Winter Assembly: Behind the Scenes


Picture by Eileen McGregor

By Eileen McGregor, Staff Writer

This year’s Winter Assembly, held on February 1st, was an event no student would have wanted to miss. However, if you were absent for the big day, here is some brief insight into what happens behind the scenes of such shows.

As a former member of the Associated Student Body here at QHHS, I can personally tell you assemblies require quite a considerable amount of work even though the event only lasts 45 to 60 minutes. It takes the entire ASB class, approximately 70 students, weeks to design the beautiful decorations that adorn the gym, plan the schedule and performances, and prepare a script for the assembly’s emcees. On top of that, ASB members stay after school for hours to set up for the assembly the day before the show and still have to arrive at 6 a.m. the next morning to lead the performers in a run-through. When all the performances are done and the final set of students have cleared the bleachers, save for the performers, there are about ten minutes of tearing down the same decorations that took weeks to make. For ASB, it is a cyclic process of planning, decorating, hosting, and cleaning each quarter’s assembly.

As a performer in most assemblies, both in ASB’s and Multicultural’s, I have also seen the hectic process that occurs the morning of the show. Teams have practiced for weeks before the assembly, perfecting routines and choreography and, at times, changing it just days before. The few full run-throughs before the assembly starts are tiring, and if one thing goes wrong then it throws off the balance of the entire team. There is a mantra I repeat to the nervous first-time performers: the first assembly is the most nerve-wracking, the second is when you can do it perfectly, and the third is when you are so tired you do not care anymore. At least, that is the case for Tinikling, where our dancers and clappers are running through either transitions or choreography before they carry sticks onto the gym floor. There is always a flurry of activity behind the bleachers, especially for the Multicultural Assembly. Performers with multiple dances are throwing off clothes and squirming into different ones the minute before they are supposed to go on; girls are running in and out of the bathroom touching up on their makeup; boys are goofing around to calm their nerves. Nothing is boring when it is assembly day.

The Winter Assembly was particularly exciting this year. The theme, inspired by Stranger Things, was based on the eponymous television show that captured the hearts of many viewers last year. To match with the theme, performers were dressed to the nines in 1980s decade wear, and the emcees Veronica Shepherd and Brandon Moreno entertained the crowd as characters from the show. Assembly managers Morgan Howell, Carlos Salazar, and Nicole Ross worked tirelessly to ensure that the assembly was scheduled perfectly, counting the precise minute of each performance and taping the various papers to each surface imaginable. Despite perfect planning, unexpected music hiccups plagued the performers in the second and third assembly. (The affected Dance Team soldiered on without the other half of their music. It was later found that for some odd reason, the team’s music nearly exploded the speaker system.) Nonetheless, the dazzling array of performances included a riveting dance from hip hop team and an amazing rendition of “Another One Bites the Dust” by Rock Band Club. The Tinikling team and crowd games added to the overall enjoyment of the day. Winter Assembly was a success, despite the minute obstacles, and was the perfect precursor to the enjoyable Snowball later that evening.