From kindergarten through high school, we had exciting and inspiring music classes and concerts, building our appreciation of music and honing instrumental and singing technique at every skill level. I had the chance to perform in the orchestra, sing in an a capella group, lead the handbell choir, and play the piano for chapel and spring musicals. I am so grateful to my teachers who always encouraged me, gave me leadership opportunities, and told me the sky was the limit.

Janet Yieh '11
Read more about Janet in Meet Our Graduates
Discover the joy of acting, singing, and making music, or performing magic behind the scenes.

An Enthusiastic Foundation

The performing arts program at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes is part of a well-balanced JK-12 curriculum. In the Lower School students take part in the Orff-Schulwerk Music Program. The program consists of singing, movement, rhythm, poetry, drama, finger plays, sound awareness, musical notation and fundamentals, improvisation, instrument identification, and learning to play the recorder and other melodic/rhythmic percussion instruments. There is a fifth grade Saints Choir that participates in our winter and spring choral concerts.

A Place for Everyone

The Upper School performing arts program provides more challenging performing opportunities and the development of individual talents. In addition to pursuing band, orchestra, and singing, students can join the jazz ensemble. Whether a student is taking a performing arts class or not, there are opportunities to perform in front of the audience or discover a new passion behind the scenes. Students who have never acted before take to the stage, man the spotlights, join the set building team, or become experts at the sound board. There are many different opportunities to get involved! Learn more about the Stage One Players.

Opportunities to Perform

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School Performers

    The fifth grade chorus performs in our winter and spring concerts with chorus students in grades 6-12.
     
    The entire Lower School performs in our Christmas concert in December and Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day concert in May.
     
    The fifth grade works on a production of “The Magic Pot,” including designing the costumes and set, writing the script, and even choreographing the dancing. They perform it for their kindergarten buddies, other Lower School classes, and their parents.
     
    Our After School Enrichment Program often includes performing arts options, such as Musical Theater, Much Ado About Shakespeare, Puppet Power, Designing Dance, and Hip Hop.
  • Middle School Performers

    Middle School students taking orchestra, band, or chorus classes perform in our winter and spring concerts, where they often have the opportunity to play with our Upper School musicians.

    Middle School orchestra, band, and chorus students perform in the District X Festivals in Virginia.
     
    Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade drama students perform short plays for their families and friends in our Chapel/Performing Arts Center (CPAC) in the fall and the spring.
     
    All Middle School students (and faculty) are invited to perform at the incredible Middle School Saints Got Talent show in the CPAC. This event is an annual favorite that always includes some surprises, like a faculty member who could balance a ladder on his forehead!
     
    Middle School students may also perform at the Middle School Multicultural Night. Performances have included Irish dancing, instrumental and vocal performances, ballet and modern dance, poetry readings, magic, and more.
  • Upper School Performers

    Upper School musicians perform at our orchestra, band, chorus, and jazz ensemble concerts given in the winter and spring.

    Upper School orchestra, band, chorus, and jazz students perform in the District X Festivals in Virginia.

    In October and January Upper School musicians can participate in the Coffeehouse evenings in the Wills Library. Sponsored by the school's literary arts magazine, Fire & Stones, Coffeehouse Nights are intimate evenings in which students can share music, poetry, and art with the community. All Upper School students are invited to perform. The evening begins with a programmed set and concludes with an "open mic" session. 

    All Upper School students are invited to audition for the fall play in November and spring musical in March, with no past experience necessary. Students who are not inclined to be under the spotlights, can choose to be behind one! There are many, many interesting jobs behind the scenes.
     
    Upper musicians may also play in the spring musical pit orchestra.
     
    Students step up each year to perform at the Upper School Multicultural Night in February, including performance poetry; modern, hip hop, and jazz dance groups; blues, rock and jazz bands; instrumental and vocal performances; stand-up comedy; magic; soliloquies, and more.

    In April there is another opportunity for Upper School students to perform at our Evening of the Arts, an event that showcases both our visual and performing arts.

    At the end of April Upper School students produce the One-Act Play Festival performed in our Black Box Theater, including writing the scripts, directing, acting, publicizing, and managing all the behind the scenes jobs.
     
    Musical students also contribute their talents to our weekly chapel services and special Lessons & Carols Christmas service, singing and playing songs in groups, duets, and solos.

    Performing Arts student clubs include the Drama Club, Improv Club, Boys & Girls Dance, 
    Gospel Club, and the Mantet and Sextet singers.

Building Skills and Confidence

In the Middle School the performing arts courses are more specialized and strengthen the disciplines introduced in the Lower School. Students can begin to focus on one discipline, with the option to choose chorus, drama, orchestra, or band. We encourage students to perform as frequently as possible to help them build their technique, confidence, critical-thinking skills, musicianship, and a sense of self-discipline and cooperation within a group. 

Lower School Performing Arts Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Mr. Matthew Gehlhoff 

    Lower School Music Teacher, Grades JK-2
    703-212-2840
  • Mrs. Rebecca Gehlhoff 

    Lower School Music Teacher, Grades 3-5
    703-212-2846

Middle & Upper School Music Faculty

List of 4 members.

  • Mr. Vaughn Ambrose 

    Upper School Music Teacher
    703-212-2882
  • Mrs. Dallis Byrne 

    Middle and Upper School Chorus Teacher
    (703) 212-2902
  • Dr. James Criswell 

    Middle and Upper School Band and Orchestra Teacher
    703-212-2867
  • Mr. Christopher Gillespie 

    Middle School Band and Orchestra Teacher
    703-212-2790

Middle & Upper School Drama Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Ms. Lindsay Jagodowski 

    Middle School Performing Arts Teacher (Drama)
    703-212-2814
  • Mr. James Marvin 

    Director of Scheduling, Upper School Drama Teacher
    (703) 212-2749