Our upper school performing arts classes and rehearsals challenge students to fully develop in areas of critical thinking, language, social development, emotional awareness and self-identification. We present opportunities to develop the art of listening in place of just hearing, the art of reflection and contemplation, and to experience deep emotional connections in a safe and guided environment. These skills are paramount to creating a high functioning member of society and a lifelong supporter of the performing arts. The requirement to perform before live audiences also develops discipline and confidence.
The upper school has a number of non-performing classes, allowing students to participate in the performing arts in a more traditional academic setting. In each discipline, the classes follow a natural progression, allowing more structured classes for younger and/or beginner students, and more independent classes for more experienced students. Upper school academic music classes are: Intro to Piano and Music Theory, AP Music Theory and Advanced Music Studio. Upper school theatre classes are: Theatre Arts, Technical Theatre, Acting, Directing and Advanced Theatre Studio.
Some of our performing arts classes are designed with public performance as part of the expectations. Students can choose to participate in instrumental ensemble or chorus. The instrumental ensemble, open to all students, studies and performs a wide variety of musical genres. Previous experience with an instrument required. A thorough curriculum emphasizing improvisation is followed throughout the year, and two annual public performances are held.
The upper school chorus is open to all upper school students, and this ensemble studies a variety of choral and vocal music. The curriculum emphasizes vocal technique, music-reading skills and understanding aspects of music composition, listening and appreciation. The chorus studies a variety of music, from all eras of music history, and presents two annual public performances.
Each year the students have four different theatrical productions in which to participate. The fall play is typically a standard drama/comedy play while the winter play is a children’s play. The musical ranges from classical to modern Broadway musicals. Take 10, the ten-minute play festival, showcases works written and directed by students in the upper school directing course.
To fulfill the co-curricular theatre requirement, all upper school students must participate in a NSCD theatre production at least twice during their four years. At least one experience must be “on-stage” as a performer, the other can be a support role on or off stage (stage manager, play in the orchestra, backstage crew, etc.).