Whether you are an accomplished musician or a novice, several opportunities are available to contribute and enhance your talents . Learning from our accomplished faculty—all of whom are professional musicians—and participating in a music group helps you to build your musicianship, while also bringing you the joy of performing with your peers.
The act of singing in a choir reduces stress, increases a feeling of well-being, and fosters a sense of community.
The Glee Club is open to students of all experience levels and gives them the tools they need to continue singing throughout their lives. Participants learn proper vocal technique, musical literacy and team-building skills. The Glee Club provides the soundtrack to life in the VES community with performances in weekly chapel, and for Lessons and Carols, Fall and Spring Family Weekends and Baccalaureate.
The Vocal Ensemble is an advanced choral experience. Students are admitted to the group through audition. In addition to combining with the Glee Club for weekly chapel services, Lessons and Carols, Fall and Spring Family Weekends and Baccalaureate, the Vocal Ensemble represents the VES community at Admission Open House presentations for prospective students, the Headmaster’s Tea, and community engagements at local civic organization gatherings and churches. The Vocal Ensemble prepares repertoire that is primarily a cappella and ranges from Renaissance period music through contemporary styles.
Faculty. Debbie Burton, chair of the Fine & Performing Arts at VES, instructs and conducts both groups, sharing with her students extensive teaching and professional experience. Pianist/organist Rose Peak accompanies the groups.
Musicians in the VES Jazz Ensemble enjoy pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to learn the harmonics, rhythms and melodies of jazz, as well as exploring the art of improvisation. Their repertoire ranges from big band jazz to Latin pieces to contemporary works and they perform at least two times each year during the Fall and Spring Family Weekends.
The Jazz Ensemble invites students with a range of experience and instruments, including beatboxers, classically trained vocalists, pianists and other string instrumentalists interested in applying their talents to jazz stylings.
From the inevitable chaos of the first class to learning new ways of thinking about music and discovering how all the pieces fit together to working both as soloists and an ensemble, this group works hard and knows how to have fun!
Faculty. The group is led by nationally renowned veteran jazz musician Ed Mikenas. Mr. Mikenas’ goal is to help music students learn to work from both sides of their brain through jazz improvisation. In addition to the sheer joy of making music, he believes that “the skill sets that result in a student's ability to think on his/her feet,” as they must when performing jazz, “is a valuable tool for leadership in any field.”
The VES Chamber Ensemble is comprised of string instrument musicians who play at an intermediate to advanced level. Students learn a classical repertoire, enhance their musicianship, and practice ensemble skills and performance techniques. The chamber ensemble performs during Fall and Spring Family Weekends, in the Lessons and Carols service at Christmas time and other opportunities throughout the year.
Faculty. The ensemble is led by Mr. Greg Childress, who is a highly experienced local music instructor.
Theatre—an inherently interdisciplinary program of study—allows us to examine literature, music, science, history and more as we explore and express the human experience. At VES, we offer both curricular and co-curricular theatre opportunities for students of all experience levels. All Theatre students at VES benefit from:
Production Experience. Students have a wide range of opportunities to participate onstage in a variety of productions, from major musical productions to ensemble shows, showcases and one-act plays. Technical Theatre students are involved in meeting the technical demands for departmental productions and projects, school events, concerts and guest performances.
Individualized Attention. Theatre classes at VES are designed to mimic college courses, with small class sizes, an individualized focus and an emphasis on student-driven constructive feedback. Acting students explore modern realism, classical theatre and Shakespeare, in addition to a unit on stage combat and fight choreography. Technical theatre students work in an entirely project-based environment, with activities that include carpentry, sound engineering and design, lighting and live radio production.
Productions. The season consists of a shorter play in the fall, a fully mounted musical involving 30-40 students in the winter, and a filmmaking activity in the spring.
Workshops and Master Classes. Each year, VES hosts several nationally and world-renowned artists, who perform in our William King Center. Master classes are offered to our student musicians, providing extraordinary opportunities to learn from these artists.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
- Pablo Picasso
In Visual Arts at VES, you will explore the interplay of culture, history, artistic expression, analysis and hands-on creation. Working closely with your teacher and peers, you will develop your artistic ability, inquiry skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, self-assessment and the art of giving and receiving constructive criticism.
A Broad Range of Academic Courses. You may pursue painting, drawing, ceramics and photography, as well as afternoon opportunities in the visual arts. Students are taught perspective and the basics of composition and encouraged to develop their own styles. Beginners gain self-confidence while serious artists work to build their portfolios. All programs allow for personal expression, innovation and growth.
Exhibition. Students regularly exhibit their work in our William King Center gallery and in site-specific installations on campus, where students are actively involved in the curation and exhibition of their work. Our students also display their work in art shows and galleries throughout the Lynchburg community.
Engagement in the Lynchburg Region. Visual arts students often use the surrounding community for their classroom—testing out their ceramics creations at the corner Starbucks or the nearest sushi restaurant, photographing horseback riders at a local barn, or visiting the many galleries in town to explore and appreciate other artists' works. Students also have the opportunity to participate in local workshops, firing raku, learning from local artists and painting pianos for the Hill City's Keys program that donates refurbished pianos to areas in downtown Lynchburg in this ongoing public arts program.
Faculty. Experienced artist and teacher Jesi Thompson leads the visual arts programs. She is active in the local arts community and has participated in the Spoleto Study Abroad program as a faculty member and explores other cultures abroad as often as possible to bring new ideas, lessons and techniques into her classrooms.
Student Portfolio Work
Filmmaking introduces students to the world of film and the creation of successful film projects.
Students learn the basic functions of video cameras, necessary terminology, video editing software on both PC and Macintosh platforms, and the basics of camera formats, including standard and High Definition. The class is structured around building a successful video project from the initial idea stage to the final product, including narrowing a topic, creating a storyboard and a shot sheet, writing a script, shooting creative video in a timely fashion, editing the video, and publishing the finished project. Students will have multiple opportunities to participate in “real life” projects where they will produce films for our school and compete in nationwide film competitions.
Filmmaking I - Storytelling
No requirements necessary
“It's the story that counts.” - Vincente Minnelli
Filmmaking I is a hybrid course on introduction to film. It is an elective course in which students will learn the basic elements of filmmaking. The class is structured around building a successful video project from the initial idea stage to the final product, including narrowing a topic, creating a storyboard and a shot sheet, writing a script, shooting creative video in a timely fashion, editing the video, and publishing the finished project. Students will learn how to edit several films using the Adobe Premiere Pro editing program.
Filmmaking II - Film Genres
Prerequisite: Video Production I. Offered during spring semester only.
“Movies are like magic tricks.” - Jeff Bridges
Filmmaking II is an online course with focus on exploring and creating short films in different genres. Students will use school owned DSLR cameras, professional camcorders, microphones and lighting equipment to capture their scenes. In this course students will build on their Adobe Premiere Pro experience from Filmmaking I class as well as learn Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate and Adobe Audition. Students will create several mini films in different genres and publish their work online.
VES seeks to expose our students to the arts through inspiring, performances by musicians, dancers, actors and ensembles. We bring world-renowned and regional artists to the VES campus throughout the year both for performances and master classes catering to our VES community. We also host events that are open to the residents in the region.
In the recent past, we have hosted:
|Paul Taylor's Taylor 2 Dance Company|
|American Shakespeare Center|
|Pianist Sean Chen|
|Reduced Shakespeare Company|
|Guitarist Scott Fore|
|Dr. Tim Sharp & The Chuck Nation Band|
|Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana|
|Clarinetist Nikola Djurica|
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VES is one of an exclusive consortium of only 11 schools in the U.S. to offer our students the opportunity to travel, learn and be inspired through the Spoleto Study Abroad Program.
This three-week creative immersion and enrichment program in Spoleto, Italy, delivers a broad selection of courses specifically designed for high school students interested in the arts and humanities—vocal music, instrumental music, visual art, photography, drama, filmmaking and creative writing. VES students and teachers have participated in past years.
Both students and faculty from VES have gained outstanding experience through this exceptional opportunity.
If interested, please contact Ms. Debbie Burton, Director of Fine & Performing Arts.