Hockaday’s program in the performing arts is wide-ranging and varied including choir, dance, orchestra, theater, and technical theater. Students have exceptional opportunities to hone their performance skills on campus and on larger stages around the city and nation.
In Lower School, students are introduced to the basic elements of music through singing, rhythms, ear training, movement, and the use of instruments. The First through Fourth Grade music curriculum encompasses music history, theory, Orff techniques, and the study of the symphony orchestra. Students perform at school, learn from guest musicians, and attend musical productions in the Dallas area.
The First, Second, and Third Grade students present an inter-disciplinary musical production at each grade level. Fourth Grade students present a musical production based on a classic literary work, while Second Grade students are introduced to stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, or string bass). There is an optional Lower School orchestra for students who take private lessons, as well as a Third and Fourth Grade chorus.
The tradition of the Hockaday musical goes back to 1954 when Hockaday became the first school in the Southwest to do a full-book musical – the tradition of the Eighth Grade musical followed soon after. The Hockaday Theater Company is a class taught during the school day that allows students significant acting and technical theater experience, and in this class, they stage two plays a year. In addition, there is an Upper School musical every February that is open to all Upper School students. Throughout the many theater productions during the year, students take an important collaborative role in set design, props, costumes, lighting, and stage management.
In Fifth Grade, all students take a dance course, and in Upper School, students audition for a place in the five dance companies. A distinguishing aspect of Hockaday’s dance program is the opportunity for students to do choreography. A special endowment brings guest artists and choreographers to campus each year. Past guest artists include Lauren Adams Clement ’05, Zac Hammer, Kevin Jenkins, Alex Karigan Farrior ’03, Jennifer Mabus, Alex Nowlin ’10, and Jamal Story.
The Hockaday choral program begins as students learn the basics of singing in their general music classes in Lower School, but continues with elective choirs in Middle School. Fifth and Sixth students sing in the Cantate Choir and Seventh and Eighth students sing in the Bel Canto Choir. In Upper School, singers join the Concert Choir and, in addition to their winter and spring concerts, also have opportunities for numerous community service outreach performances and side-by-side concerts with professional-level choral ensembles in the area. All choristers are encouraged and prepared to audition for TPSMEA All-State, and participate in the festival in large numbers each year. r.
Hockaday’s youngest orchestra is found in Lower School comprised of students in First through Fourth Grades. In Middle School, three orchestras combine for concerts. The Hockaday Upper School offers two orchestra classes, the Concert and Chamber orchestra classes, which both focus on developing musicianship and instrumental skills. The Hockaday Chamber Orchestra partners with the Institute for Social Impact to help spread the joy of music in our community.
Additionally, as part of the curriculum in both classes, students are placed into small ensembles that perform throughout the school year at varying locations and events. All instruments are accepted into the orchestra. Students in the Upper School Orchestra program are eligible to participate in both TMEA and TPSMEA activities.