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American Pie: Behind the Scenes

Delving into the production of American Pie X

Daniella Solares

Assistant Copy Editor

April 28, 2022

American Pie captures the essence of Rock and Roll through various heartfelt performances.

American Pie is an annual rock history concert that takes place on two consecutive nights this year on May 5 and 6. It was founded by Spanish teacher Mrs. Jen Hasler-Troutman in 2012, and she has since continued playing a key role in its production, along with other teachers that help guide the talented kids.

“Years ago, Mr. (Mark) Ewing, Mr. Freddie (Kurt Frederick), and I went to Columbus North High School to witness their show in action,” Mrs. Hasler-Troutman said. “We fell in love with the concept and just had to bring it here to WHS.”

Each sponsor takes on a specific responsibility, making for an efficient system.

“Mr. Ewing writes the script. Mr. Freddie stays in touch with student performers and communicates with them about their needs and their prep work. Mr. (Joel) Bruns designs logos for t-shirts and promos.... and they all do so much more too! Mr. (Jeff) McLaughlin is the house bandleader, and Mr. (John) Majors is our lights design wizard,” Mrs. Hasler-Troutman said.

Westfield High School is home to many talented musicians, and lots of them can be caught performing at this event. Assistant Principal and sponsor Mr. Frederick goes into more detail.

“We actually have so much talent that we are putting on two shows - one on May 5 and another on May 6,” Mr. Frederick said. “Both shows are completely unique. All in all, American Pie gives those in attendance the opportunity to re-live the gripping nature and power of music not just on our ears, but on our minds, bodies, and souls.”

To bring this to life, sponsors and kids work hard, putting in hours of hard work and effort preparing for the performances. This year's main focus, according to Mr. Frederick, is the evolution of Rock and Roll. But despite the short performance period, the process begins early on with auditions.

“After auditions in January, musicians and vocalists are selected and given a week or two to familiarize themselves with the selected artist and song,” Mr. Frederick said. “The show requires a significant amount of independent study. The objective is to make the audience feel like they have been transported back to see that artist perform live.”

Maddie Kilgore (12) shares a little about what their band, Peach Basket, has been doing to prepare independently.

“Me and the band have been meeting during CORE in Mr. McLaughlin’s room, but sometimes we retreat into Lars’s garage like little cave goblins if we want extra practice,” Kilgore said. “Thanks, Lars’s parents.”

Keegan Connor (10), another act performing “Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette, shares her techniques.

“I have been preparing by making sure that not only am I memorizing the words and melody to my song but also to keep the authenticity in my performance,” Connor said. “Whenever you’re performing you want the audience to feel as if it’s your first time performing this and their first time experiencing it. Keeping the audience on their toes will keep you on top of your game.”

A show, however, is not complete without a few bumps on the road. Peach Basket’s Emma Sparano (11) shares some obstacles she and her band have overcome.

“Rehearsals can sometimes be difficult because everyone, especially group acts, has conflicting schedules,” Sparano said. “Usually, my group is pretty good about working around our schedules and finding times to practice with one another. I think we all look forward to check-in days because not only are we able to get constructive feedback for our own song, but we are able to watch other people perform, as well. It’s exciting to see how much everyone is progressing in their songs, and so special in that we are all so supportive of one another.”

In addition to individual preparation, all the bands come together during checks. There are two checks after spring break; Kilgore shares more about them.

“We have a rehearsal [checks] every couple weeks. Acts are selected to go on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday,” Kilgore said. “A normal day of rehearsals is super chill! All the acts listen to each other and cheer everyone on.”

The constant support helps create one big family. Their hard work is sure to pay off; American Pie is a must-see event. Spenser Johns (11), who is a part of three acts, shares how grateful she is to be a part of it.

“The performers are incredibly talented, the song choices are fantastic and crowd favorites, and we also have some of the best teachers behind this project and making it possible,” Johns said. “Last year’s show was one of the most fun things I’ve been a part of and the talent was impeccable, but I think this year is going even more above and beyond than Westfield ever has before.”

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