Complementing the Visual Arts program, St. David’s Performing Arts program aims to instill in our students a love of the stage, whether through an instrument, voice or theatrical performance. Beginning with our youngest students and continuing throughout their St. David’s careers, students have countless opportunities to get involved in the performing arts.
Numerous performances during the school year enable students to showcase their skills and delight audiences. Currently, we have five bands, five choirs, and four theater productions each year. The choral and band departments regularly have performers in the state-level honors ensembles and the N.C. Governor’s School for the Arts. Our theater productions are played to sell-out crowds in our state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center.
Performing Arts Curriculum
- General Music Curriculum (Lower School)
- Choral Music (Middle and Upper Schools)
- Band (Middle and Upper Schools)
- Theater Arts
At St. David’s, Kindergarteners discover the sights and sounds of different musical instruments and styles of music in the classroom. Students explore how music makes them feel and learn rhythm through movement.
In grades 1 through 4, students develop skills in reading rhythmic and melodic notation, identifying music terms and symbols, understanding basic form, and matching pitch. A variety of techniques and teaching methods are used to allow the student to experience and participate in the joys of music with emphasis on singing. Special efforts are made to integrate music relating to topics being studied in the core classroom.
All Lower School classes meet once a week for a 45-minute music class period. The students perform in seasonal concerts each semester, as well as in other special events throughout the school year.
Choral music classes begin in 5th grade at St. David's School. These classes promote growth by developing vocal skills, ear training, sight reading, music theory, music reading skills, stage decorum and an appreciation for music. Through the Voice and the Stage class, students in 5th and 6th grade produce a staged musical production as part of their choral training. Recent productions have included "Annie, Jr.," "Beauty and the Beast," and "A Christmas Carol."
In 7th and 8th grade, students may elect to sing in the Middle School Vocal Ensemble, learning vocal technique, part-singing and intermediate music theory in preparation for the Upper School choral program. Special focus is given to the changing adolescent voice as they tackle two- to four-part harmony. Students in the Vocal Ensemble participate in numerous performances during Chapel services as well as on-campus events including Veteran's Day, Celebration of the Arts, and two full choral programs each year.
Students in the Upper School choral program learn more advanced vocal skills for sight-singing and sight-reading. They explore various genres of music and sing four- to eight-part a capella and accompanied harmony. In addition to many on-campus performances, including baccalaureate and graduation services, Upper School choral students have numerous opportunities to travel with the choir both nationally and internationally. Choirs in the Upper School include the St. David's Chorale, Chamber Singers, "Noteworthy" Show Choir, a Barbershop Quartet and Women's Ensemble.
St. David's choirs have earned Superior Ratings and Best of Class Awards for the past four years at their Spring Adjudication trip and sing frequently in the community and at school. Choral students have enjoyed participating in the following activities and events in recent years:
- NCAIS Choral Festival
- NC High School Honors Choir
- NC All-State Choir
- Independent Studies in Vocal Jazz and Mozart Opera
- Annual Out-of-State Adjudication Festival
- International Choral Tour to Italy - Winter Break 2011
- St. David's Student and Faculty Recital
- Faure's Requiem during Lent
- N.C. Governor's School in Choral Music
Offered to students in grades 5-12, St. David's bands train and equip instrumentalists at every level. This is accomplished with group instrumental lessons, chamber group involvement and performance. Each band performs twice a year at the full instrumental concerts as well as many various solo and small ensemble opportunities in the school community, including "Lessons and Carols," Celebration of the Arts," and the annual Veteran's Day ceremony. Students in the band program perform in the following ensembles and events:
Beginning Band: This fun and exciting, yet challenging class, introduces 5th grade and novice 6th grade students to the world of band by teaching them the fundamentals of being in an instrumental ensemble. They are ready to perform in just three months at the annual Christmas band concert.
Intermediate Band: This band for 6th grade students builds on what the musicians learned in Beginning Band and challenges more individual improvement within a balanced ensemble. Emphasis is placed on musicality, intonation, technical achievement and superior listening skills.
Concert Band: These 7th and 8th grade students, in their third and fourth years of playing, are achieving a full tone, solid technique, and improving intonation while playing more challenging literature. This is the flagship instrumental ensemble of the Middle School and will prepare the students for successful entrance into the Wind Ensemble.
Wind Ensemble: The highest standards of performing are stressed in this ensemble. Concert marches, staple band literature by distinguished composers, and film scores are all part of the normal diet for the Wind Ensemble member. A festival-competition trip is taken each spring for the group to be adjudicated. Rather than following the masses approach of mainly focusing on technical wizardry, this ensemble blazes a new trail by believing that musical expression and artistry are the highest goals.
AP Music Theory: Offered to students in grades 10-12, this rigorous course studies the principles of 18th century part writing. AP Music Theory is a course that focuses on the essential elements of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, form and to some extent history and style.
The theater program at St. David's School offers an eclectic mix of opportunities for both the serious student of drama and the student whose interest has just been piqued. Classes offer students the opportunity to play typical improvisational games while simultaneously being exposed to advanced acting techniques that heighten the actor's spatial awareness, kinesthetic response and impulsivity.
Students are exposed to both contemporary and classic texts and have the opportunity to work on monologues and scenes. The St. David's theater program aims to facilitate students to "step into themselves," to awaken their artistic passions, and to provide the means to help students take in the world around them by "listening with the ear of their heart."
Theater electives for middle school students include "Voice and the Stage," An Introduction to Dramatic Arts, Beginning Acting and Theater Improvisation. In the Upper School, students may choose courses including Advanced Acting Techniques, Public Speaking and independent studies.
At the core of the theater program is a very vibrant, professional, exciting theatrical season. The St. David's theater program produces material that aims to affect social change and serves to enlighten, inspire and entertain. Our productions have been nominated for the North Carolina Theatre Capital Awards, and they employ the best and brightest production staffs in the Triangle (many of whom are working professional artists). Our fall play is cast from our Upper School, and our spring musical is a K-12 event, one of the few activities on campus where all three divisions collaborate and work in tandem.
Recent productions include "Little Women," "The Miracle Worker," and "All My Sons," as well as "The Wizard of Oz," Bye Bye Birdie," "Suessical," and "Peter Pan."