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 enhance their “actor’s instrument” through a variety of approaches to training their bodies, voices, and imaginations. Students explore different acting styles and techniques from Western theater by reading plays and theater-related texts. The goal is to add variety to students’ artistic choices in performance, expand theater literacy by attending productions, and learn how to make observations on everyday life through regular journal entries.

Music History and Appreciation

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 sociocultural connections of music throughout history. Requirements include reading and listening assignments, tests and quizzes, oral reports, 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. Course requirements include reading and workbook 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.

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 emerge as artists share their particular truths and 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: historians and critics; interpreters of existing monologues, scenes, dances, and songs; and creators of a collaborative,
multi-arts performance piece designed to spark action. The class will partner with an organization in the Portland area to give particular focus to the final creative project.

Music Ensembles

Students may enroll in one of the following yearlong ensembles.

Chamber Strings

Intermediate and advanced string players are encouraged to join Upper School Chamber Music. Students work on Baroque, Classical, andother styles of music in small ensembles. Each ensemble works independently and with coaching from the teacher. The ensembles perform in formal and informal settings during the year.


Chorus is open to interested students who share a passion for choral singing. Emphasis is placed on teamwork, vocal training, part singing, stylistic interpretation, music literacy, and musical understanding through the study, preparation, and performance of choral literature from various cultures and musical traditions. Students explore diverse musical repertoire for two formal concerts and additional informal performances over the course of the year.

Jazz Ensemble

Upper School Jazz Ensemble is open to instrumentalists with intermediate to advanced skills. The ensemble rehearses twice a week and leans heavily toward arrangements that cultivate interest in jazz improvisation. In addition to school concerts and informal performances, the group participates in the Berklee College of Music’s annual High School Jazz Festival in Boston.

Jazz Band

Membership in Jazz Combo is by audition and requires more advanced skills than does the Jazz Band. The ensemble rehearses twice a week to prepare for school concerts, informal performances, and jazz festivals in the area.

Other Performing Arts Electives

In addition to the formal classes and music ensembles listed above, students may participate in a number of semester-long electives. Offerings may vary from year to year based on student interest.

Dance Technique and Composition

This class is for interested students who wish to develop and improve their contemporary and classical dance technique. Barre, floor, and center work will be emphasized, helping to refine technique and build stamina. Many different styles of dance may be introduced along with dance history and composition. This class will also help prepare students to be informed choreographers if they wish to participate and perform in any of the three dance concerts offered through the PE dance classes.

Production Technology and Costuming

Students in this class 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.

World Drumming

Students will build and refine music skills, coordination, rhythmic accuracy, and group process through the exploration of traditional African, Latin American, and Contemporary percussion music. Students will use assorted drums, stick and hand percussion instruments, and hand clapping. Previous musical experience is not required.