At WES, there's much to applaud. It may be an individual choral performance, a trumpet solo, a Shakespearean production, or a comedic play that makes you want to cheer. Our kind, accepting environment allows each student to flourish artistically and shine on stage. (Click on photo above for a performing arts slide show.)
Music is an integral part of the curriculum at WES, for all students. Through singing and public speaking and theatrical performances, we try to find each student's creative talents and help them grow independently. Students in Grades 1-8 have numerous opportunities to read a scripture lesson, sing in two-part harmony, or stand up and perform on a solo instrument that they privately study during Chapel services throughout the year.
Our goal is to give students the opportunity and ability for expression, appreciation, and development in music. This is achieved through independent and ensemble performance, movement and expression, music reading and notation, and observing professional performances.
Music and Movement classes allow our students to learn about rhythm as they play the drums, dance to the beat, and learn new songs. Students develop their gross motor skills, singing voice, and musical ear through vocal exploration, singing games, simple folk dances, and music listening activities. Through song they retell the Christmas story at their annual performance. In spring they take the stage at their May Day performance to the delight of the audience.
Students in Grades 1, 2, and 3 learn basic music theory and performance as well as a mixture of Kodaly and Orff music reading methods. Students in Grade 3 learn to play the recorder and play at Chapel and during the Christmas Chapel for Grades 1-4.
During the summer before they enter Grade 4, students work with the band instructor to choose an instrument to explore and learn. Band instruction takes place during school at no cost. In addition to belonging to one Band ensemble, they also belong to one Chorus and give two concerts per year with Grades 6-8.
By Middle School, students decide on a performing arts elective between chorus and band. Grades 4-8 give two concerts a year at Christmas and in spring. Students with stronger musical affinity and talent can also join the a cappella group, the Band Ambassadors, and Jazz Band. Offerings vary from year to year dependent upon the interest of the students.
Speech and Drama
In addition to having fun and learning new skills, students develop self-confidence and learn to feel more comfortable with their ability to communicate though our program.
Throughout the school year all students present projects, read at Chapel, share written stories, and more! Even the most reluctant public speakers learn key skills and develop the confidence to present their ideas and work in a variety of group settings.
Each class from Kindergarten through Grade 4 explores the stage by presenting plays that often include reciting poetry, dressing in costumes, singing songs, dancing, and portraying historical figures.
A highlight of the year for Grade 6 students is the eagerly awaited Sixth-Grade Musical in March, which showcases the talents of the class, as they are responsible for all aspects of the production in two performances. Grade 5 provides choral accompaniment. Recent productions include Peter Pan Jr., Beauty and the Beast Jr., and Alice in Wonderland Jr.
Students are exposed to more dramatic productions based on literature read in class. The study of Shakespeare and the iambic pentameter, operative words, and emotional meaning are the main focus in Grade 8, as students prepare for an abridged version of a Shakespeare play. In December, Grade 8 students perform Scrooge in a black box format. Grade 7 students begin the school year by performing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and end the year with a presentation of the Italian plays which they rehearse in ancient city of Paestum during their study trip to Italy.
As professional musicians and performers themselves, the music and drama teachers know that every student can bring something new and exciting to the stage and that each one has his or her own special talents. Faculty and staff also provide accompaniment, sing, and play instruments with the students in performances during Chapel, concerts, graduation, and other gatherings.