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Since founding their first school in Messina in 1548, Jesuit schools have always been known for their Fine and Performing Arts Program. It has always been a belief of the Jesuits that it was important to educate the whole person and as a result a vibrant visual and performing arts program is evident in most Jesuit schools. St. Paul's High School has a variety of Arts programs:
The Visual Art Program at St. Paul’s High School strives to foster a greater understanding and appreciation for the visual arts in our students. This program is open to all interested students regardless of their previous skills or experience. Students will be encouraged to develop their artistic abilities to their full potential.
The art program at St. Paul's is studio based. Students work on projects that incorporate visual awareness, art appreciation, art production, and art history. While in the program students will have the opportunity to work in a wide range of different media such as drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. The students will learn different ways to creatively express their ideas.
Participating in the visual arts helps them to become well-rounded members of society. The knowledge and skills that students develop from this course can easily transfer to other areas of interest. Regardless of future aspirations, the Visual Art program has something to offer every student. Those interested in pursuing advanced studies in fields such as fine arts, architecture, advertising, or computer graphics have the opportunity to develop a portfolio used to apply to post secondary institutions.
To enhance the classroom experience, recent grads and professionals who are working in art related fields such as architecture, design, animation, and photography are invited into the class to share their knowledge and experience. In grade 11 and 12, students will also have the opportunity to take part in an art-cultural awareness field trip if this is of interest to them. It has been a popular experience, which allows students to see, in person, some of the iconic artworks that they have studied in class. In addition students will also have the opportunity to have their work on display through a number of different public exhibitions.
The St. Paul's Music Program endeavours to assist each student to develop their God-given musical ability to His greater glory in an environment that is both encouraging and challenging. The program endeavours to develop an appreciation, understanding, and love of music in each student that will continue beyond St. Paul's. The program is performance focused and seeks to develop each student's technical, musical, and ensemble skills as well as their theoretical and historical knowledge of music.
The St. Paul's Music Program is inclusive in that it welcomes both students with and without prior musical experience. Currently the focus of the St. Paul's Music Program is instrumental; however, with the advent of the Chorale Club in 2006-07 the program is moving towards high school accredited choral classes and the addition of a second music teacher.
The instrumental program is structured so that by grade 12 both streams of students with and without prior musical experience have come together in one class. The instrumental program is comprised of five concert bands and two jazz ensembles. In grades 9, 10, and 11 there are two concert band options for students based on their prior experience and ability as they progress through the program. The program also offers a Jazz option for selected students.
The St. Paul's Dramatic Society has been producing plays since the 1930s. Since that time St. Paul's students have attempted to interpret the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, Neil Simon, and others. All of these productions strive to build on the tradition of excellence that was inspired by Fr. J.J. Murray.
One of the main goals of the productions is to include as many students as possible so that more can appreciate this medium. Most productions involve from 50-100 students in all aspects of the play. From actors to stage crew, from Drama Band to Art production, each play is a beehive of student activity.
Currently the Dramatic Society produces two productions each school year with one taking place in the fall and another in the spring. The fall offering has traditionally been a full length play whereas the spring production is usually a dinner theatre.
St. Paul’s High School offers a 1/2 credit program for grades 9 through 12 in Choral Music. The tradition of music in Jesuit Schools is longstanding and the Choral Music program includes sacred, traditional, jazz, modern, and pop music. Practices are held each Day 2 at lunch with Sectionals being held on Day 3 at lunch enabling all to join without conflicts in other courses. Each year, the Choir sings at two major performances, the Advent Concert and the Spring Concert in conjunction with the Band. A select choral ensemble also performs at the Tribute Dinner and at the Anavet Cup. A popular course, enrolment is capped at 75 boys. All are encouraged to develop their vocal skills and love of music. Every four years, the choir travels to a large centre of performance to experience theatre and music, to work with professional vocal coaches, and to spend a day at another Jesuit School. The choir program has three staff who work with the boys as well as an accompanist.