On Thursday, February 11th, students and faculty will experience one of BCA’s most festive traditions–the Valentine’s Day Assembly. Each year, students showcase their musical talents in the auditorium–singing, dancing, or performing songs of love–while their peers cheer them on. While the BCA community cannot gather together this year due to COVID-19, Mr. Lang and the students of AVPA are working towards a virtual performance that will be broadcasted live on Youtube this week.
The Academy Chronicle spoke to four students involved in the assembly about their roles this year. Viena “ViVi” Aeillo, an AVPA-T senior, is a Valentine’s Day Assembly veteran. You may remember her solo performance last year where she sang and played the guitar to “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia.
“I love the Valentine’s Day assembly,” ViVi said. “It’s full of talent and amazing to watch, and I’ve been so lucky to participate in it every year. Everyone looks and sounds amazing, and I love that the list of song options are usually songs that most people know because it’s always cool to see people performing songs you recognize.”
This year, ViVi is singing “All I Ask,” a pop song by Adele. When asked about her process for selecting a song, she shared that finding the best one for her was particularly challenging because of how many options she had. In prior years, students had to pick from a list of songs chosen to fit the theme of that year, however, there is no list this year. After listening to her options, ViVi said she “chose a song I’ve always wanted to perform but never had the opportunity to.”
Students also had to adapt to rehearsing for the assembly in a virtual climate. As a solo performer, ViVi said that “finding places to practice where my family doesn’t have to hear me singing at the top of my lungs,” was an added challenge.
AVPA-T freshman Sisley Carretas and Jack Haji, however, are performing as a duet which required them to “make a rough draft, which we used as a critique for ourselves to see which areas to improve on,” said Sisley. She also shared that because they only met once, Jack and Sisley have to “trust each other to do our best on our separate parts vocally and expressively,” as their song selection, “Only Us” from the Dear Evan Hansen musical, has many complex harmonies.
The experience working on the production has been especially rewarding for Sisley and Jack despite it being their first year at BCA. “Being freshmen, it can be difficult to make connections with people outside of our class, but this event has brought us closer to people that we share common interests with,” Jack shared, “The preparation, audition, and everything leading up to the actual performance has been nothing short of a blast, and it makes us feel like a part of the community already.”
Along with the performances, another element of the assembly students look forward to are The Romance Chronicles–a video created by AVPA-V students that showcases the personalities of BCA students and faculty through interviews. Crystal Han, a junior in AVPA-V, started filming for The Romance Chronicles last year and is apart of the team that creates the short film.
When asked about the process to create The Romance Chronicles, Crystal says that the team begins with brainstorming the interview questions. “Usually, the questions remain the same every year, but because of the current conditions, we decided to include and vote on some quarantine and Zoom themed questions.” We can anticipate hearing responses to questions such as What one word best describes your love life? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done? and What is your sexiest dance move?
In previous years, the next step would be to walk around the hallways and interview students, but this year the team asked students to send them in. “We try to get as many different students in the video as possible so we can get an accurate representation of the whole student body,” Crystal adds, “and once we get all the videos in, we start compiling and editing.”
Aside from practicing her editing skills, Crystal says that through working on The Romance Chronicles, she has learned a lot about interviewing. “There are a lot of technicalities that you have to get right so that all the footage is usable.” White balance, sound levels, and camera composition are some of the elements she and her team have to consider when filming.
Since this year’s interviews and performances are student-filmed, The Romance Chronicles and the Valentine’s Day Assembly will showcase the individuality each student has to offer in the BCA community. “The same amount of effort that went into past assemblies is being put into this one, and if you enjoyed the previous assemblies, I’m sure you going to love this,” said ViVi.