In Unison, One Last Time

The senior song is a longstanding tradition that has created great memories for music students at North Allegheny.


photo by Jess Daninhirsch

Arranged by Erik Bloomquist, this year’s senior song is full of numbers that the senior class has grown up with.

Anna Parsons, Senior Staff Writer

Each year, as the seniors march towards their diplomas at commencement, a small group of them also stand to sing a song that represents the senior class and all they have been through. The tradition of the senior song has been a treasured addition to the North Allegheny graduation ceremony that allows music students an opportunity to create a group to perform one last time together. 

Until 25 years ago, the entire high school choir would perform at graduation instead of a select group. But when the numbers became too overwhelming, especially for students who had fears about performing at the ceremony, the tradition began where small groups of student musicians would audition to perform a composed song. Overseen by the choir teacher, currently Mr. Schmiech, the performance remains student-run — from organizing rehearsals to playing the instruments needed for the accompaniment to learning every part of the song. 

The song acts as a final opportunity for the music students to perform together, which becomes a cherished memory that’s special not only to the students but also to their families and teachers who have watched them grow. 

“My favorite thing about this part of graduation is the fact that I record them during one of the practices on the NASH stage. I truly enjoy going back through the years and watching past recordings,” Music Department Chairman Mr. Tozier said. “This process gives me one more chance to talk and listen to our soon-to-be graduates. It also allows me the opportunity to capture their beautiful voices one more time.”

But for some teachers, experiencing the senior song year after year is particularly special due to their own prior involvement in their class’s graduation performance. 

When I performed in my senior song, we had a blast putting together a group and an arrangement. The night before graduation, I had laryngitis symptoms, but pushed through. The day of graduation, at sound check, it poured on our equipment, causing the keyboard to malfunction later that day at graduation,” said Schmiech, who graduated NA in 2011. “The whole thing started up a step, and we didn’t know until the guitar and bass entered in a different key. It was infuriating at the time, but now I look back on it as a formative moment that live music is never perfect, and being prepared, flexible, and accepting of reality is key to performance.”

In 2020, when the pandemic began, the senior song group was unable to perform at a typical graduation ceremony. Due to this, the group was offered the ability to record at a local recording studio, The Vault. Since that point, each group has recorded their song there and created a music video as a keepsake. 

The tradition of recording at The Vault has been really special to me for many reasons,” Schmiech said. “It was incredible to be able to create a great recording in a real studio in the spring of 2020. Working with Bob McCutcheon and using his studio to make music is a dream. Also, it gives the students an incredible experience of the process of recording in a professional studio.”

This year’s song is a mixture of iconic pop songs that the class of 2022 has grown up with. Each song has a unique significance to the class. Composed by senior Erik Bloomquist, this year’s song has 13 vocalists and four instrumentalists. 

As a member of this year’s senior song, I am honored to be a part of a tradition so special to the North Allegheny music community.  It is is a precious experience, and I could not be more excited to prepare and perform our song with my fellow musicians and friends. Knowing that our group will join together to make a beautiful memory in front of not only our fellow classmates but also our friends, families, and teachers is an opportunity I could not be more grateful for. 

It is a great honor to perform alongside truly talented student musicians. I look forward to representing my senior class at graduation through song and experiencing a cherished tradition by performing one last time.

Senior song is a longstanding experience that has provided great opportunities for students to wrap up their music careers at North Allegheny with one final performance, and its exciting legacy will continue this year on the evening of June 3rd.