Senior PACE Shows: A Culmination of Four Years

PACE students in the MHS class of 2022 put on a performance to remember at the honorary Senior PACE show.


Photo Courtesy @PACE

Students rehearse their routine for the senior PACE show.

Chloe Glazer

In contrast to the many PACE shows performed and produced in a school year, the Senior Shows stand out because they are led by the students. The Senior Shows consisted of the Senior New Plays, Senior Dance Night, and Senior Music Night. This year was the first year that the shows were so close together, taking place on the 14th, 21st, and 28th of January. The three shows highlight the three major aspects of the PACE program: theater, dance, and music. For all the shows, seniors had to write or choreograph a play or dance number, but they had a choice if they wanted to actually produce it. Zachary Moore, who oversaw the theater part of the shows, thinks that “this whole thing is really the whole point of our program,” and believes this was a chance for seniors to have autonomy and be creative.
For the Senior New Plays, which are a series of five unique plays, the seniors began preparing at the beginning of the year. They started the year with writing plays and, after a few months of editing and revising, started to audition for the plays written by their peers. Directors could request actors for roles, but Mr. Moore made the ultimate decision. After roles had been cast, rehearsals started. Because there were five separate plays, set pieces were limited, and usually only consisted of pieces of furniture. However, the multiple shows allowed people to have a large role in at least one of the plays, since everyone was required to act in a play, regardless if they were a director. Layla Ross (‘22), a director in the Senior New Plays, said “we had a lot of control, from sound to script to how the actors performed to the lighting.” The maximum length for each play was 10 minutes, but most were around five minutes long. Despite the Omicron surge, the Senior New Plays had not been affected as much, since rehearsals had finished and the plays had been written. The diversity of the plays displays the creativity of the seniors in the PACE program.
The Senior Dance Night was composed of 13 different pieces of choreography, 12 of which were choreographed by the PACE 4 students. They started working on the pieces in November, when students submitted proposals for pieces, then class time was used to rehearse. Allison Parsley, who runs the dance program in PACE, assigned students to perform in certain pieces based on the style. Each student performed in 3 to 4 shows, and choreographers could choose if they wanted to be in their own pieces. Since students could direct all aspects of their choreography, from music to the costumes to the lighting, Parsley encouraged those students to “really think about the message that they want to share with the audience, and to think about how they can express themselves.”. Although most of the pieces were original and choreographed by the students, the last performance was choreographed by David Parsons, a world-renowned dance choreographer. The Parsons’ Etude takes movement from 14 of Parsons’ most famous works and was performed by the entire class, which consisted of 24 students. Layla Hoffman (‘22), thought the Parsons’ Etude was “very fun, especially since the whole class got really into it.” Similarly to the Senior New Plays, COVID-19 had not affected the production drastically. Aside from wearing masks and an aversion to partnering, the rehearsal process was quite normal, though Hoffman thought that it was sad that the audience couldn’t be at maximum capacity, though “we are just happy we get to be on stage”.
The Senior Music Night featured three original pieces out of 9, one by Ari Kass-Amsterdam (‘22), one by Wilson Moroz (‘22), and one by Ell Flake (‘22), Cyprus Greene (‘22), and Kira Walter (‘22). The other 6 were arrangements. Originally, a class song was part of the production, but COVID-19 made it impossible, since students would not be a safe distance from each other on stage. Out of the three shows, this was affected the most by COVID-19. In addition to the removed class song, the tradition of serving tea in the lobby after the show was unable to continue, and rehearsals were difficult due to the number of absences. Despite the difficulties of production, William Derby, who was overseeing the Senior Music Night, said, “It’s an extraordinary group of people with exceptional gifts and I look forward to fourth period each day I get to work with them.” Wilson Moroz (‘22), thought similarly and thought that “PACE shows have really shaped my high school experience. The teachers, being Mr. Moore, Mr. Derby, and Mrs. Parsley, are incredible directors who get everything they can out of every student and allow us to create really wonderful pieces of art.”
The Senior Shows showcased the unique aspects of the PACE program and allowed the students to express themselves. All three had diverse messages and emotions throughout, which spoke to a wide audience. An incredible amount of care, work, and effort went into the performances, and it came across on stage. The Senior Shows allowed the PACE 4 students to express themselves as well as provide the audience with an amazing experience to conclude the program.