The Upper School Performing Arts curriculum offers a range of options for students interested in music, dance, or acting. These include formal semester classes, choral and instrumental groups, and a selection of weekly activities. In addition, the Department stages three theater productions a year, which include different genres and a student-directed production. Formal dance and music concerts are presented in the winter and spring. Individual music students and ensembles audition for District, State, Eastern, and National music festivals, and the Department participates semiannually in the Maine Principals Association’s One Act competitions.
This course explores the story of Western music from its origins in Medieval Gregorian Chant through the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic Periods, and up through the 20th century and the development of jazz and rock. Students study the instruments of the orchestra and the lives of the great composers, as well as the style, form, and socio-cultural connections of music throughout history. Requirements include reading and listening assignments, tests and quizzes, student oral reports, and research projects.
In this course students study music theory through its practical applications in composition and performance. Starting with the fundamentals of pitch, rhythm, and score-reading, the course quickly moves through scales and modes, intervals, chords, form, harmonization, and part-writing, with each skill building on the last. Course requirements include reading assignments, frequent composition projects, and assessments in ear training and notation. There is no prerequisite for this course, though it is assumed that students have a strong interest in music study.
In this course, students learn myriad theater forms and techniques and are introduced to a variety of approaches to training the actor’s body, voice, and imagination. Students study Shakespeare and theater of the 20th and 21st centuries. Assignments include readings, journal entries, scene analysis, and line memorization. Guest artists will lead workshops in their craft, and field trips will be taken to broaden the students’ theater experience.
Chorus is a year-long Performing Arts ensemble that focuses on developing proper vocal technique and musicianship through the performance of choral pieces. Students study a varied musical repertoire and are expected to participate in two evening performances as well as informal performances over the course of the year.
The Upper School Jazz Ensemble is open to instrumentalists with intermediate to advanced skills. The ensemble meets twice a week and leans heavily toward arrangements that cultivate interest in jazz improvisation. In addition to School performances, the group participates in the Berklee College of Music’s annual High School Jazz Festival in Boston.
- Poetry Out Loud
- Stage Crew/Technical Theater
- Steel Band
- Vocal Ensemble
- World Performance
An introduction to the theory, process, and techniques of costume design. Students study the skills of costume designers and technicians. Some hand-sewing and some machine-sewing will be included. Topics may include basic theater history, research, and collaboration in design, pattern use, measurement, terminology, and specialized skills (such as knitting, crochet, and beadwork). Students complete one stage-ready piece, either alone or in collaboration with classmates.
An exploration of improvisation – the art of talking, acting, and responding in the moment. Group exercises and scene work take place in a safe and positive environment. The class offers a unique opportunity for students to improve not only their acting technique, but their social and conversational skills as well.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program also helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Steel Band provides participants an opportunity to play great music in an ensemble setting. Students gain facility on the steel drum and develop rhythmic and pitch awareness along with the listening skills required to contribute to the group process. Previous musical experience is helpful, but not required.
This class explores music of the Middle East. Non-musicians and musicians alike learn by doing as they study the many different rhythmic and melodic structures from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and other countries in the region. No prior musical experience is required. Percussionists and melodic instrumentalists are encouraged to enroll.