Music, dance and drama are an important part of the liberal arts education at Hathaway Brown School. The performing arts are taught independently, but are related to other areas of learning. Opportunities for exploration and performance reinforce skills, encourage cultural literacy and cultivate interest in the field. After school enrichment classes and the Musical Arts Program, which offers private instrument lessons, provide additional opportunities for students passionate about the performing arts to participate in learning activities that bring greater depth to their Hathaway Brown experience.
General music is a structured program that engages students in playing instruments, enjoying movement, singing and listening. They learn to play the recorder and Orff instruments while studying a variety of musical styles. Instrumental ensembles, early music ensemble and guitar classes are electives that rehearse and perform throughout the year.
- The fifth and sixth grade general music curriculum, taught by Ms. Deborah Southard, is an Orff Schulwerk based program that continues to build on the solid skills established in the Primary music program. Throughout the year, students continue to develop confidence in their musical skills as they sing, dance, play the soprano and alto recorders, barred and percussion instruments, and improvise, using dramatic texts and creative stories. The process of active music making empowers students to reach their musical potential and encourages them to create their own music and movement that is both skilled and uniquely expressive.
- Seventh and eighth grade music classes, taught by Ms. Jessica Allen, incorporate a body of culturally diverse resources while exploring the music of West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Students experience the culture in authentic ways through playing instruments, singing and dancing. Students develop aural skills and musical independence through opportunities to improvise, create rhythms, and lead as master drummers.
- The Middle School Orchestra, led by Ms. Linda Simon-Mietus, provides an exciting opportunity for students to discover the musical treasures of orchestral music. Any student who has studied an orchestral instrument for at least one year is eligible to join the Middle School Orchestra, which hones musical skills and expression in the context of a mixed ensemble. The Orchestra performs throughout the year in the HB community and is committed to sharing their music with the greater global community through Concert Tour Days. Students are encouraged to continue private lessons on their instrument to ensure solid skill building. Private lessons are available after school hours on a variety of instruments through the Musical Arts Program that also provides an opportunity for students to try a new instrument that has captured their interest. For additional information, please visit the HB Orchestra website.
- The Recorder Consort program, led by Ms. Deborah Southard, is a unique two-year ensemble dedicated to the performance and exploration of music played on the full range of recorders. In seventh grade, students are invited to join the Early Music Ensemble based on their interest and recorder skills in sixth grade music. This ensemble strives to re-create the rich musical textures of Medieval and early Renaissance music. The ensemble continues in eighth grade to play in the Recorder Consort, where the repertoire expands to include music from the Celtic, jazz and folk traditions. Both ensembles share their music in formal concerts within the HB community and are committed to a wider outreach in the greater Cleveland community and abroad.
- The Guitar Ensembles, led by Ms. Deborah Southard, are an elective for grades five through eight, where students learn the very basics of folk guitar. In the following years, students expand their knowledge as they study a variety of styles of guitar music, including flamenco, contemporary rock, and blues. The students have ample opportunities to play in informal school Hootenannies scheduled throughout the year.
Seventh or eighth grade students who enjoy singing are welcome to join Chorus, a year-long elective taught by Ms. Deborah Southard and Ms. Jessica Allen. The goal of the Chorus curriculum is to foster a passion for harmonic singing and expanding vocal skills, while building a rich choral repertoire from diverse time periods and world cultures. There are many opportunities for independent leadership as section leaders, soloists, announcers and student accompanists. The Middle School Chorus has many impromptu and formal concerts scheduled throughout the year, in addition to a Tour Day with a focus of musical community service. All of these performances are a natural outgrowth of the musical process. Bella Voice is a select ensemble of talented singers from the Chorus who also perform throughout the year.
Drama is introduced in seventh grade as a skill-building course to enable the students to improvise, role play and develop confidence on stage.
- Each seventh grade student participates in drama class, taught by Ms. Molly Cornwell, that explores numerous theater games and improvisations throughout the quarter. These activities are designed to build confidence and expand imagination of the young actor. The students participate in class improvisations, skits, and character development. The students share their scene work with their peers and invite classes from the Primary school to enjoy their performances.
- The eighth grade musical, a time-honored tradition in the Middle School, is a natural culmination of the Performing Arts curriculum, combining music, dance and drama. Eighth grade students who love Broadway musicals may choose to participate in the production as performers, choreographers, stage crew and student directors. The musical, directed by Ms. Deborah Southard and choreographed by Ms. Jenny Burnett, is announced in November and the students who have chosen to participate will be prepared for their audition in January. Most rehearsals are during the school day with additional rehearsals scheduled closer to performance time. The musical is performed in assemblies for the Middle and Primary Schools and twice for the public.
• Dancing Outside of the Box, taught by Ms. Jenny Burnett, explores contemporary dance technique. The class begins with technique class, then transition into the study of choreography with students developing their own movement vocabulary. The choreography portion of class focuses on fusing different dance forms (ballet, jazz, hip hop, Irish) into a contemporary dance choreographic project.
• Acting Up! is a theater academy for any aspiring actor and is instructed by Ms. Molly Cornwell. The focus is on the actor’s checklist: objectives, action, circumstances, and settings, physical and emotional traits of the character, and scene analysis. Character development is also explored through vocal and physical improvisation. Other behind-the-scenes elements, such as set and costume design, playwriting, props and stage makeup, are included.
• Stories on Stage! is an academy instructed by Ms. Jessica Allen for students who love musical stage productions and want to learn more about them. Students study and watch a series of Broadway musicals, operas, and operetta with attention to plot, character development, musical expression, and style. Students are given opportunities to create through re-enacting scenes, performing songs, and other activities. The experience culminates with a group field trip to attend a live show in the area.