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 the larger stages beyond the school.
General music is taught in all grades beginning in pre-kindergarten, and in second grade, each student begins the study of a stringed instrument. In 5th and 6th grade students take a semester of music, a course which features solfege, music history, composition, singing and dramatic performance. In 7th and 8th grade, several performing arts electives are offered including Drama, Shadow Theater, Dance, and History of Musical Theater.
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 8th grade musical followed soon after. Hockaday’s Upper School extra-curricular drama program and the Upper School musical are coordinate programs with St. Mark’s School of Texas. Three major drama productions typically alternate campuses with rehearsals after school hours. The Hockaday Theater Company is a class taught during the school day that allows students significant acting and technical theater experience. Throughout the many theater productions during the year, students take an important collaborative role in set design, props, costumes, lighting, and stage management.
In 7th or 8th 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. Over twenty students created choreography for last spring’s dance recital. A special endowment brings guest artists and choreographers to campus each year.
The choir program begins in Lower School with the elective Lower School Choir and continues with the 5th and 6th grade choir and the 7th and 8th grade choir. In Upper School the Concert Choir, which numbers 65 singers, also features two smaller, auditioned groups: The Madrigal Singers and the Showchoir. In addition, the Gospel Choir and an a cappella group meet as club activities. Hockaday halls are frequently filled with the sounds of singing, and performing groups have an impressive series of performances throughout the year.
Hockaday’s youngest orchestra is found in Lower School, and in Middle School we have three orchestras (based on experience and ability) that combine for their major concerts. In Middle School, students are eligible for TPSMEA Honor Orchestra and for Solo and Ensemble contests. In Upper School, we offer a full orchestra with a role for keyboards. This group plays major repertoire that is related to the curriculum of History of Art and Music. The 65 musicians in Upper School Orchestra participate in TMEA and TPSMEA All-State programs as well as solo and ensemble contests.