2011-2012 Arts Department: Professional Strengths
Dear EHS Community Members,
|Hugh M. McIntosh
Head of School
Arts Department Overview
written by Jason Hubbard, Arts Director
The first thing you might notice is that our letter is a little different. There is more of an emphasis on being an individual while, at the same time, contributing to making a "scene." We think it is the perfect way to describe what we strive to do with our students everyday: nurture their individual voice while giving them the tools to collaborate with all sorts of characters. We are all in this together, and, just in case you didn't notice, we have a blast doing what we love.
The department has changed a few things this year, primarily in the Middle School, where students now have a more extended interaction with the artistic disciplines of their choice, better preparing them for the rigorous and rewarding arts curriculum in Upper School. The department is also excited to add the talents of Roxi Victorian, our new Director of Dance, to our exemplary faculty of teacher-artists, who are dedicated to the idea that every student has a place in the arts at Episcopal.
Don’t miss the Fall Student Art Show! Lower, Middle and Upper School student art will be displayed now through November 18 in the VPAC lobby. This art includes drawing, painting, mixed media, sculpture and pottery. There are a host of other arts events coming up as we round out the semester. For a complete list, please visit www.ehsbr.org/VPA.
“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.” – John Updike
Mr. Jason Hubbard, Arts Director, has been a member of the EHS community since 2003. In addition to overseeing the Arts program at Episcopal, Mr. Hubbard teaches Choir (9-12th grade), Select Choir (9-12th grade) and AP Music Theory (10-12th grade). He holds a Bachelors of Music Education from Pittsburg State University, a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Oklahoma, and has completed post graduate work in Administration and Supervision at Johns Hopkins University. This year, Mr. Hubbard is excited to lead the Upper School Choir in performing “Carmina Burana” in the spring. He will also direct the music for “The Sound of Music” production in March.
“Music is heard with the ear but understood with the heart.” – Anonymous
Mr. Paul Taranto serves as Director of Instrumental Activities and begins his 25th year at EHS! He teaches several courses, including 5th grade Beginning Band, 6th grade Cadet Band, 7th and 8th Concert Band, 8th grade Jazz Band, Upper School Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble. The 8th grade Jazz Band is a new course this year, and the group will be featured in a concert with the Upper School Jazz Band on November 2. The Upper School Concert Band will travel to Europe this spring and will perform in London! Mr. Taranto holds a Bachelors of Music degree in Music Composition from LSU. His children, Melissa, Michael, and Matthew are all Episcopal graduates. In addition to his teaching roles on campus, Mr. Taranto leads the Praise Band, Wind Ensemble and is the Music Director for theatre events.
“Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Anderson
Lower School Music Instructor, Ms. Amber Harris is currently in her 11th year at EHS. In addition to teaching music to Pre-K through 5th grade students, Ms. Harris is the director of the Lower School spring musical and 5th Grade chorus. In her Lower School classes this year, students experience music through song, movement, playing instruments, and improvisation. Her lessons blend the Orff and Kodaly philosophies of teaching music with technology. Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students will each participate in a music spotlight performance, while the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students are invited to participate in the Lower School musical in the spring. Ms. Harris holds a Bachelors of Music Education from LSU.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel
Middle School Music Instructor, Ms. Paige Riley previously taught at EHS from 1996-2001 before returning in 2010. Prior to her return, she worked with Lower School Music and band program. Now, Ms. Riley teaches Middle School Choir and will work with the band programs second semester. Each 6th, 7th and 8th grade choir class sings during Middle School Morning Meeting throughout the semester, and these groups are currently preparing for the Christmas concert. Ms. Riley is also helping several students prepare for All State Choir auditions. She earned a Bachelors of Music from Louisiana College and a Masters of Music from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein
Performing Arts Director, Mr. Shawn Halliday teaches 8th Grade Advanced Improvisation and Upper School Technical Theatre. He holds a B.A. and M.F.A. (Masters of Fine Arts) in Theatre/Acting from LSU. In addition to teaching, Mr. Halliday is responsible for the lighting and scenic designs for EHS theatre productions and dance concerts. He has been a member of the Episcopal faculty since 2006. This year, he is particularly looking forward to the inevitable spontaneous and hilarious moments of discovery that his students will experience.
"I regard the theatre as one of the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another what it is to be a human being." - Oscar Wilde
Mr. Jorge Ponjuan teaches Middle and Upper School Drama and has been a member of the EHS community since 2010. He is a graduate of LSU's M.F.A. Professional Actor Training program where he appeared in numerous productions. Mr. Ponjuan also holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and is a certified personal trainer. His professional theatre credits include multiple productions with Swine Palace and Playmakers Children’s Theatre. He has worked as an instructor for both Playmakers and the Manship Theatre in collaboration with the Missoula Theatre Company. He comes to Episcopal after six years of active duty as an FMF corpsman with the U.S. Marine Corps. Mr. Ponjuan brings tenacity, life experience and exuberance to his courses. This year, he is excited to introduce students to Greek theatre. His son, Noah, is currently a Freshman at EHS. Mr. Ponjuan recently performed on stage with Playmakers of Baton Rouge in their fall production of Live From Club Dead. He is now directing the fun murder mystery Death of a Doornail at EHS.
"Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather." - Martha Graham
EHS welcomes Ms. Roxi Victorian as Director of Dance! In her dance courses this year, students are completely immersed in the world of dance as they explore different ballet techniques, the Lester Horton, Katherine Dunham, and Martha Graham techniques. The theme in Ms. Victorian's dance courses this year is "communication." Students are exploring ways in which the body communicates feelings and emotions. Ms. Victorian earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre/Dance from Howard University. She has been trained at the International School of Ballet (Cannes, France), the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Julliard School and Oxford University. In addition to her teaching role, Ms. Victorian is the choreographer/Instructor of the Select Dance Ensemble.
“The trick is this: keep your eye on the ball. Even when you can’t see the ball.” – from Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins
Upper School Art teacher, Ms. Kate Trepagnier has been a member of the EHS faculty for 13 years. Originally beginning her time here as the Lower School Art teacher, she has since transitioned to Upper School and is beginning her fourth year in that division. Ms. Trepagnier teaches Introduction to Art, Drawing I and II, Advanced Drawing, Advanced Placement Studio Art, and Painting I and II. This year in her classes, students will be required to identify 75 artists/art works and 15 Modern and Post-Modern styles. The students will critique master works using critical thinking skills, art vocabulary and intuitive insights. Ms. Trepagnier encourages her students to draw and paint descriptively from still life, landscape, the figure and portrait. Students then extend these experiences to create content drawn from imagination, memory, emotions, thoughts and dreams. She teaches her students that confidence in seeing will develop their personal artistic voice. Her students’ work has been accepted into several Louisiana juried art competitions. Ms. Trepagnier also sponsors the Art Club. This year, the group is piloting a program that brings art experiences to senior residents at St. James Place. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from LSU.
“Art is a universal language. It was our first language. My passion is to help my students find their own visual voices.”
Mr. Russell Roper teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Art in addition to Sculpture and Pottery courses. He earned a B.A. in Art Education from Louisiana Tech University and an M.A. in Art Education from LSU. Mr. Roper’s curriculum is project-based and collaborative in nature, and it pertains to real life issues and topics. His Middle School students are busy contributing illustrations for a children’s book called G is for Gulf. Kids Love the Gulf (www.kidslovethegulf.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating students of all ages about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. In an effort to do this, the organization will publish an ABC book for elementary school children with the help of EHS Middle School artist volunteers. EHS 6th grade students will use a radial design format for their illustrations. Seventh grade students will use a stipple technique to create images of sea creatures, and the 8th grade students will submit their artwork in the form of cut paper molas. This is Mr. Roper’s 13th year at EHS. In addition to his art courses, Mr. Roper is the Middle School Art Club sponsor.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
Ms. Jennifer Keith brings Visual Art to all Lower School students from Pre-K through 5th grade. This year is her fourth at EHS. Ms. Keith earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Louisiana Tech University and an M.Ed. in Art from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Lower School art students will publish their artwork on www.artsonia.com, which is an international student art gallery. This is a great way for students to catalog their work. In September, Lower School art students created “Pinwheels for Peace” in honor of International Day of Peace and decorated the EHS campus with them. Also, check out the artwork displayed in the Lower School hallways that represents the always emerging student creations! Ms. Keith’s two-year-old son, Jack Wesley, is in the EHS daycare program.
"It took me a lifetime to learn to paint like a child." - Pablo Picasso
Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator, Ms. Dianne Madden, teaches Upper School Media Arts. Students in Media Arts are using the latest version of the Adobe Creative Suite and are enjoying new, upgraded media lab computers. The Media Arts yearbook staff is composed of students and incorporates art elements and principles of design with an emphasis on photography. Students take their own photographs with Nikon digital cameras and edit and create their images in Adobe Photoshop. Page layouts are created in Adobe InDesign before being uploaded to the online yearbook design site, where the yearbook theme and all original graphic elements created by students come together to produce the “Accolade.” This is Ms. Madden's third year at EHS and 13th year teaching Art. Ms. Madden previously taught at St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, LA, and has experience as a freelance graphic designer. She holds a B.S. in Art with an emphasis on Graphic Design from Southeastern Louisiana University. Ms. Madden also studied painting at the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and printmaking at the University of New Orleans.
For the final, "capstone" department letter, please look for a feature on the Religion and Technology departments next week. This seemingly odd pairing combines the traditional with the newer world developments, nurturing the whole child.
Episcopal High School / 3200 Woodland Ridge Boulevard / Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816 / 225-753-3180