Visual and Performing Arts

Our foundress, Cornelia Connelly, reminded us throughout her teachings that the fine arts are a vital part of a Holy Child education, stressing the art of observation in acquiring knowledge–of the world, and of ourselves. Since our students face rigorous academic schedules, we encourage them to get truly engaged in their fine arts courses, to take full advantage of the opportunity to escape and expand their individuality in a completely different way. Not only do we believe in educating the whole child, which includes instilling that passion for the arts, we also inspire them to explore a whole host of “big ideas,” to expand their horizons, their minds, and their creativity along the way.

Our visual and performing arts instruction is deeply rooted in the hands-on exploration of each discipline. We have created a climate that nurtures and celebrates each student’s individual diversity and talent. We treat Visual Arts and Performing Arts with equal care, encouraging creative expression in a wide selection of course offerings. Our goal is to enhance the students’ lifelong appreciation of the arts, bring joy to their process, and to challenge their ability to grow in personal expression, and overall achievement.

Freshmen Arts Rotation

The Freshmen Arts Rotation is required for all 9th grade students except for those who are accepted into Art II or the Instrumental Ensemble. The Rotation introduces students to four disciplines during the year as described below.

Visual Art: This course is divided into three different units to provide each student a variety of visual art experiences. Students will strengthen their drawing and observation skills using supporting research as the foundation for a creative composition. Watercolor painting allows students to work on color theory, painting techniques, composition, creativity, and presentation. An introduction to photo editing using Adobe Photoshop will use a thematic approach to help students explore techniques for improving photographs. Composition, color, and experimentation are stressed. Students are evaluated on their achievement of the objectives outlined for each assignment

Theatre Production: The Theatre Production quarter of the rotation is designed to be a fun and challenging introduction to the collaborative work of theatre art. Using one play as a cornerstone, students explore the creativity, technical skills, and teamwork that theatre requires, everything from set design and lighting to publicity and dramatic criticism. The final project challenges students to put together what they have learned in order to mount a fully produced scene.

Music: Freshman music is part of the nine-week rotation. Students learn the foundation of music theory and history with an emphasis on piano skills. Students will also work on multi-media projects using GarageBand.

Speech: This course introduces students to various forms of public speaking and encourages them to speak in front of an audience with confidence and poise. The class offers opportunities for both formal and informal activities such as charades, role playing, pantomime and prose interpretation. Students work on voice projection, establishment of eye contact, correct posture, enunciation and proper organization of a speech. Speech class has several specific objectives. The student learns the following:

  • To speak with poise in front of a group
  • To prepare and deliver several different kinds of speeches
  • To speak effectively into a microphone
  • To control her voice in terms of projection, breathing, enunciation and pacing
  • To listen attentively
Art II

Students will develop their creative potential in a studio class that introduces them to various media. Projects will include acrylic and tempera painting, pencil, and pen and ink drawing, architectural drawing, graphic design, and printmaking.

The emphasis is on the acquisition of a foundation in the technical skills of drawing and design in order to enable students to express their own vision. Evaluations will be given based on the objectives given for each assignment.

Art III

Students will continue to explore the artistic process that they were introduced to in previous years with the addition of more long- term thematic projects. They will experience drawing in pastel, charcoal, pencil and marker, with an increased emphasis on developing an individual style.

Acrylic, and watercolor painting, and printmaking techniques will also be studied. All students will need access to a digital camera and a USB drive as computers will be used to manipulate and enhance digital images using Adobe Photoshop.

A quarterly sketchbook assignment will be given. Students will be expected to produce works within a given time frame, and to meet specific objectives for each project. Group critiques will be part of the evaluation. Semester exams will be given in class.

Art IV

This course is for the artistically interested and motivated student who wishes to pursue in-depth study in order to develop the skills and methods necessary to prepare her for college art courses. Students will work on drawing with pastel, charcoal, ink wash, markers, mixed media, and pencil. Painting, and design projects will also be included in the course.

At this level students are encouraged to create their own projects and experiment with various mediums when problem-solving the topics.

They will be required to think through their concept, make preliminary sketches in their sketchbooks, and create a supply list, and assignment sheet, and timeline for approval. At the end of the project students will write a reflection on the process, and evaluate how successfully they met their objectives. Group critiques will also be a part of the evaluation process.

A digital camera and USB drive are useful in case the students wish to use Photoshop. Sketchbooks are required and will be used both for quarterly assignments and for project brainstorming. Semester exams will be given. Each student will prepare and hang an art show in April as their final exam.

Advanced Theatre Production

Advanced Theatre Production is designed to further students’ skills, knowledge, and interest in the collaborative work of theatre arts. Students complete projects in the areas of directing, costumes, sets, lighting, sound, and publicity, getting practical experience by providing technical support for many school events.

The program is enriched by professional guest speakers and backstage tours. In the second and third quarters of the year, students create and implement the marketing campaign that will be used to publicize the winter musical to newspapers, radio stations, other schools, and the local community.

In the final quarter, they revisit theatre history and utilize the skills they have developed over the year to cast, design, and produce a one-act play to be performed as a class.

Instrumental Music

Instrumentalists can elect an Instrumental Music class starting in their freshman year. Selection in this course is determined by the successful completion of an entrance audition.

Advanced Middle School students may also be invited to audition for this class. Students study and perform music of varying styles from all genres including Classical, Jazz, and Pop.  

Instrumentalists in the class perform in the winter musical orchestra, Christmas concert, Fine Arts events, and two recitals throughout the academic year.

Music II

Music II is a class designed to expand and diversify the students’ knowledge in many areas of music.  The class focuses on reading music and piano proficiency.  Students will also be introduced to other instruments including guitar, violin, and drums.  Students will learn how to record, compose and remix songs using Garage Band.  

The first semester focuses on piano and the foundations of musical terms, music theory, and background in music history.  The second semester focuses on current events in the music industry and the arts, and Garage Band.  Student will also analyze music including pop, jazz, and world music.  The class will also feature a project leading up to the GRAMMY awards.

Through listening, critiquing, and analyzing specific musical works, the students develop a greater appreciation for music.

Acting for Theatre

Acting is storytelling. The actor’s first responsibility is to the story, second to the imagination of character, and third, get out of the way and let the character tell that story! During this year-long course, over a series of progressive units, students will begin to discover an effective, dependable, and applicable set of working tools for the actor and working theatre company.

Students will study a complete spectrum of acting for theatre. From comedy–stand-up, farce, clowning and improvisation to classical acting–Elizabethan and neoclassical texts– to movement, physical theatre, mask and puppetry work. All the while developing a “real world” set of working tools for the actor, ultimately shaping professional, critical, explorative, confident, brave, truthful performers.

Designed for the practical learner, the written portion of this course will be limited. Students will be assessed on a mostly practical basis, learning by doing and assessment by show casing learnt skills practically in rehearsal and performance: discussion, participation, rehearsal, preparation & performance with limited written work within analytical responses: evaluation and scriptwriting/dissection of texts.

Acting for theatre is set for an exciting and demanding road ahead: are you brave enough?

Portfolio Development

For students who accelerate in art.

Faculty

Elsbeth Fager
Director, Visual and Performing Arts MS and US Music


Sonya Payne
Chair, Visual and Performing Arts US Visual Arts Instructor


Carole Dorlipo
MS and US Music


Tony Thomas

Dance Instructor and Choreographer MS and US Dance


James Carpenter
Theatre Instructor and Technical Director MS and US Theatre


Grace McNicholas
Visual Arts Faculty MS and US Visual Arts

Religion

We seek to both form and inform you about your relationship with God and how we as a community of faith have come to know God throughout history.

English

It's a trip into the 18th century, into the minds of novelists and poets now and in ancient times, and explores the art of writing and expressing yourself in whatever century or medium.

Sciences

Threefold goals: focus on scientific content, develop scientific skills, developing in you a confidence and curiosity about the world of science.

Mathematics

Our curriculum is designed to ensure that you master the fundamental skills of mathematics and technology required for success in college.

Social Studies

Enhance reading, writing, research, reasoning, and critical-thinking skills. Special emphasis is placed on current events and encouraging you to become an active, well-informed citizen.

Languages

Not just vocabulary, verbs and grammar. It involves reflection of culture, history, geography. In small classes, you learn the skills needed to communicate effectively in French or Spanish.

Visual and Performing Arts

You can take courses and electives in art, music, dance and theatre as well as participate in art gallery displays and performances throughout the year.

Physical Education

You'll work in teams, develop social skills, strengthen athletic abilities, understand the rules governing sports as well as instilling lifetime activities.

Electives

Electives include personal finance, computer science, senior humanities, and senior seminar.

Academic Support

Courses designed to encourage learning skills and personal management strategies that builds self-confidence, independence and a passion for learning.