Performing Arts

The Waynflete Performing Arts Department believes that an arts education is fundamental to the intellectual, aesthetic, and personal development of our students. A diverse program of curricular and cocurricular Performing Arts offerings introduces foundational skills to all while furthering the growth of students who wish to involve themselves at a deeper level. We believe that all students can achieve in the performing arts, and our mission is to instill in our students a lifelong appreciation of and involvement in the arts.

The Upper School performing arts curriculum offers a range of options for students interested in music, dance, and theater. These include formal semester classes, choral and instrumental ensembles, and other electives. In addition, the Department stages three theatrical productions a year representing diverse genres and playwrights. Music and dance ensembles present formal concerts in the winter and spring, and they perform informally throughout the year. 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 class is an introduction to the art of acting. Students will discover the “actor’s instrument” by tuning up the body, voice, and imagination with a variety of exercises. Students will prepare for self-expression, character creation, improvisation and scene analysis. Students explore different acting styles and techniques in order to add variety to their palette of artistic choices. Students will expand their cultural literacy by reading plays, studying theatre history, and attending productions, and making observations on everyday life through regular journal entries. This is a non-judgmental classroom in which risk taking and mistakes can be made freely and the necessary “play” can take place.

Music History and Appreciation

This course explores the history of Western music from its origins in medieval Gregorian chant through the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, and into the 20th century and the development of jazz and rock. Students study instrumentation, great composers, as well as the style, form, and sociocultural connections of music throughout history. Requirements include reading and listening assignments, oral reports and discussions, tests and quizzes, and research projects.

Music Theory and Composition

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 and workbook assignments, composition projects, and assessments in ear training and notation. There is no prerequisite for this course, although it is assumed that students will have a strong interest in music study.

Real World Performing Arts

In Ancient Greece the performing arts were a platform for civic debate. The performing arts or storytelling with word, music, and movement were seen as a necessary part of a democratic society. Whether it is Shakespeare or The Laramie Project, “We Are the World” (USA for Africa) or protest songs, Jazz or Hip Hop, stories rise from artists needing to share their particular truths and hoping they serve as catalysts for change. This semester-long experiential class will focus on the power of the performing artist as activist and agent of change. Throughout the semester, students will take on many roles; at times they will be historians and critics, at others times they will be interpreters of existing monologues, scenes, dances, and songs, and finally they will become creators of a collaborative, multi-arts performance piece designed to spark action.

Music Ensembles

Students may enroll in one of the following year-long ensembles that rehearse twice a week during the school day.

Chamber Ensemble

Chamber music is an intimate form of music-making with no conductor and with one player to each unique and important line of music. Students work with a coach to explore small ensemble repertoire with special emphasis on balance, tuning, stylistic interpretation, and individual leadership as the music demands. All string and wind players are welcome. Repertoire will be selected and adapted for the specific instrumentation available for two formal concerts per year, the Waynflete Invitational Chamber Music Festival, and additional informal performances.


Chorus is open to interested students who share a passion for choral singing - no prior experience is required. Emphasis is placed on building a cohesive community, vocal training, part singing, stylistic interpretation, music literacy, and musical understanding. Singers will explore music from various styles, cultures, and traditions including contemporary a cappella and musical theatre. The concert season consists of Winter and Spring Concerts plus “run-out” opportunities that may arise such as workshops with touring ensembles, New England Youth Identity Summit concert, and collaborative performances with musicians from other schools.

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble is open to all Upper School instrumentalists. The group explores various styles of jazz music including swing, shuffle, funk, jazz-rock/fusion, ballad, Latin, and rock. Arrangements are drawn from a library including works by Don Sebesky, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Matt Harris, Henry Mancini and others. There is a strong emphasis on developing improvisational skills. The Jazz Band participates at the District II Jazz Festival.

Jazz Combo

Jazz Combo is limited to nine players and is comprised of students who demonstrate a superior level of commitment to jazz performance and musicianship. Jazz Combo membership is by invitation and will be determined in September. Repertory consists of contemporary jazz arrangements from a range of styles that provide opportunities for students to develop improvisational skills. The Jazz Combo participates annually in the Maine Music Educators Association District II Jazz Festival and competes at the State High School Instrumental Jazz Festival if invited.

Other Performing Arts Electives

In addition to semester classes and music ensembles listed above, we offer additional semester electives that meet twice a week.

Students may also earn Performing Arts credit as members of the cast and crew for drama productions and by participating in the Danceflete Collective through Upper School Physical Education.

Dance Technique and Composition

This class is for interested students who wish to develop and improve their dance technique and expand their skills as choreographers. Barre, floor, and center work will be emphasized helping to refine technique and build stamina. Compositional tools will be explored through short studies and longer solo and group projects.

Production Technology

Students will get an intense overview of all technical elements and will learn how to work as a part of a team to design, create, and build the lighting, sets, costumes, sound, and props for a play. Students will also learn to create the environment in which a play resides while developing backstage skills and exploring workplace safety procedures and production guidelines that help make a show successful. This class will include an introduction in the theory and process of costume design and construction. Activities may include research, play analysis, measurement, sewing, alteration, and learning the terminology of costume design.