A foundation in the arts
St Joseph High School believes that every student requires a well-rounded education and that the formation of the whole student through arts education is integral to this experience.
A foundation in the arts develops cognitive & analytical skills, the ability to self-direct, communicate more effectively, and sharpens critical and creative skills. Research has shown that what students learn in the arts helps them to master other subjects, such as: literature, math, engineering, and social studies. The arts allow students to develop self-expression through visual, aural and performance mediums. Upon completion of the program, students should possess a basic understanding and appreciation of the arts in both modern and historical contexts.
Music class can be an exciting and stimulating course for any age and level of student. It provides an outlet for creativity, as well as a “hands-on” hour of learning during the school day. Music possesses the power to touch all aspects of a student’s personality: the intellectual, the physical, the emotional, the psychological, and the social. Music engages students in a group activity that explores appreciation of music as an art form, gives students a vehicle to use their free time constructively, and allows students to work together and give quality public performances.
St. Joseph High School offers classes during the school day for String, Brass, and Woodwind players, Percussionists, and Vocalists. Ensembles include Concert Band, Choir, Chamber Singers, Steel Pan, and Percussion, as well as Jazz Band. There are also non-performance classes for students interested in music theory and history such as World Music and Intro to Music I.
- Instrumental Ensemble Classes are performance based ensemble classes that incorporate strings (violin, viola, cello, bass), brass, and woodwind players working together in a flex model ensemble. While not a traditional band or orchestra, this model of music provides the maximum amount of inclusion for students as well as styles of music that the students can perform. Instrumentalists are divided by content knowledge into 2 ability based groups. There are multiple performance opportunities each year, and advanced students are encouraged to audition for the Connecticut Western Regional and All State ensembles. All new students to the school are expected to schedule a time to meet with Mr. Miller in order to be placed into the correct ensemble. This is a year-long class and can be taken all 4 years. Students who would like to perform with this ensemble who don’t have prior experience can sign up for the SJMA classes taught after school on Wednesday’s to learn the skills needed to perform with these groups.
- Percussion Ensemble Established in 2021, the Percussion Ensemble performs traditional and contemporary percussion ensemble literature, Steel Pan Music, as well as performing with the Instrumental Ensembles. The primary focus of study in this ensemble is traditional percussion instruments: Snare Drum, Mallet Keyboards, and Timpani. Advanced students are encouraged to audition for the Western Regional and All State Ensembles. An audition is currently required for placement into this group, and prior percussion experience is necessary. This is a year-long class that can be taken all 4 years. Students without prior experience, can sign up for the SJMA classes taught after school on Wednesday’s to learn the skills needed to be placed into this group.
- Choir teaches students with no vocal training how to sing. Students study proper breathing technique, sight singing, and stage performance practice. Plus there will be two concerts per year. Repertoire is drawn from sacred and popular songs and stronger singers are encouraged to solo.
- Chamber Singers is an audition-only group for advanced singers that perform more challenging pieces which focus on part harmony and singing Acapella. Opportunities to audition for the Western Regional Festival are also provided.
- Steel Pan is offered to Juniors and Seniors who have proficient skills in reading and performing music. Students will play on authentic steel pan instruments and learn ‘panorama charts” and Caribbean rhythms. In addition there are seminars on the history of pan development and steel pan making. The semester will end with a performance at the school’s spring concert. Previous experience in playing music and reading skills are needed for success in this class.
The visual arts department offers students the opportunity to experience both art history and studio art. Additionally, visual arts plays a large role in the lives of students and faculty alike, with an active pottery club, There are a variety of art shows and competitions with which many students become involved, which builds on the arts life on campus, as well.
St Joseph High School boasts an active theatre life. Over four years, all students have the ability to participate in, or to attend, a comedy, a drama, a modern piece, a classical piece, and many musicals. Theater skills relate to all aspects of our students' lives. They become better public speakers, more confident student leaders, and incredibly accepting of the varied personalities which make up the tapestry that is SJHS. With the addition of the sophomore year Theater I elective, all students at SJHS now have the opportunity to hone these life skills before heading off into their futures.
There are over 100 students who participate in the Drama Club's season each year. Participation includes the performers, technical crew, stage managers, a student board who runs many of the aspects of production, tickets sales, ushering, and so much more. Drama Club is an incredibly inclusive cross-section of the SJHS population, from honors students to CEP, student council reps to athletes: every group on campus is represented. Two productions are mounted each season, with a straight drama or comedy in the fall and a more whimsical musical in the spring.
Past Drama Club Productions
- Almost, Maine; Hamlet; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; Thoroughly Modern Millie; The Bold, the Young, and the Murdered; Once Upon a Mattress; The Importance of Being Earnest; Godpsell; Our Town
Theatre Lecture Series
- In the Spring 2021, St Joseph High School hosted a series of lectures for our students interested in the performing arts. These included:
- Behind the Scenes: Jobs Offstage in Professional Theatre (Guest: Daniel Williams)
- Dancing for Stage & Screen (Guest: Evan DeBenedetto '16)
- Film Television & Acting (Guest: Daniel Foster '14)
- The College Theatre Major (Guest: Patrick Agonito '17)