The Visual and Performing Arts department at BWL offers a rigorous, K-12 exploration of music, art and theater. We have a school-wide curriculum that is available to students in all divisions. Additionally, there are numerous extracurricular opportunities in Middle and Upper School to further refine our students’ interest and proficiency in the arts.
MUSIC CURRICULUM & PERFORMANCES
Grades K-2 begin their journey with general music classes every week. In Grade 3, chorus is introduced into the curriculum as a separate additional class. In Grades 4-5, students also begin the study of an instrument (choosing between violin, viola, and cello).
All students perform at the Holiday Concert in December and the Spring Concert in May, and Kindergarten performs at their annual Visitors Day. The Performing Arts Department works with every Lower School grade to prepare a “grade song” which is performed at our annual Arch Day. Select grades and individuals are chosen to perform at our annual Holiday Arts Festival.
THEATER CURRICULUM & PERFORMANCES
All grades K-5 rehearse and perform one show per year, which are often adaptations of children's books or popular Broadway shows. Shows are rehearsed for about 8-10 weeks during the school day. During the rehearsal process, students are introduced to basic theater vocabulary and technique including spatial awareness, vocal projection, and peer-to-peer interaction.
MUSIC CURRICULUM & PERFORMANCES
Students in Grades 6-8 choose from a variety of music electives, including Vocal Ensemble, Instrumental (violin, viola, cello), Music & Technology, and Guitar. Elective options may vary per year.
All students participating in Vocal Ensemble, Instrumental, and Guitar perform at our Holiday Concert in December and the Spring Concert in May. Select performance groups are chosen to perform for the entire school community at our Holiday Arts Festival.
THEATER PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES
Middle School students have several theatrical opportunities each year, including a musical, a spring play or cabaret, and a weekly class. All Middle School students are eligible to audition for the winter musical, which is produced in conjunction with the Upper School. Auditions take place in December with several performances in March at an off-Broadway theater. Past musicals have included Legally Blond, Guys & Dolls, Hairspray, and The Drowsy Chaperone, just to name a few. In the spring, students are encouraged to audition for a non-musical play or musical cabaret that takes place in the school's auditorium. Past shows include Peter and the Starcatcher, Radium Girls, Only in my Dreams, and The Complete History of America (Abridged). During the school day, students can take an Improvisation & Devised Theater activity, which meets weekly. Students are introduced to the basic building blocks of improv and work together to create original characters and scenes that are shared with their peers at an assembly.
Students in Grades 9-12 may choose to take one or more music electives throughout their time in high school. Ensembles and classes include:
• A Capella: BWL has two a capella groups, the Beaux Ties and the MsChords. These groups are by audition only.
• Rock Band: the BWL band, open to students at all levels who play any instrument. This ensemble is by audition only.
• Orchestra: designed for students who wish to continue their study of violin, viola, or cello.
• Vocal Ensemble: open to all students interested in singing. This ensemble focuses on a variety of genres, including pop, folk, rock, musical theatre, and traditional choral material.
• History of Pop Music: a non-performance elective focusing on the development of rock n' roll and how today's pop music came to be.
All Upper School students in an ensemble perform at the Holiday Concert, Spring Concert, and Holiday Arts Festival.
Several theater electives are offered each year, but class options may vary. Electives may include Theater Master Class, Audition Technique, Advanced Acting, Devised Theater, Dance Technique & Composition, and Puppet Theater.
Fall Play: All Upper School Students can audition for a fall non- musical play, which is rehearsed after school and performed in the BWL auditorium in November. Rehearsals explore more advanced theater techniques including script analysis, scene study, and character development. Past shows include The Sparrow, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, and You Can’t Take it With You.
Winter Musical: All Upper School Students can audition for a spring musical, which is rehearsed after school and performed in a 200-seat professional Off-Broadway theater. The rehearsal process is rigorous, and combines vocal performance, musical theater dance, and scene work. Past shows include Hairspray, Anything Goes, and Legally Blonde.
Student Showcase: Under the supervision of the theater faculty, this showcase is comprised of all student led work and is the capstone of the Upper School theater curriculum. Students write, cast, direct, and develop their own original work. All students in theater electives present their final coursework during this exciting event.
It is with great pride that the School community celebrates the dedication, and consistently dynamic results of every grade’s artistic efforts.This is never more apparent than during the Annual Art Show in May. Artwork from every grade is displayed during an evening open house.
BWL’s Visual Arts curriculum includes courses in Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Mixed Media. Students have an Art History requirement in the Upper School, and they visit local museums as part of the curriculum. A select group of seniors take a fall seminar where they collaborate to design a calendar. Unique each year, and always breathtaking in its originality, the Senior Calendar is a stunning reflection of BWL’s emphasis on creative expression.