Prairie’s Performing Arts adventure begins as Primary School students give expression to their creativity by singing, moving, and playing instruments. As they discover the possibilities in their own voices, they also learn how their talents can combine with others in an artistic tapestry of their own creation. In the Primary School years, students make their own choir come alive in Prairie’s theatre. They are mentored by Middle and Upper School music buddies and by professional artists from the ballet, opera, and symphony. Our goal is to deepen each student’s abilities to imagine, create, perform, listen, and reflect as they commence their life-long enjoyment of the Performing Arts.
Middle School students expand their Performing Arts horizons, refining and extending their skills in larger ensembles, learning about music in new global and historical contexts, and taking their talents into the greater community. In Fifth and Sixth Grade students can elect offerings in World Drumming, Band, Strings, Choir and Theatre. In addition to student created Musical and special concerts, students serve our community as members of The Music Bus; two times a year they become a traveling troupe and bring their performance magic to senior communities.
In Seventh and Eighth Grade students can elect guitar, theatre, electronic music, choir, jazz ensemble, theatre design and the annual musical. Selecting the musical gives students a chance to explore their talents in depth as part of a true theatre company, since they further select a specialty: creating the set and crewing the show, performing in the pit orchestra, or acting on stage / assisting the director. In addition, any ensemble student can participate in contests and festivals in the greater Southeastern Wisconsin community.
A Prairie alum describes their Upper School Performing Arts experience with these words: “My high school Performing Arts experience has been one of challenge, learning, and joy. The Performing Arts continue to influence the way I read, write, and perceive the world around me. They have allowed me to appreciate the meaning of collaboration and community. Whatever I do and wherever I go, I will continue contributing to the arts community around me.”
So, what are the Upper School Performing Arts possibilities? Students can fulfill their three credit arts graduation requirement by choosing from choir, jazz/orchestra, AP Music Theory, acting, theatrical makeup, musical theatre, directing, intro to tech theatre, or tech theatre workshop and independent study. Plays and musicals are cast via open auditions and arranged in seasons; this scheduling model enables students to combine participation in athletics and the arts. Some classes are inclusive of everyone at any level while others have prerequisites and are designed for students with more advanced skills.
In addition to the Performing Arts production season which includes everything from full-length plays to student directed one acts to musicals to concerts, students can compete in music and theatre festivals and travel on theatre trips to London or New York. And, each year professional performing artists, alums, and our own faculty share their own passions when they visit our stage and music rooms as visiting artists and mentors.
What makes our program special? Another alum sums it this way: “What stands out for me is the profound impact Prairie’s Performing Arts have had on my life. I have learned to embrace my own creativity while working with others to achieve a common goal. I have also discovered another side of the people I see everyday. I am constantly surprised by the amount of talent that I am surrounded by at The Prairie School!”