“Man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Roanoke Catholic nurtures our students’ artistic expression during the school day by providing credit courses in band and the visual arts:

  • ART I: EXPLORING VISUAL DESIGN: By blending art criticism, art history, aesthetics, and studio production together, this course provides the building blocks necessary to appreciate, understand, and create great works of art. Students will experiment with a variety of media such as drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, and other crafts.
  • ART II: EXPLORING CLAY: This course introduces students to a variety of hand building techniques and the vocabulary and art history associated with it. Students will create a variety of useful and sculptural pieces in clay and have the opportunity to work in mosaics. Students will investigate and test various glazing techniques while producing usable pieces of art.
  • ART III: STUDIO ART AND DIGITAL PORTFOLIO PREPARATION: Building on skills learned in Art I, students expand on their knowledge of art criticism, art history, aesthetics, and studio production. Through the creation of projects in a variety of media, students will further develop their technical skills with a special emphasis on drawing. Students will create a digital portfolio to use for scholarship and contest opportunities.
  • BAND: Students interested in continuing their instrumental music education improve on their technical skills and have opportunities to perform in the concert and pep bands.
  • PHOTOJOURNALISM I and II: Students explore ethical journalism issues and develop advanced technology skills (computer and digital photography), enhance peer management techniques, and acquire an appreciation of the diversity of the school community while producing the student yearbook, The Key, and school newspaper, The Celtic Rambler.

Outside of the academic body of the day, Roanoke Catholic offers flourishing Drama and Choral programs.

Drama

The lights go down and the show is about to begin. It is this single moment of anticipation that made me fall in love with the first production I ever saw. I have been involved in theater since I was 10 years old and in a production about Thomas Edison and the electric light bulb. Even today I still love that moment of quietly charged energy before a show.

My theater journey continued as I explored acting with Mill Mountain Theatre’s youth program. At Longwood I found my home in the dark of backstage as well as in the light on stage. I went on to work backstage for numerous regional theaters around the country including Omaha Playhouse, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, and St. Louis Repertory Theatre. Eventually the mountains of Virginia called me home.

Four years ago I revitalized the theater program at Roanoke Catholic School, focusing on building self-confidence, finding outlets for creative projects of interest to our community and being an advocate for theater arts in our school.

Statistics show that students successfully finishing a theater or speech class are 50% more likely to be successful in college and the work force. A school like ours affords your student the opportunity to participate in dramatic arts and sports within the same season. We are dedicated to helping to create a well-rounded individual that is well-versed in presentation, team work, and finding an outlet for their creative energies as well.

In the last few years the drama program at RCS has grown by leaps and bounds including productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music, A Night of Monty Python, Military Monologues, The Reluctant Dragon, Live Stations of the Cross, and a Nativity Play.

We offer grade-level appropriate education in dramatic arts to PreK through Grade 12. We’ve offered workshops on improv, how to create a monologue from an interview, and traditional play practice experience. This year we are proud to present two productions: a play in the fall that features our Lower School students (PreK-7) and in the spring a full length musical for Grades 7-12.

For more information, contact April Corbett, Director of Theater Arts, acorbett@roanokecatholic.com.

Choir

When I was 8 years old, my mother turned to me and sweetly asked, “Michael, how would you like to go to summer camp?” Visions of slingshots, campfires and canoeing flooded my brain … only when I got to “camp” did I discover it was for singing not scouting, more about a cappella than air rifles.

And so began my musical journey that continues to this day. Despite this shady start, I went on to sing with the Birmingham Boys Choir and John Carroll High School Honors Choir, both under the direction of composer Ken Berg, the Birmingham-Southern College Concert Choir under Dr. Hugh Thomas, and church choirs ever since.

Five years ago, I founded Roanoke Catholic’s Celtic Singers with 13 brave students — two of whom were my daughters. Now boasting more than 30 students, the Celtic Singers performs regularly at school liturgies and in the community, produces a Christmas-time Lessons & Carols service, and travels in the spring to compete in a “Music in the Parks” festival competition. At Williamsburg’s Busch Gardens in 2017 and 2018, the choir received “Excellent” ratings (grades of 80-89 on a 100-point scale) while competing against high schools with up to 750 students (RCS’ 9th-12th grades comprise 1/5 that number). During these trips, the choir also performed at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond.

In Spring 2019, the choir will compete at Hershey Park, Pa. On our return trip, the choir will visit Washington, D.C., and perform at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America and one of the ten largest churches in the world.

The choir is open to 8th-12th graders and rehearses Monday-Thursday mornings at 7:30 AM. Two days each week features vocal instruction from Dr. Tadd Sipes. For more information, contact director Michael Hemphill at mhemphill@roanokecatholic.com.