Fine Arts

Cavalier Concert Band

The Cavalier Concert Band studies music and musicianship through performance of many genres and styles of music, with special focus on literature for wind instruments. In addition to rehearsal of music for our performances throughout the year, we also work to improve basic music fundamentals like note reading, ear training and sight-reading, and critical listening. In order to take this course, the student must already have basic proficiency on his/her instrument of choice. Participation in the winter and spring concerts, the commencement exercises, and other performances throughout the year are required components of the course.

Cavalier Concert Chorus

The Cavalier Concert Chorus studies music and musicianship through vocal performance of many genres and styles of music, from classical to pop to jazz to musical theater. In addition to rehearsal of music for our performances throughout the year, we also work to improve basic music fundamentals like note reading, ear training and sight-singing, and critical listening. There is no prerequisite for this course other than a desire to sing, but participation in the winter and spring concerts, the commencement exercises, and other performances throughout the year are required components of the course.

Cavalier Concert Orchestra

The Cavalier Concert Orchestra studies music and musicianship through performance of many genres and styles of music, with special focus on literature for string instruments. In addition to rehearsal of music for our performances throughout the year, we also work to improve basic music fundamentals like note reading, ear training and sight-reading, and critical listening. In order to take this course, the student must already have basic proficiency on violin, viola, cello, or bass. Participation in the Winter and Spring Concerts, the Commencement exercises, and other performances throughout the year are required components of the course. 

AP Music Theory

Students in this class will work toward a deeper understanding of the various building blocks of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, texture, and form. Why do pieces based upon Western harmony (including most pop music, classical music, jazz and folk music) work the way that they do? Students will strive to answer this through development of their written skills (analysis, composition, notation) and musicianship (listening skills, sight-singing, and harmonization at the keyboard). The work in this class is equivalent to that of a first-year college course in music theory, and culminates in the AP exam. 

In The Pocket (Auditioned Musical Ensemble)

In The Pocket is an auditioned musical ensemble, focusing primarily on playing rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz. The ensemble is a collaborative effort between students and adult members. During the school year, the ensemble performs at various school functions and events not directly associated with Durham Academy. Students who wish to audition must show proficiency as a musician (or significant promise as a musician). Auditions are open to rising juniors and seniors and are held in the spring of each school year. Rising sophomores who are interested in auditioning for In The Pocket must meet with Mr. Hoyt and Mr. Meyer to get their joint approval to audition. In order to keep the group to a manageable size, auditions are normally restricted to replacing senior members who are graduating.

Introduction to 2D Composition & Materials

Absolutely no art experience is necessary to take this class. The fall semester covers traditional drawing and composition with an emphasis on expression and drawing from life, in pencil, charcoal and ink. Longer, individual projects are added in as the course progresses. The spring semester will focus on painting, primarily in acrylic on paper, canvas and wood, where works vary from miniature to body size. Depending on class size, the second semester will include more individualized, concept-driven longer projects. Field trips and some discussion of contemporary art are included.

Introduction to Ceramics and Sculpture

Absolutely no art experience is necessary to take this class. The fall semester focuses on ceramic hand- building and glazing techniques where we solve design problems and create fantasy forms. Students will also have the opportunity to try throwing on the pottery wheel and making plates and bowls from molds. In the spring semester, students learn about traditional sculptural processes and three-dimensional problem solving (manipulative, additive, reductive and casting). Materials vary but may include wax, plaster, wire, cloth, paper, natural or manmade objects and recycled materials. The class will include some discussion of contemporary expression in art. Students will complete introductory exercises, develop individual projects and possibly collaborate with classmates.

Intermediate/Advanced Art

This course is for students who know they enjoy art and are serious about developing their skills and visual ability. The curriculum will separately but simultaneously address 3-D and 2-D skill building exercises and projects: Students with a 3-D background will work in 3-D; students with a 2-D background will work in 2-D. Only students with discipline and a strong desire to learn more sophisticated techniques should take this course. In addition to developing visual concepts, the course gives students the chance to continue on to AP level art or Portfolio Art (with permission of the instructor). Depending on quality, some works from the class may be used in the AP Portfolio. 

Mixed Media

The sky's the limit when it comes to Mixed Media. We'll experiment with building, drawing, collaging, painting and more in nontraditional and experimental ways using different surfaces from cardboard, paper, cloth, string, wood, found objects, furniture, concrete and plaster. No art experience is necessary, but it is always helpful. Open attitude and willingness to work required. 

Portfolio Studio Art

This course is for students who are deeply committed to pursuing art, possibly as a career. Students must have excellent self-discipline, visual skill and ability to work independently with a strong sense of purpose in their work. Students are expected to create their own curriculum with oversight and mentorship from the instructor. I will work individually with students to help them document their art and build and/or compile a portfolio for art school, college, summer programs or art-related fields. 

AP Studio Art: Drawing, 2-D Design or 3-D Design Portfolios

Scoring for the AP Studio Art Portfolio exam is one of the most rigorous of all AP courses. For those interested in submitting a portfolio to AP Studio Art, the course requires intense and time-consuming focus on three sections of the AP Portfolio: quality, concentration, and breadth. The concentration section is completed primarily outside of class, as are other assignments. Students must create 24 high quality artworks, which are photo-documented for submission. Students can expect to work a minimum of 5-10 hours per week outside of class. Additional art courses outside of Durham Academy are highly recommended. 

Photography I

This course will introduce students to the practice of photography via the very basic tenets of the camera and the medium: exposure, focus, composition, content and form. A practical analysis of SLR cameras and their primary functions will segue into an introduction to the darkroom, where students will print from their own black and white film using light and chemistry. The second half of the year will center on digital photography and the digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR). Once introduced to effective methods of picture taking and image file management, students will learn how to use Photoshop as a tool for editing, transforming and printing their photographs.

Photography II

Photography II is designed for students who are eager to take their established knowledge of photography to the next level. Using digital photography, students will be pushed to expand their understanding of image-making, both technically and conceptually, as they respond to project-based assignments. We will study a range of historic and contemporary photographic innovators, and their contributions to the medium will become the basis for in-class and occasional off-campus work in which students will be asked to address similar concerns within their own photography.

Acting Studio

Want to improve your skills as an actor on stage or in front of a camera? Want to feel more confident speaking in public, making oral presentations in class, or interviewing for a job or college? Want to use your imagination and have fun? Well you should take Acting Studio, where you will develop fundamental acting skills through a series of games, exercises, improvisations, monologues, and scenes. These activities are designed to unlock each student’s spontaneity, creativity, and concentration, as well as develop listening, voice and movement skills. Students will also learn how to analyze and develop characters, as individual and group in-class presentations of student work will be given throughout the year. Outside preparation of monologues and scenes is expected. Public presentations of monologues and scenes may be given in the second semester. 

Advanced Acting: Scene Study

In this class, students will continue to develop their acting skills with a semester of scene study, during which they will apply and extend the skills they developed in Acting Studioby focusing on both on-stage and on- camera scenes. Actors are encouraged to take this class multiple times, since students will work on different scenes each time they take the class. Depending on the class makeup, students may work together toward mounting a project such as a short play for part of a semester (Q2 and/or Q4). Outside preparation of scene work is expected. Public presentations of scenes or the collaborative project may take place near the end of each semester.

Technical Theatre

This class requires no prior experience in theatre. Combining both “hands on” learning and classroom projects, students will learn about and explore all aspects of Technical Theatre. The class will study the tools and processes for producing live theatre. This includes set, lighting, sound, production management and costumes. Students in the class may have the opportunity to participate “behind the scenes” in a variety of productions offered by the Performing Arts Program – including Theatre, Dance and Music. Extracurricular participation, however, is not a requirement of the class.

3D Theatrical and Production Design

This class is for those students interested in any of the following: computers, art, dance, theatre or just making cool stuff! However, experience in any of these areas is not required. This course will focus on both lighting and three-dimensional design as it relates to theatre, music, dance and other live events. Students will have the opportunity to study the art of design through the use of technology. Within this course you will learn scale 3D model building, AutoCAD (2d and 3D), and use of the computerized lighting control board and the CNC router.

Beginning Dance

This full-year course is intended for the male or female student, interested in learning the beginning basics of dance and vocabulary. This course will introduce a variety of dance forms including: Ballet Basics, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. The student will also be required to participate and perform in the spring dance concert second semester. 

Intermediate Dance I and II

This full-year course is intended for the intermediate dancer, who has an existing understanding of dance technique and vocabulary. This course will develop the dancers’ technical skills, as well as focus on more difficult choreography in the various styles of: Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. The student would be introduced to working with guest choreographers and will be required to participate in the spring dance concert second semester.

Advanced Dance

This full-year course is designed for the serious dancer who already exhibits a strong understanding of dance technique and high skill level. The student will continue to develop their technique by focusing on various dance forms including: Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. Students will work with various guest choreographers to develop their versatility as a dancer, and will be required to participate in the Spring Dance concert second semester. Students may also be asked to participate in outside performances for the Preschool, Lower and Middle Schools. 

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An independent, coeducational day school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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