On stage, field, screen, and walls -- The Arts are everywhere at ND!
Support for the arts is a hallmark of Education in the Holy Cross Tradition. Blessed Basil Moreau, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, inaugurated an orchestra at the school he founded in LeMans, France in 1836, an unusual move for that period. The pioneering Holy Cross Brothers and Priest who founded Notre Dame University brought that tradition to the United States. Hence, the oldest American college marching band is the Fighting Irish Band, founded in 1845, a mere three years after the foundation of the University.
Notre Dame is proud of its 70-plus years of promotion of the arts here On The Hill. The ND Glee Club, 84 members strong, made its premiere appearance on Tuesday, December 2, 1947. The ND Band under the direction of Brother Eldred Reisenweber, CSC, debuted in 1947 with sixteen marches and classical numbers in its repertoire. The band boasted 48 members. In 1949, The Student Theater of Notre Dame High School presented its production of The Big Help by Jean Kerr, a comedy in three acts. A mere three years after opening the doors in 1946!
From this solid foundation, Notre Dame built an active program in performing and visual arts. For our musicians, a variety of course selections and extra-curricular options amplify the staples of our performance groups, the Concert Band, the Marching Band, and the String Ensemble. Non-performance-based music courses (Piano Lab, Music Theory and Composition, Music Appreciation, and Garage Band Lab) and extra-curricular music activities (Jazz Band, Music Ministry, and Outreach Choir) round out the music offerings.
Within the last five years, ND's Theater Department reintroduced musicals and added a fall drama to its schedule. Awards and award nominations attest to the success of the theater program. Among the recent outstanding, nominated performances are Arsenic and Old Lace, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Into the Woods, Seussical, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Save the date: March 13-15, 2020 when ND will be one of the first high schools in Connecticut to take on the Broadway musical Newsies!
Today, the ND Concert Chorus has 35 members (and growing) whose voices resound at our school liturgies and our Christmas, Mid-Winter, and Spring Concerts. Mrs. Evans is working with Sacred Heart Academy and Lauralton Hall to bring a co-ed chorus on the road to visit the West Haven VA Hospital and a local retirement community. Looking ahead to spring 2020, you will find many chorus members in the drama department's production of Newsies. In May, chorus members will round out the year by singing at our Class of 2020 Graduation Mass and participating in a competition at Lake Compounce.
The Fine Arts Department offers a variety of courses that foster creativity and seek to inspire a lifelong love of the arts. Students can choose from many exciting Fine Arts courses: Symbolism in Art, Creative Fun with Technology, Drawing Skill Building, Freestyle Painting, Let It Form (3-Dimensional Art). At the end of his required Survey of Fine Arts class, one of our sophomores had this to say, "This course made me feel engaged to do artwork and changed my previous perspective of Art."
Our new Signature Program in Video Production is an option that is attractive to many students with artistic talent. Students who enroll in Video Production develop strong skills in camera operation, audio mixing, graphics system operations, sound, editing, and overall viewing analysis. The Production, Planning and Video Editing Theory classes put creative control directly in students' hands.
Finally, in the background, rarely seen, but deserving much credit is our industrious stage crew whose members bring creativity and hard work to every production.
Notre Dame High School is proud of our dedicated faculty members who direct our young musicians, performers, artists, producers, and technicians. Thank you, Mr. Arnold, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. LaMonaca, Mrs. Doherty, and Mr. Footit.