Fine & Performing Arts Staff
The high school music program, a culmination of the continuum of the basic skills taught in grades K-8, is performance-oriented and is comprised of choral and instrumental classes, guitar, music theory, theater and extra-curricular activities. Choral offerings are multi-level, elective or selective courses and include Mens Ensemble, Women's Chorus, Clarion Choir and Pantheon Choir, as well as extra-curricular vocal ensembles such as Chanteclairs based on student interest and availability. Instrumental course offerings include String and Full Orchestra, a three-level Concert Band and a three-level Jazz Band. All classes in music are graded and scheduled in the students' regular academic day. Concerts of the groups are held at regular intervals throughout the year, with all ensembles performing at least once a semester. Students are always welcome to join vocal and instrumental groups within the music program. There is a chorus, orchestra, band, or ensemble available to meet needs, interests and proficiency levels of all students - from beginning study to advanced instruction. Students who intend to further their music education after high school may also elect to enroll in music theory, music history and other related areas as independent study. Independent study courses are taught with computer-assisted instruction under the guidance of the music staff. Although many of the extra-curricular music activities are sponsored as a natural outgrowth of the music classes, they usually do not require a pre-requisite of course enrollment. All students, grades 9-12, regardless of whether they are able to schedule band, orchestra, or choir during the day are eligible to participate in the annual Spring Musical or Marching Band, the two largest school-wide student activities sponsored at the high school. A Broadway musical is staged every March, with students involved in every aspect of the production from directing, acting, dancing and playing in the pit orchestra to designing costumes, building sets, operating the lights and writing the publicity. Scene design and costuming is original and constructed in the evenings during the rehearsal phase of the program. A high degree of theatrical "professionalism" is achieved by utilizing a dedicated adult staff of forty musical specialists, a student staff of thirty to forty student managers, adult volunteers called Theatre Angels numbering over 100 parents and community members and performing cast and supporting crews of around 250 high school students. The Upper St. Clair "Panther" Marching Band, Majorettes, Pantherettes, Color Guard and Managers draw its membership from all students in the high school. The Marching Band rehearses after school during the first nine-week period and has a three week summer training program to prepare for the football half-time performances and band festivals. Each spring, with the support of the Upper St. Clair Band Parents Association, the Marching Band takes a trip to a major marching festival such as the Disney World Parade, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom festival, or the Toronto Music Festival.
HS Art classes include any low relief or three dimensional item designed and created by the student. While the emphasis is on designing and making jewelry, students may explore sculpture, fiber, or any area in which a product can be constructed. Students entering a career where eye-hand coordination or working on small-scale items are necessary skills may find the course helpful. Many past Upper St. Clair students are now jewelers either owning their own firms or as associates with other firms. In ceramics, students learn techniques involving hand built construction an skills. Ceramic sculpture, jewelry, wall pieces and production pieces involving casting are also explored. All work is individualized to the student's ability and interest. In 9th grade related elective crafts, the students are introduced to many basic concepts involving three-dimension design and execution. This exposure provides the students with enough information if they have sufficient interest to pursue crafts areas in the future. With the exception of related elective crafts, all of the crafts and ceramic areas may be elected for any semester of the high school experience. Painting and Drawing courses are offered to grades 9-12 on an elective basis and include: colors and design theory, drawing, painting, calligraphy, printmaking, commercial art and individualized projects. Emphasis is placed on individual assistance and achievements. Each student is evaluated according to his/her own ability and growth. Visiting artists are invited to give demonstrations and to explain different viewpoints and approaches in using tools, new design ideas and solutions to problems. Field trips throughout the year also give students an opportunity to see professional shows and different approaches to a variety of techniques and media.