Arts department at Walker's

Arts

Philosophy

African drummingCommunication, creativity, and collaboration are fundamental to all of the arts on our campus.

Through the arts, students learn to take risks, push beyond perceived boundaries, and discover new ways of expressing themselves and engaging with the community.

A student who has a passion for the arts can pursue after school co-curricular activities such as acting, technical theatre, and dance during all three seasons. In addition, students can participate in private voice and instrumental lessons, and perform in vocal and instrumental ensembles. There are so many opportunities for students to perform and showcase their art work. There are several main stage music, theatre, and dance performances as well as art galleries throughout campus. Student performances and art work are part of daily life at Walker’s.

The Arts programs emphasise both skill development and self-driven, experiential learning. Courses in Digital Photography, Movie and Video Production, Studio Arts, Art History, Ceramics, Dance, Music, and Theatre, as well as Independent Studies in all areas, allow students to delve into numerous art forms as they discover new ways to express themselves. All students have an Arts requirement, but often students find a form that speaks to them and they continue beyond the minimum credits. Formative assessments are used throughout every visual and performing arts class. Students are given immediate feedback throughout the lesson, which includes suggestions, options, and engaging conversations. Critical and constructive feedback from both peers and faculty measure the effectiveness of both the creative process and the final product.

Arts students are taught to be leaders by choreographing, composing, curating, and assistant teaching. Students participate in arts-related community partnerships such as Children’s Dance and Music classes, a capella competitions, and the Empty Bowls project. At Walker’s, we prepare students to look beyond themselves and find ways to use the arts to give back to the community and make a difference in the world.

Faculty

Cheri Soule

Cheri Soule

Chair, Visual and Performing Arts and Director of Dance
B.S., SUNY Brockport
B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University
M.F.A., Smith College
Corina Alvarezdelugo

Corina Alvarezdelugo

Art Teacher and Gallery Director
B.F.A., Albertus Magnus College
Ben Barker

Ben Barker

Photography and Movie/Video Production Teacher
B.Sc., University of East Anglia, England
Marissa Forde

Marissa Forde

Ceramics Teacher
B.A., Jacksonville University
M.Ed., University of Hartford
Shannen Hofheimer

Shannen Hofheimer

Director of Theater
B.M., University of Hartford
Laurie MacAlpine

Laurie MacAlpine

Chair, Music Department
B.S., Ladycliff College
M.M., The Hartt School

Courses

Dance - Middle School

Middle School Dance

Required for Grades 6, 7 and 8

The Middle School Dance program concentrates on the development of technical skills, and the appreciation of the art form. An annual dance performance is included in the yearly activities.

Dance - Upper School

Dance Workshop

Open to Grades 9-12
Fall and winter season commitment; By audition

Dance Workshop is the advanced-level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected by audition and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Workshop members take daily advanced-level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz, character, and stretch and strengthen. These classes are supplemented with weekly rehearsals for student, faculty, and guest artist choreography. Senior members of Dance Workshop take choreography classes and run their own rehearsals. Dance Workshop performs in the annual Winter Dance Concert.

Dance Ensemble

Open to Grades 9-12
Fall and winter season commitment; By audition

Dance Ensemble is the high-intermediate level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected by audition and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Ensemble members take daily intermediate level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz and character. This group also has the opportunity to work with guest artists and they perform in the annual Winter Dance Concert.

Dance Corps

Open to Grades 9-12
Fall and winter season commitment; By audition

Dance Corps is for students who would like to commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. These students participate in weekly technique classes at their appropriate level in ballet, modern, and jazz. This group also has the opportunity to work with guest artists and perform in the annual Winter Dance Concert.

General Enrollment Dance

Open to Grades 9-12
Fall, winter, and spring seasons

These classes are open to students at any level of dance from beginner to advanced. Students have exposure to ballet, modern, jazz and composition. Winter dance also counts towards the team sport requirement as it includes a performance.

Theater - Middle School

Performance Fundamentals

Required for Grades: 6, 7, and 8

The Middle School theatre classes will focus on the fundamentals of dramatic performance. The classes will build the necessary skills for character development, scene work, and theatre history.

Middle School Theater Production

Offered: Winter, Grades 6-8
Prerequisite: Audition
Credit: Winter season athletics

During the winter months, cast members rehearse a theatrical production to be presented to the community in early March. Past productions have included The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book, The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree, The Hobbit, Wonderland and Robin Hood.

Theater - Upper School

Acting

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: .5

The goal of this course is to develop self-awareness, master acting guideposts, and build on previous knowledge of stage acting through the use of scenes, improvisation, and monologues. This one-semester class introduces students to basic acting techniques, including effective use of the voice, principles of stage movement, building a character, playwriting, story creation, and improvisation. The course is designed for students interested in exploring theater as a means of personal development and expression, as well as for those who wish to begin to study the craft of acting and/or playwriting. Students are expected to memorize lines, write journals, and be evaluated on their performances. This course may be taken more than once, so the course will be tailored to the students’ interests and needs.

Musical Theater

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: .5

In this class, students will collaborate on scenes, songs and dances from classic works of musical theater. Students will have the opportunity to watch and learn from historic theatrical performances, as well as delve deeply into scene work, song analysis, and choreography. This class will expose students to industry guest speakers and take theatrical field trips.

Winter Play

Open to Grades: 9-12
Offered: November through February
Prerequisite: Audition in November
Credit: Winter season co-curricular

During the winter months, cast members rehearse a play which is presented to the community in mid-February. Past productions have included Good Help is So Hard to Murder, Haiku, Animal Farm, All in the Timing, Rope, and an original Shakespearean adaptation, The Food of Love.

Spring Musical

Open to Grades 9-12
Offered: February through May
Prerequisite: Audition in February
Credit: Spring season co-curricular

The Theatre, Music, and Dance Departments collaborate on a full-scale musical that is presented to the community in May. Recent productions include Seussical, The Boyfriend, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Godspell, Illyria, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Sister Act, Beauty and the Beast and Hairspray.

Music - Middle School

Middle School Music Classes & Choristers

Required in Grades: 6-8

Middle School Music classes meet once per week within grade levels, and once per week as a full Middle School. The grade level class includes singing and choral activities, folk dancing, rhythm training, music theory, musical theatre/theatre exercises, sight singing, and audition preparation. There is continued emphasis on listening and skill development, as well as music appreciation.

The full Middle School music meeting is called Choristers. All Middle School students participate in this choral group, which performs in the Holiday and Spring Concerts, as well as all-School Chapels.

Music Lessons

Open to Grades: 6-12; Additional fee
Extra-curricular activity

Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and chapels involve the Music Program, and public performance in these events is encouraged.

Financial Commitment: Private lessons are billed through the Business Office. Please refer to the booklet that contains all financial agreements, and return the completed information form. The Music Instruction Agreement must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned before lessons can be given to a student.

Gospel Choir

Open to Grades: 7-12, without audition

The Gospel Choir is a lively vocal ensemble that incorporates musical styles from the spiritual, blues and gospel genres. This ensemble demands a willingness to participate in the appropriate style that this music commands.

Group Voice

Open to Grades: 6-12, without audition

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn and improve vocal technique and to experience a repertoire of various styles. Enrollment in choir is not required. A fine vocal ensemble, Voce Felice, is formed from members of this class. Individual singers have the opportunity to perform as soloists at the close of the year.

Music - Upper School

Music Lessons

Open to Grades 6-12; Additional fee

Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and assemblies involve the Music Program, and public performance in these events is encouraged.

Financial Commitment: Private lessons are billed through the Business Office. The Music Instruction Agreement must be returned before lessons can be given to a student. Please contact the Business Office for additional details.

Group Voice

Open to Grades 6-12

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn and improve vocal technique and to experience a repertoire of various styles. Enrollment in choir is not required. A fine vocal ensemble, Voce Felice, is formed from members of this class. Individual singers have the opportunity to perform as soloists at the close of the school year. All singers are welcome.

Gospel Choir

Open to Grades 7-12

The Gospel Choir is a lively vocal ensemble that incorporates musical styles from the spiritual, blues and gospel genres. This ensemble demands a willingness to participate in the appropriate style that this music commands. All singers are welcome.

African Drumming

Open to Grades 9-12

African Drumming is an essential part of Walker’s Music Program. The group utilizes a variety of drums, some of which were constructed from trees on the School property in Simsbury. Students study a wide array of styles and develop an appreciation for the intricate musical sounds, and variety of moods the different drumming disciplines convey and express. The tones of the instruments as well as the use of a particular rhythm open the mind to the rich world of music and enhance the capacity of each drummer. Students are encouraged to both read and hear patterns so that they engage the better part of themselves when they play together. The group often performs on campus and continues to create a moving presence at The Ethel Walker School.

Chamber Ensembles

Open to Grades 9-12; By audition

The chamber ensembles afford the serious musician the opportunity to perform fine works. Students must be proficient on their instrument and enjoy working in a focused, musical environment. These ensembles are called upon to perform at many functions throughout the school year.

Choir

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: 1

A full Arts credit is given for this course; it will fulfill the arts graduation requirement but is not figured into GPA. Walker’s Choir performs regularly at many School functions and presents two major choral concerts. All singers are welcome.

Grapes

Open to Grades 9-12; By audition

This vocal ensemble is an a cappella singing group. Only members of the Choir may audition. Singers perform off campus to earn community service credits required for graduation. This ensemble performs music from the folk, pop, jazz and Broadway genres. Auditions take place at the beginning of the school year and include a simple sight-singing exercise, presentation of a piece that best shows the singer's voice and a group piece that determines vocal blend and intonation.

Group Keyboard

Open to Grades 9-12

This course provides beginner to intermediate piano students with an opportunity to improve their keyboard skills. The classes allow each student to progress at her own pace. Students are invited to participate in recitals at the end of the year. All musicians are welcome.


Harmonious Bells

Open to Grades 9-12

The bell choir performs for many events on campus and can be taken as a music discipline for music majors. This course teaches a basic understanding of rhythm and note reading and allows students of all levels to perform in an ensemble. All musicians are welcome.

Music Major Program

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: 1

Credit is given to students who wish to take two private lessons a week or two music disciplines, not including Choir. A half credit is given along with grades and comments for each semester. Music majors are expected to perform during the school year.

Music Theory

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: 1

A two–semester course that can be taken as a lesson or as a credited course. The course is taught at the level of the student and progresses according to her capacity. It presents the basics of music theory, dictation and notation, and ear training. The advanced student may study composition and musical analysis.

Orchestra

Open to Grades 9-12

Orchestra is open to instrumentalists who are capable of individual preparation and working toward a standard of musical excellence in a group setting. Rehearsals are not frequent and attendance is crucial. This is a wonderful environment to develop technique and broaden the musical experience.

Visual Arts - Middle School

Middle School Art

Required for Grades: 6-8

This course explores the basic modes of visual expression, which may include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, textile arts, and ceramics. Coursework is designed to help each student develop her own identity through art, as well as self-confidence and independence. The curriculum connects with the Middle School program of study whenever possible and provides a well-rounded artistic basis for Upper School-level visual art courses.

Visual Arts - Upper School

Art History: Ancient Egypt to the Renaissance

Open to Grades 9-12
Course is cross-listed in both the Visual Arts and History departments
Credit: .5

This course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and architectural history. Students will gain an understanding of the differences between a formal and contextual analysis of a work of art, learn to formulate a thesis and will then engage in both forms of analysis. Students will view the art through a lens of the historical events, literature, music and social context of the time periods studied. This course begins by looking at Ancient Egyptian art and architecture through Europe, the Middle East and Asia into the Renaissance. By studying great works from within these artistic periods, students will gain a better understanding, not simply of the visual art of each era, but of how they fit within the context of their time.

Ceramics

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

The Ceramics class will provide an opportunity for students to develop a body of work that is both conceptually valid and reflective of their artistic style. Sculpture techniques, the science of glazing, and wheel skills are taught to all levels of students, and they will be encouraged to experiment at all times. In addition to developing technique, students will design their own multi-part construction based on exploration of pottery around the world. Each student will be expected to produce work that portrays her creative powers and technical abilities.

Drawing

Open to Grades: 9-12; multilevel course
Credit: .5
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

Drawing is the foundation from which we develop our visual vocabulary as we hone our observational skills. Drawing from observation or life is a critical skill to develop for anyone wanting to quickly and visually express ideas, as it trains the eye, hand and brain to translate the 3D form into a 2D illusion. In this multilevel class, whether taken for the first time or as
continuation to further develop one’s drawing skills, students will be exposed to a variety of dry media learning the necessary technical skills to communicate their ideas, while continuing to strengthen their knowledge in the elements and principles of design. Students may take this class as a repeated course in order to prepare their art portfolios for college admission.

Graphic Publication

Open to Grades 9-12
Fall Semester (can be extended for extra credit into Spring Semester(
Credit: .5

This course allows students to develop the design, writing and photography skills needed to create a thorough, interesting and dynamic documentation of the life of the School: the official school yearbook, the Pepperpot. Includes elements of art, film, image manipulation, design, layout, article writing, research, editing, marketing, publishing and sales. Students will receive additional responsibilities and take greater leadership roles each time the course is taken.

Mixed Media and Collage

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

In this class, students will be encouraged to open the doors to their creativity, experimenting with different papers, media and techniques, while discovering their own personal artistic voice. Focusing on composition, textures and layers. This exploration of mixed media and collaging will be supported using the grid, background treatments and various ways to transfer images, including the use of photographs and found objects to add meaning to their works. Overview of historical and contemporary collage.

Movie/Video Production

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: .5

This is a semester course designed to cover all facets of movie production, including script writing, working with talent, camera work, sound, directing, locations, costume, props, post production editing, etc. Nikon DSLR cameras will be supplied for the duration of the course. Genre types will include shorts, feature films, documentaries, music videos, and comedy sketches. The course will involve hands-on, small team experience developing production timelines and filming with DSLR cameras after review of best-practice examples of each motion-picture type. Instruction in post-production editing techniques will be taught to allow finished products to be shown to the local community and/or entered into film showcases and festivals.

Painting

Open to Grades 9-12; multilevel course
Credit: .5
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

In this class, students will be able to explore different “wet media” with processes such as transparent and opaque painting. These include watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil; discovering the expressiveness of color and paint application techniques, while learning color theory. Students will also be introduced to the ancient medium of encaustic painting. The focus of this course will be on color, scale, and composition and how these are fundamental elements in the development of their visual concepts. Students may take this class as a repeated course in order to prepare their art portfolios for college admission, as well as to work on public art projects (murals in our community, stools and tables in the art room, etc.).

Photography 1

Open to Grades: 9-12
Credit: .5

This is a semester course designed to cover a broad range of digital photography techniques, principles, equipment and image subjects. A Nikon DSLR camera is supplied for the duration of the course. The course also
covers areas of post production and image manipulation. It includes principles of exposure, portrait photography, landscape photography, macro photography, sports photography, food photography, black and white photography, low light photography, light painting, wildlife photography, in-class challenges and more than 20 other topics. Over the course of the semester, independent shooting, collaborative peer critiques, and historical research will contribute to each student’s final portfolio that will exhibit her individual photographic style.

Printmaking

Open to Grades: 9-12
Credit: .5
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

This course introduces the student to the production of multiple images from a single design. Students will learn about the basic tools and materials used in a variety of printmaking techniques, understanding that printing will produce a reversed image. For this, an emphasis on creative problem-solving is essential, through research, sketching and idea development before committing to a plate. Students will explore various printmaking techniques including but not limited to linoleum – block printing, drypoint, image transfer, and stamping, as well as monoprint/monotype, and stenciling. They will learn about the effective use of positive and negative space, and the creation of artist’s proofs and series. A brief overview of historical and contemporary prints, including the use of prints for political or social messaging will be addressed.

Photography 2

Open to Grades: 9-12
Credit: .5

This course is designed to follow on from the prerequisite Photography 1. It will include elements of studio photography, green screen photography, street photography and drone photography. DSLR cameras will be supplied for the duration of the course. The course will generate proficiency in Adobe Creative Cloud ‘Lightroom’ and ‘Photoshop’ techniques and will incorporate field trips for photography assignments. It will also include an emphasis on independent studies as students focus on their own interests, all the while creating an online portfolio of their best work.

Sculpture and 3D Design

Open to Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

This course will focus on applying the basic elements and principles of art and design to help students construct artistically creative 3D structures in a variety of media and techniques. Students will study additive and subtractive sculpture-making approaches, construction, assemblage, as well as molding and casting. Students will be exposed to the following materials when creating their projects: paper (ex. the artist book, pop-up, quilling) paper casting, papier-mâché, cardboard construction and deconstruction, assemblage, wire, plaster, encaustic, and found objects and recycled materials.

Studio Art 1 and 2

Open to Grades 9-12; full year or single semester
Credit: .5 per semester
There is no limit to the number of semesters for which you may register for this course.

This class is designed to accommodate students with a desire to learn about art or to continue evolving in their artistic pursue. Multi-level courses in art have proven to be advantageous for all students. Ideas and techniques
discussed with the beginner or intermediate level students serve as refreshers for advanced students, while instruction and ideas given to these students serve as goal setters for the lower levels students. Students will be exposed to a variety of media, tools and techniques through open-ended assignments that challenge the student and encourage creativity and originality. Through studio practice, application of the fundamentals of art and informed decision making, students will create a body of work that demonstrate a high level of quality and growth over time, in content, technique and process.

Afternoon Art Concentration

Prerequisite: Approval of department
Fulfills co-curricular requirement

The Afternoon Art Concentration is geared for the students who want to pursue a career in the field of the arts and need this extra time to prepare and/or enhance their art portfolio for the competitive college admission process. Such students will be mentored by professionals in their field of study on and off campus (depending on their field of study) in order to gain instrumental experience, expanding their knowledge and honing their skills. Each student is required to complete their projects, culminating the term with an exhibition and oral presentation to the school’s community.

News and Photos

Faculty Profile: Corina Alvarezdelugo, Artist and Educator

Corina Alvarezdelugo grew up in Venezuela in a home where art was considered a hobby, not a profession. It wasn't until she had gone to law school and was a mother of three, living in the United States, that she learned that she could study art at the university level.