New Arts Concentration Members Announced

Every spring, a number of students are admitted into the ranks of Arts Concentration. Arts Con, as the program in known, is one of the seven selective signature programs on campus. As Choate’s website puts it, Arts Con is a “program intended for students who are passionate, disciplined and able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their own artistic development.”

Students accepted into the program are expected to explore their discipline in breadth and depth by completing a series of prescribed courses and by devoting a significant portion of each week to practice, rehearse, or do studio work. Arts Con is for the devoted artist who is looking to spend more time expressing himself or herself in a chosen discipline. Accepted students are deemed to hold promise in  a given, and are able to hone their skills through the program, while keeping up with the other demands of Choate life.

This year the program admitted 17 new students. The majority of admitted students are rising juniors, with a few rising sophomores and seniors. There are several disciplines in which a student may choose to specialize in, and new disciplines can be added from year to year depending on interest from specific applicants. This year’s student disciplines include dance, music, theater, and visual arts. The application process for the program is thorough. Each student must submit a written portion that details his or her  other  background in a chosen discipline, current strengths, and goals for developing in the area. The application also includes an interview, a portfolio submission for visual artists,  and an audition for theater, music, or  dance. The arts faculty then reviews all applications and admits those they deem to be strongest and most likely to be successful in the program.

The greater portion of this year’s Arts Con admits work in music. These students may be  composers, musicians, or  vocalists. Music students are required to take certain classes, including AP Music Theory, music history classes, private classes, and private lessons. Although the scheduling requirements are rigorous, a bit of time opens up for these arts-focused students because they are not required to take a “sweat sport.” These musicians perform several times a year, and the hard work and hours of practicing pay off and really make a difference in shaping their end-of-project presentations.

The second most popular discipline is visual arts with three new rising juniors and two rising sophomores. These students are also required to take specific classes that correspond to their discipline including drawing and art history. Visual arts students spend several hours in the studio per week and may specialize in drawing, sculpting, photography, or any other form of beaux arts. Their work is often displayed on the walls of the galleries of the Paul Mellon Arts Center and can be thought-provoking as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Theater and dance had the least number of acceptances this year, with three students for each of the disciplines, the majority of which are again rising juniors. Theater students must complete all acting classes, participate in at least one stage production, and tech another production each year. Dance students also take a variety of fixed classes including dance history, music composition, acting, and drawing. Dance is a newer section of Arts Con. It was added only a few years ago, though it’s gained popularity each year. Both dance and theater students are impressive and display great talent and artistry in their performances.

Arts Concentration is a group of some of the most gifted and hard-working people on campus. The program allows them to develop their talents further while balancing the requirements of any other student at Choate. The hours of work that they dedicate to their art is an effort to be both commended and admired. This year’s group of students is no different. They are sure to be just as impressive as their predecessors and will not fail to bring creativity and striking ideas to the Choate community through their works.

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