"And, that's a wrap!"
Just like that, the Fine Arts season has come to an impressive conclusion!
With a fabulous variety of Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts, our audiences were treated to a superb collection of live performances and exhibitions from our exceptionally gifted students.
This year was an inspiring presentation of the talents and passion of our students as they endeavored to express their love of the arts. Under the masterful guidance and instruction of our dedicated Fine Arts faculty and staff, performers have been pushed to discover their greatest potential and visual artists have been encouraged to bring their thoughts and imaginations to life. During these final months of the school year, the students have presented their creative body of work to our community of faculty, friends, and family. For the BMHS arts programs, this is the first full year back creating and performing together after a long interval of online learning due to COVID.
The Fine Arts began the year with a phenomenal 5K for the Arts fundraiser, quickly followed by the fully staged production of the Fall Musical, Once Upon a Mattress. This was a musical comedy retelling of the story of The Princess and the Pea, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and a book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. It was such a joyous occasion to have live music and theatre in the community again after school COVID closings in the Fall of 2019.
The annual Fine Arts Christmas Festival did not disappoint. Our audiences were amazed at two sold-out evenings, as well as a live stream, as our students provided masterful performances and visual arts exhibitions.
Fast Forward to the spring season and our Theatre Program presented their production of Seven Keys to Baldpate Inn, a comedy thriller by Paul Thain and adapted from the George M. Cohan play Seven Keys to Baldpate which is set in the 1940s in the style of Film Noir. The play was a hit, leaving audiences happy and excited about the wonderful cast of characters along with a fast-moving play full of danger, twists, and rich humor.
On April 1 and continuing for three performances, the Classical Dance Program presented Dance All About It! The audience was invited to experience the energy and passion our classical dance students unveiled as they danced out loud with their artistic voices for Dance Appreciation, Dance Advocacy, Awareness topics, the Creative process, Dance History and to Celebrate, Honor, and Remember. Audiences were amazed at the power and emotion of the students' artistic expression.
The Bishop McNamara Jazz Ensemble Concert never fails to amaze its audiences! The April 27th concert opened with the uplifting sounds of the Star-Spangled Banner and continued through Irving Berlin's Blue Skies. These talented student-musicians went on to share some old favorites such as My Funny Valentine, In the Mood, It Don't Mean a Thing, and others. The concert ended with an exuberant rendition of a wonderful contemporary Disney favorite, We Don't Talk About Bruno which brought cheers from the audience.
The month of April closed with the long-awaited Sankofa Dance Theater production of Voices in Exile: Makeba & Simone by the Traditional African Music & Dance program. This dance drama was based on the lives of two singers, Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba, who used their voices to focus on and further the cause of civil rights. Using the power of African instruments, dance, song, and theater, students presented an overwhelmingly emotional rendition of how these two women gave voice to racial struggle and injustice.
May 5th saw the culminating performance of the dynamic Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Percussion Ensemble. The wonderful energy and sounds of the individual bands and ensemble, as well as the combined band, provided an enjoyable range of works from classical and contemporary to a "stomp" rendition of Stinkin' Garbage. Combined bands ended the evening with their high-spirited interpretation of We Don't Talk About Bruno.
The following night, our own Bishop McNamara Choir Program featuring the Chamber Choir, Chorale, Concert Choir, and Vocal Jazz Choir performed to amazed audiences as they lifted and transported their audience through a variety of songs including a traditional Zambian song, Angel, The Spinning Song, Morning, Imagine, and many others. Audience members were astonished with the passion and feeling the performers expressed, while truly appreciating the gifts and talents of our students.
On May 13th, our community was favored by the wonderful performance of the String Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble. With pieces by Bach and Vivaldi, in addition to works by contemporary composers such as Jerry Brubaker and Lennie Niehaus, the sounds and stylings of this program brought joy to the audience. The musicians went through a winning mix of moods and musical techniques, entertaining their listeners and displaying such passion and feeling in their performances. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of Brian Balmages Kyiv 2022, a piece written to commemorate the current tensions in the Ukraine, where all profits from the piece are being donated by the composer to Ukrainian aid.
We can not forget some of the phenomenal Visual Arts presented via slideshow at the Christmas Concert, and on display in the hallway galleries, representing the phenomenal work happening in our visual arts classrooms.
“Our BMHS Faculty, Staff, and Administration are BEYOND measure . . . and you will not find a more hard-working and talented Fine Arts Department Faculty roster anywhere around,” says Director of Fine Arts, Anthony Conto. “Our students and community have the opportunity to discover their own interests in the arts, and it has been a thrill to see everyone return to their passions after a very tough two years.”
We applaud the talent and energy of all our wonderful students of the Bishop McNamara Fine Arts programs, as well as the dedication of the Fine Arts Faculty and Staff. Our Fine Arts department is guided by practicing artists who all share a love, passion, and vocation to teach.
The Fine Arts Department at Bishop McNamara offers one of the most extensive arts educations in the Washington, DC area. Our large musical ensembles, intimate dance classes, theatrical productions, and art studio offer comfortable, rewarding, fun, yet challenging environments for all participating students. We encourage the growth and success of the students.
For more about Bishop McNamara High School Fine Arts, please visit Fine Arts where you will find our Fine Arts Faculty Directory.
Enjoy a slideshow of our Fine Arts program highlights below.