Fine Arts at Holy Spirit Preparatory School

Len Insalaca

Director of Fine Arts

Welcome

In the Fine Arts, our objective at HSP is to teach our students to know, love, and serve God through the pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful, thereby helping them become the saints God has created them to be.

HSP’s fine arts curriculum consists of general music, visual arts, band, choir, drama, musical theater, and orchestra. Because the fine arts are essential to a classical education, our philosophy is guided by a holistic approach. This means that the arts are not studied in isolation, but rather, the study of each area of the arts informs the others, as well as the other core subject areas.

Visual Arts

The visual arts are essential to a classical Catholic education. Holy Spirit Prep’s K-12 Visual Arts program enables students to explore art production, art history, art appreciation, and art criticism through the lens of Catholic theology and Christian tradition, encouraging students to utilize their God-given talents.

With a strong design foundation, students learn how to seek innovative design solutions and artistic forms of expression on their own. This design thinking emphasis helps spark inner motivation, self-initiated discovery, and experimentation.

Just as John Paul II invites artists of the world to create “new epiphanies of beauty,” our students are inspired to engage in the New Evangelization with their life and work.

“Through his ‘artistic creativity’ man appears more than ever ‘in the image of God.’” – Saint John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999

Alison Stone

Alison stone

In the Visual Arts at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, we encounter, ponder, and contemplate classical and historic works of art in search of our own 'new epiphanies of beauty.' Encouraged by St. John Paul II's words in his letter to artists, we seek to inspire our students to engage in the New Evangelisation with their work and make their life a masterpiece with God's grace.

Alison Stone
Visual Arts Coordinator

Music

In Kindergarten and 1st grade, we focus on developing singing and movement skills, primarily through traditional folk music. Our program encourages students to be tuneful, beautiful, and artful through the following exercises:

  • Pitch Exploration
  • Song Fragments (Echo/call and response songs)
  • Simple Songs
  • Arioso (Child-created tunes)
  • Song Tales (Songs that tell a story)
  • Movement Exploration
  • Movement for Form and Expression
  • Movement with the Beat
  • Beginning Keyboarding Fundamentals

In addition to their general music study, beginning in 2nd grade, students begin Conversational Solfege Level One, a curriculum designed for teaching music literacy. This method uses a 12-step process to develop students’ aural skills, the way language is taught, before musical symbols are introduced. We also introduce Orff instruments and recorders at this stage.


Our 2nd and 3rd Grade Core Curriculum includes:

  • Conversational Solfege
  • Music History Course
  • Recorder Ensemble
  • Orff Ensemble
  • Folk Dancing
  • Intermediate/Advanced Keyboard Fundamentals

At HSP, instrumental music is a core element of our curriculum and plays an integral role in the development of the student’s mind, body, and soul. Beginning in 4th grade, all students at HSP learn a wind or percussion instrument. We help each child find the instrument that best fits them so they can excel musically. There are five bands at HSP: 4th Grade Beginning Band, 5th Grade Concert Band, Middle School Symphonic Band, Middle School Symphonic Winds, and High School Wind Symphony.


We also offer extracurricular opportunities for chamber music ensembles, including woodwind and brass quintets, saxophone and clarinet quartets, percussion ensemble, and several jazz bands. Our students work with guest conductors, performing in three to four concerts a year, and our High School Wind Symphony has performed at Universal Studios' Music in the Parks Festival. This coming spring they will be performing at Walt Disney World, Orlando.


The following instruments are offered as part of our curriculum:

Woodwinds

  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bass Clarinet*
  • Bassoon
  • Alto Saxophone*
  • Tenor Saxophone*
  • Baritone Saxophone*

Brass

  • Trumpet
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba

Percussion**

  • Mallet Percussion
  • Snare Drum
  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Timpani
  • Auxiliary Percussion

* All prospective saxophone and bass clarinet students must begin on clarinet and have the option to audition for the saxophone and bass clarinet after 4th grade.


** Each percussionist will learn all available instruments in the percussion section.


Students can enhance their skills through our partnership with the Ascension Music Academy. This extracurricular program offers one-on-one lessons, small group ensemble opportunities, and audition coaching to help students better prepare for solo and ensemble chamber music recitals, festivals, and honor band auditions.

St. Augustine once said: “Those who sing pray twice.” When we sing the words of our hymns and prayers, we are better able to glorify and honor our God. That’s why our choir is a critical component of our classical curriculum. Students in middle school and high school learn to sing and perform a variety of genres including sacred music, jazz, show tunes, and pop. Our choirs sing for concerts, weekly Mass, and HSP events such as the Annual Gala, confirmation, and graduation.


In our vocal performance classes, students apply vocal technique to perform pieces from musical traditions such as the Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, musical theater, and others. Students prepare for college music programs by developing skills in audition preparation, music theory, sight-reading, vocal technique, and performance technique. Vocal performance is interdisciplinary; students apply history, math, writing, art, and other subjects to their musical studies to improve their performances and understanding of the pieces.


Advanced students can audition for Schola Cantorum, which specializes in sacred choral music and offers students the opportunity to act as our musical ambassadors, spreading God’s message throughout the community and the world.

Although we do not start students on string instruments at HSP, we have various students who enter with string experience. To accommodate those students, we offer the option to join string orchestra in high school. Instrumentation includes violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. Students perform in concerts in both the fall and spring semesters.


The String Orchestra focuses on both standard string orchestra literature and new repertoire, incorporating elements of music theory and music history to understand repertoire within its societal context. Students are taught instrumental technique, tone production, tuning, fundamentals of music theory, music reading, and listening skills. In addition to learning to compose and perform original pieces, students can participate in chamber ensembles and perform in Honors Orchestra.

Dominic Wingate

I really like being in the band, and the band teachers are good role models. I hope to play like them one day! The friends I have made encourage me in my faith and help me focus on my grades.

Dominic Wingate
Middle School student

Extracurricular Programs

Ascension Music Academy

HSP has partnered with the Ascension Music Academy (AMA) to offer private music lessons all within the comfort of our campus. In addition to private lessons, AMA also offers chamber ensemble coaching for students who wish to develop their musicianship in the small group setting. This program is a fantastic resource for students who plan on performing at solo and ensemble festivals and chamber music recitals or wish to audition for various honor ensembles.

Classical Drama

Any student participating in drama as an extracurricular activity has the opportunity to be part of a production each fall. Classical drama refers to the theatrical traditions of ancient Greece and Rome, centered around the literary, technical, and performance elements.

Plays are performed in the fall semester with an average cast size of around 18 students. Performances showcase classical works such as Greek tragedies, Roman comedies, and the works of William Shakespeare.

Musical Theater

Integrating voice, acting, and dance, musical theater helps students develop creative expression and communication skills. Each spring, students perform in a classic Broadway production; some previous performances include Annie, The Sound of Music, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Seussical: The Musical, Cinderella, and many more favorites!

Holy Spirit Prep Arts Alliance

The Holy Spirit Prep Arts Alliance (HSPAA) encourages, supports, and supplements the fine arts curriculum at HSP in a Catholic and spiritual environment. Obtained through memberships, sponsorships, and fundraising events, Arts Alliance funds enhance the department budget and provide supplemental support for the music, theater, and visual arts departments.

Below is a list of the different membership levels the HSPAA offers. If you have an interest in contributing to the Arts at HSP at a level outside of the memberships listed here or would like to be a corporate sponsor, please contact the Director of the Arts, Len Insalaca, at arts@holyspiritprep.org or the Director of Development, Ed Festa at support@holyspiritprep.org.

Many thanks to our 2021-22 Arts Alliance Members!

Membership Levels

Maestro – $1000+

  • 2 Arts Alliance polo shirts
  • 4 passes for free admission to HSP Fine Arts ticketed events (LS, MS, & US)
  • 4 preferred seats at Christmas Spectacular Concert and Spring Concert
  • Arts Alliance vehicle decal

Prodigy – $500+

  • 2 Arts Alliance polo shirts
  • 2 passes for free admission to HSP Fine Arts ticketed events (LS, MS, & US)
  • Arts Alliance vehicle decal

Virtuoso – $250+

  • 1 Arts Alliance polo shirt
  • Arts Alliance vehicle decal

Friend of the Arts – $100+

  • Arts Alliance vehicle decal

Member – $1+

  • Arts Alliance vehicle decal