orders may be made at HNchoirs@gmail.com, or given to Aaron Childress. HNHS choir students will be able to assist with ticket needs as well.

Tickets for the concert will be sold at the door, but spots will not be guaranteed.

Another ticket option is a VIP ticket, which is pre-sale only. The VIP ticket request is due by Thursday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. This ticket includes a pre-packaged dessert and beverage service during intermission, as well as priority seating in the front of the auditorium, early admission to reserve seats and more. Reserved seating will begin 15 minutes before doors open for general ticket holders; 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and 1:15 p.m. on Sunday.

For those who are interested in attending both concerts, multiple forms must be filled out and turned in. Money is due when orders are taken. Checks may be made payable to HN Show Choirs. Childress says that the most important aspect of the show isn’t the crowd, but rather the students. “It’s not about the ticket sales or filling up the seats, it’s all about the kids.”