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Where do I begin?
The Performing Arts at Penn Charter, housed in our incredible Kurtz Center, are a huge part of the campus culture. From the seasonal performances and concerts to the wide range of classes throughout the year, there are so many opportunities for students to immerse themselves in while getting involved with the Performing Arts at PC.
My first year in the Upper School was filled with many memorable experiences, including band and choral performances and a production of the musical The Addams Family. Although I have been involved with theater at PC for several years, my favorite role came from this production as Lucas Beineke, the boyfriend of Wednesday Addams. In the show, I had many solos and difficult singing parts to master, but with the help of the directors, I was able to learn and perform these pieces. The directors were so supportive as they helped me develop new skills in the arts, which further challenged me as a performer.
One of the best parts about participating in these performances is how all of the students form a close-knit community leading up to our concerts and shows. It does not matter whether you are new to the arts or someone who has been in all the shows, everyone is incredibly welcoming and wants you to get involved. In the musical last year, it felt like we were truly a family by the end of our production and those of us who did not know each other well at the beginning of rehearsals became great friends by the end of the experience. This same feeling is present in all aspects of the Performing Arts at PC as we come together, take part in our passions, and grow as a community.
All of these experiences are not just limited to Upper School. In Middle School, there is also a great band, choral, and theater program. I feel like I truly developed my passion for the performing arts in Middle School, thanks to the great teachers that made participating in the arts so fun. One class that stands out in my mind is my seventh grade Drama class. I remember when my friend and I created and acted out a skit in front of the whole Middle School with the only lines being from popular songs at that time. It was one of my favorite parts about my Middle School experience because of the ways our teachers let us use our imagination and explore our creative sides.
There are also many clubs and activities in the performing arts, including Quakers Dozen, Girls A Cappella, String Ensemble, and Jazz Band. These groups partner with our amazing directors outside of the normal school day to continue to harness their performance skills. As someone who has played the saxophone since sixth grade, I can see how I have grown as a musician over the last five years because of these experiences. My favorite part of participating in these groups is performing in the Small Ensemble Concert, where we get to show the PC community all of the hard work we have put into our music. I always love that students and faculty from all three divisions come to show their support, and that the hallways are filled with classmates complimenting each other the day after one of these performances.
In addition to the extracurricular opportunities, there are also exciting courses offered in the performing arts department, such as costume design and songwriting. Many of my friends have taken these classes and have loved them. The teachers bring so much passion to their lessons and make every student feel like they belong in the arts. This just goes to show that there is truly something for everyone when it comes to exploring the Performing Arts at Penn Charter.
While this past year the arts looked a little different due to the pandemic, the faculty still made sure that we were able to continue our passions. They got creative with the band and chorus by having them meet in an online format, where we connected every morning and continued to learn and expand our repertoire as performers. Our great teachers guiding us in this process kept these classes engaging and enjoyable. We also did an online performance of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and turned our onstage spring musical into music videos. These unique opportunities allowed us to explore different sides of the arts in a way that I might not have been able to in a normal year.
To me, there is nothing like the Performing Arts at PC. The community and culture surrounding the arts programs are unmatched. I know that the friendships I have made, the shows and concerts that I have participated in, and the experiences that I have had are going to be some of my favorite memories of PC when I graduate.
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