Curriculum Guide

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Fine Arts Program

Woodberry Forest’s Fine Arts Program consists of three programs: drama, music and visual arts. These programs are bound by the common goal of teaching students how to think critically and creatively, how to make art of the highest order possible, and how to appreciate their world more deeply. Woodberry Forest requires new third and fourth formers to complete three trimester courses in the Fine Arts Program  or to have two years of participation in a musical ensemble prior to graduation, and new fifth formers to complete two Fine Arts Program courses. Courses taken prior to attending Woodberry Forest can count towards this requirement.
  • Drama_Introduction to Drama

    This trimester class focuses on a number of topics including the history of theater, dramatic structure, acting, directing, technical design, improvisation, and stage combat. The trimester culminates with an exciting performance of scenes and combat sequences.
  • Drama_Honors Advanced Acting and Directing

    A year-long class for intermediate and advanced students of the theater. Students who enjoyed the introductory class and want to learn more about the theater have an opportunity to study advanced acting techniques, directing, playwriting, and theater theory. The class culminates with full productions in the spring in our black box theater.
  • Drama_Honors Independent Study in Theater

    Advanced drama students (usually students who have completed the two courses above) may make proposals for college-level work in the theater. Past projects have included full productions in our black box theater.
  • Drama_Introduction Woodworking

    A hands-on experience that introduces students to a working shop environment. Students learn and develop the basic skills of woodworking through several projects using both hand-held and stationary power tools. Emphasis is placed on shop safety, safe use and operation of tools, and how to convert creative ideas into sculptured reality. 
  • Drama_Introduction to AutoCAD

    This course focuses on teaching the skills of computer assisted design. The use of AutoCad is prevalent in architecture, construction, and set design. This trimester elective introduces boys to the necessary skills and uses of this program such that they can then apply their knowledge to whatever field they decide to pursue.
  • Music_Concert Band

    Concert Band is open to all forms but experience required.  The Concert Band is comprised of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. The band plays traditional and contemporary music for Wind Ensemble as well as some pop selections. No audition is necessary but experience on the instrument is expected. This is not a course for beginners.
  • Music_Jazz Band

    Jazz Band is open to all forms by audition and is comprised of a specific instrumentation of saxes, trumpets, trombones, guitar, piano, bass and drums. The Jazz Band is selected by audition only. Members of the Jazz Band also perform in the Wind Ensemble.
  • Music_Bagpipes 1

    Bagpipes 1 ​is open to all forms, and no experience required. Bagpipes 1 is an introductory course for those wishing to begin study of the great Highland Bagpipe and gain membership in the Woodberry Forest Pipe Band. Students in Bagpipes 1 will also be exposed to some basic drumming for pipe band. No musical experience is necessary.
  • Music_Bagpipes 2 - 4

    Bagpipes 2 - 4 is open to all forms and experience required. Bagpipes 2 through 4 are successive courses for those wishing to continue their study of bagpipes and membership in the Woodberry Forest Pipe Band.
  • Music_Piping and Drumming

    Pipe Band Drumming is open to all forms and experience required. The Pipe Band Drumming class is for students with some musical experience on percussion or another instrument. The class studies both Scottish and Corps style drumming and serves primarily as the drum section of the Woodberry Forest Pipe Band.
  • Music_Beginning Strings

    Beginning Strings is open to all forms and no experience required.  Students may begin study on violin, viola, cello or double bass with no prior experience. Basic position, reading and ensemble skills are taught to prepare students to enter String Ensemble.
  • Music_String Ensemble

    String Ensemble is open to all forms and experience required. The primary String Orchestra for all string players with experience. No audition required; basic experience is expected. Chamber music groups (quartets, trios and duos) can be formed from the String Ensemble group.
  • Music_The Woodberry Forest Chapel Choir

    The Woodberry Forest Chapel Choir is open to all forms and no experience required. Chapel Choir provides music for our weekly chapel services. Open to all forms with a simple audition. Includes vocal technique — especially for the changing voice — and music reading skills. No previous experience required.
  • Music_The Woodberry Forest Dozen

    The Woodberry Forest Dozen is open to all forms by audition. The Dozen is Woodberry’s premier choral ensemble and one of its treasured traditions. The group specializes in a cappella music from all periods of music history, especially the Renaissance and modern popular music. The Dozen is open to all forms but is typically made up of upper form singers with significant singing experience in the Woodberry Choral Program, elsewhere, or both.
  • Music_Introduction to Music

    Introduction to Music is a trimester course in music literacy designed to give each student a working knowledge of basic musical terminology, notation, structures, repertoire, history, and music computing. Open to all forms but most typically taken by third and fourth formers. The course satisfies one trimester of a three-trimester Fine Arts requirement. No previous experience necessary.
  • Music_Intermediate Music Theory

    Intermediate Music Theory is open to all forms, Introduction to Music or equivalent (as determined by the music faculty) is a prerequisite.
    Syllabi are developed with individuals or small groups. Creative scheduling is the norm. Courses are one trimester long and repeatable or may meet once a week all year for a trimester credit. Study is available in music theory, electronic music, recording engineering, composition, chamber music and other topics by request.
  • Music_Honors Music Theory

    Honors Music Theory​ is open to all forms, but typically fifth or sixth formers; significant previous experience is required.
    This course is designed to give students competence to use functional harmony, counterpoint, and form both in the analysis of existing works and in the creation of original musical material. Emphasis is on the principles of the common practice period. There is also a survey of 20t​ h​ century compositional techniques. Basic keyboard skills and advanced ear training are key elements of this course. Students who successfully complete this course will be prepared to take the Advanced Placement exam in Music Theory if they so choose.
  • Music_Private Instrumental Instruction

    Weekly private instruction is available on most any instrument. Organists have access to the Kenan Fisk organ in St. Andrew’s Chapel. Lessons are scheduled in a free period during the academic day.
  • Music_Wind Ensemble

    This is Woodberry's "Band" and the primary ensemble for brass, woodwind and percussion. No audition is required; basic experience is expected.
  • Visual Arts_Introduction to Visual Arts

    A one-trimester course designed to provide an understanding of the elements and principles of design through hands-on projects in the studio. Also, there is an emphasis on developing basic skills in drawing. This course promotes creative thinking, the use of various mediums (including a two-week workshop in the clay studio), and understanding the importance of process in making art.
  • Visual Arts_Intermediate Studio Art

    This is a flexible course that can be taken as a year-long or as a trimester class; the syllabus is different each trimester, so students can opt to take the class multiple times over two or three academic years.  The course emphasizes the elements and principles of design, drawing skills, and the importance of craft and presentation. Students are also challenged to create independent projects based on their own ideas and decisions. Work in the clay studio and printmaking are also features of this course.
  • Visual Arts_Honors Studio Art

    A year-long course in which a student prepares work for either the 2-D Design or Drawing Portfolio which is submitted for review by an AP committee in May.
  • Visual Arts_Photography

    A one-trimester, two-trimester, or year-long course in which the student may begin at the basic level and pursue his studies to a more advanced level. Composition, darkroom procedures, and printing techniques are featured in this course. Cameras are provided. Students also explore digital photography options.
  • Visual Arts_Digital Filmmaking

    A two-trimester course (Fall-Winter) in which the student learns to create engaging narratives using the artistic language of film. In addition to learning the concepts of framing and composition, the student gains significant skill in using sound and film editing software.

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Brent Cirves
    Brent Cirves
    Fine Arts Program, Drama
    Chair, Drama and Speech
    (540)672-3900 Ext. 5369
    William and Mary - BA
    New York University - MA
  • Photo of James Erickson
    James Erickson
    Fine Arts Program, Visual Arts
    Chair, Visual Arts
    (540) 672-3900 ext. 5267
    University of Virginia - BA
    Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts - MFA
  • Photo of Wallace Hornady
    Wallace Hornady
    Fine Arts Program, Music
    Chairman, Music
    Belhaven College - BM
    Westminster Choir College - MM
  • Photo of Denis Houyoux
    Denis O. Houyoux '94
    Fine Arts Program, Drama
    Technical Director
    (540) 672-3900 Ext 5370
    North Carolina School of the Arts - BFA
  • Photo of Sharon Jacobs
    Sharon Jacobs '91
    Fine Arts Program, Visual Arts
  • Photo of Elena Kritter
    Elena Kritter
    Fine Arts Program
  • Photo of Tim Stakem
    Tim Stakem
    Fine Arts Program, Music
    Director of Instrumental Music
    (540) 672-3900 Ext 5308
    Frostburg State University - BS
    University of Southwestern Louisiana - MM
  • Photo of Lisa  Wright
    Lisa Wright
    Fine Arts Program, Music
    Director of Strings
    (540) 672-3900 ext. 5380
    Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester - BM
Woodberry Forest admits students of any race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs. The school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.