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 -- 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. There are multiple performance opportunities each year, and advanced students are encouraged to audition for the Connecticut Western Regional and All-State ensembles. This is a year-long class and can be taken all 4 years.
- Percussion Ensemble -- Performing traditional and contemporary percussion ensemble literature, Steel Pan Music, as well as performing with the Instrumental Ensembles. The primary focus 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.
- Choir -- 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 -- An audition-only group for advanced singers that perform more challenging pieces which focus on harmony and Acapella. Opportunities to audition for the Western Regional Festival are also provided.
Visual & Studio Art
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.
- Fundamentals of Art -- Providing a general overview of the visual arts with an emphasis on design, historical significance, and artistic intent.
- Studio Art -- Emphasis will be placed on more advanced experiences with design principles, drawing techniques, and painting techniques. Coursework is designed to build mastery in technique, composition, design, and creative problem solving.
- Sculpture & 3D Design -- Students examine the effects of attention to detail, size, position, overlapping, visual pattern, and texture. Student artists use an art criticism process to evaluate, explain, and measure artistic growth in personal or group works.
- AP Art & Design -- Students manipulate the structural elements of art to promote creative risk-taking in 2-D artwork. Student artists use an art criticism process to evaluate, explain, and measure artistic growth in personal or group works.
St. Joseph High School boasts an active theatre life. Throughout their 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.
- Public Speaking & Theater -- introduces students to a basic understanding of the skills and art of theater. The course focuses on public speaking, scene studies, improvisation, script construction, and performance techniques, as well as exploring how theater has shaped societies since ancient times. Students will learn basic stage combat, backstage skills, as well as directing and acting.
- The Art of Acting -- This course provides an in-depth study of the various skills of an actor, including awareness and appreciation of acting both as a participant and an observer. Emphasis is placed upon ensemble and scene work, as well as improvisation. Students perform monologues, two-person scenes, improvised scenarios, as well as learning how to audition.
More than 100 students participate in the Drama Club's season each year. Participation includes performers, tech crew, stage managers, a student board, tickets sales, ushering, and so much more. Two productions are mounted each season, with a straight drama or comedy in the fall and a more whimsical musical in the spring.
Recent Drama Club Productions
- SpongeBob Squarepants, the Broadway Musical; 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.