The Performing Arts at Roxbury High School
The Performing Arts program at Roxbury High School, and at Eisenhower Middle School is one of the finest in the state of New Jersey, perhaps even in this part of the nation. The curriculum in the Performing Arts is extensive offering a wide range of opportunities in vocal music, instrumental music, and dance. At the high school, there are four curricular choirs: Freshman Women’s Chorus, Concert Choir, Roxbury Chorale, and Classic Sounds Honors Choir, offered to students. Chorale and Classic Sound Honors are auditioned ensembles that, for more than twenty years, have received accolades for their superior level of performance. In all, over 260 students elect to take a choir class as part of their regular schedule.Within the instrumental music program, students may be enrolled in Concert Band, Symphony Band or Honors Wind Symphony. These curricular bands have been recognized for their excellence for more than two decades. There are more than 220 students who are enrolled in instrumental classes at Roxbury High School.
In addition to wind and percussion instruments, the school offers a well-subscribed strings program with more than 70 students who are enrolled in that domain, and a unique dance program with a subscription of 76 students. At Eisenhower Middle School, equally broad opportunities are offered. There is a Seventh Grade Band (100 members), Choir (135 members), and, String Orchestra (40 members) as well as an Eighth Grade Band (100 members), Choir (135 members) and String Orchestra (40 members).
It is important to acknowledge the outstanding educational approaches used within the Performing Arts Department. For example, the choral teachers use a team teaching approach with the curricular programs, including those offered at Eisenhower Middle School, giving students the opportunity to work in sectionals or with a specialist in a specific voice part. The instrumental teachers employ a vertical teaching strategy where specialists in the different instrumental realms (eg. woodwinds, brass, etc.) teach students their specific instrument from grades 6 through 12. This ensures a superior level of instruction for students from the start of their instrumental education through their high school career. At the High School, Strings Orchestra is scheduled so that performance in conjunction with the Honors Wind Symphony (creating a full orchestra) may occur. Even the Dance program is integrated with the vocal program in the Broadway Musical Theatre elective course offered to vocal music students. In addition to performance courses at RHS, students may elect to take Music Theory and Advanced Placement Music Theory classes. The music teachers (7-12) are highly regarded within their art and they possess vast experience in their respective specialties. They have conducted many honors ensembles in vocal and instrumental music in New Jersey and in other states, and they are regular performers when not plying their trade in the classroom.Dance is open to all students with an interest or ability in the art of dance. Dance is communicating through movement using time, space and energy. All students will be placed through an audition process in one of five ensembles: Expressions, Aspirations, Fusion, Synergy or Advanced Dance Ensemble. Students will explore the movement styles of modern, jazz and lyrical dance through technique classes. Study in dance history and terminology will provide the student with an appreciation for these dances. Students will have limited out of school commitments, performing in one or two concerts each year.
In addition to the curricular offerings that music students might elect, there is a broad range of offerings in the co-curricular domain. At the High school, there are five select singing groups, and four co-curricular instrumental groups. An annual spring musical brings together the best of all curricular and co-curricular performers in a performance that rivals professional productions. Roxbury offers two co-curricular marching bands…one that entertains the fan base at football games on Friday nights and one that competes at the highest levels in traditional marching band competitions. At the Middle School, there are co-curricular select ensembles in the choral and instrumental areas which are a combination of seventh and eighth grade student performers. An outstanding school musical, involving more than 100 students, is also performed at the middle school.
Roxbury’s students are given outstanding opportunities to work with college professors, and other professional performing artists through the Artists in Residency Program and they have had the opportunity to perform in such esteemed venues as Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Roxbury’s performance groups have commissioned and debuted several musical arrangements that are now published and performed across the nation. The Wind Symphony is the only New Jersey Band to ever be invited to perform at the Midwest Conference of Bands and Classic Sounds Honors Choir has twice been invited to represent the Eastern Region at the acclaimed American Choral Director’s Convention. This year, Roxbury’s Instrumental Music program was honored to be the only school music program in the United States to receive the Sudler Flag of Honor in 2012, placing it among the most elite programs in the nation. Roxbury’s student musicians are regularly selected to represent their school at regional, state, and national level honors performance groups. For example this year, eighteen vocal performers were selected as All State Chorus members through the rigorous adjudication process. Importantly, Roxbury students are regular recipients of college scholarships at some of the most prestigious music schools in the country and Roxbury graduates represent their alma mater in a range of performance and educational performing arts careers.