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American Pie: Westfield’s celebration of rock history

Corbin Hasler

Guest Writer

October 31, 2023

Photo courtesy of @whsamericanpie Instagram

Let’s Get Loud! - Students performing at 2023’s American Pie XI: I’m going back to Indiana

American Pie is an annual rock concert held here and is put together and performed by students and staff to celebrate the history of rock music.

Each year, the staff sponsors work to put on this concert. Students can audition to participate and are grouped with other students and given a song based on American Pie’s theme, chosen by the sponsors of the concert.

“I’ve been a sponsor for I think about 10 years now,” Jeff Mclaughlin said. “I think my first year was 2013, maybe 2014. The theme was the 80s.”

Sponsors of American Pie are usually staff here. They do many, many things behind the scenes, such as pairing up groups to perform songs, choosing a theme for the show, and some may perform a bit in American Pie themselves, and even more to make the show possible.

“I work and play with the house band, which is the band that sort of performs with every song,” Mclaughlin said. “That’s pretty much my main role, sometimes I help with coaching, if students need help.”

If a student wants to perform in American Pie themselves, they will need to audition. Auditions are usually held a week or so after winter break and are good for the sponsors to group up the students into bands, and choose which song they will practice and perform in the show.

“Tryouts are pretty simple, you go in there, you play a song, and they ask you a few questions such as how long you’ve been playing and what music you’re into,” sophomore Quinn Ferguson said.

After the auditions, students who made it will need to start practicing and rehearsing the song they’ll be performing. A lot of practice will be on the students' own at home and such, and a few practices will be as a full group.

“Usually after the audition, once we decide who's doing what, it’s usually like around four practices before the show,” Mclaughlin said. “First one is to come in, be familiar with the song. Second is to have the lyrics memorized, and afterwards fine tune.”

Students will need to be ready for these practices, and it will be largely their responsibility to practice the song on their own, that way during their group practices they can focus on coordinating the song, and practice aspects of the song that they are not able to work on solo.

“I really love performing, and I feel like this is a good, different way of performing,” senior Collin Alber said.

American Pie allows students to perform on the auditorium stage, in front of a live crowd. It is an opportunity for students to get involved in music and performing, and they otherwise may not have gotten the opportunity. It is an opportunity for students to meet other students and staff with similar interests.

“My favorite part is the people,” Mclaughlin said. “Definitely the people I get to work with, the camaraderie with the students, and the staff. Those connections are really what makes it all worth the while.”

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