Graded's Four Pillars Series - Arts: Gradedpalooza

The Graded Gazette

Graded's Four Pillars—academics, arts, athletics, and service—serve as an educational framework and play a critical role in student character and skill development. In this issue of the Graded Gazette, we delve into arts. 

The Graded Arts Program fosters creativity, expression, and cultural awareness through an expansive visual and performing arts curriculum. 

Beginning in pre-primary, students learn about the history of art as they play with different media and explore line, shape, space, value, form, texture, and color. Lower school students also gain musical literacy through song, movement, and experimentation with simple instruments. 

Our upper school students can choose to pursue up to three creative paths: theater, visual arts, and music. Graded thespians, digital and fine artists, and musicians showcase their talents throughout the school year through a series of theater productions, film festivals, art exhibits, and musical performances.

A stream of creativity flows through the corridors and classrooms of Graded’s Lemann-Tully Arts Center.

Visual artists gather on the second floor, where artwork adorns the hallways. The air is filled with the rhythmic scratch of pencils on paper, the gentle sweep of a brush on canvas, the whirring of clay spinning on the wheel, and the occasional click of a camera shutter.

Across the hallway in the Black Box Theater, aspiring actors rehearse their lines for an upcoming performance while students behind the scenes master the magic of stagecraft.

On the first floor, musicians, their instruments in tow, engage in discussions about technique and composition. Practice rooms reverberate with lively rhythms.

For these and other upper school musicians, the semi-annual Gradedpalooza music festival allows them to showcase their talent and hard work when the school's orchestras, bands, and choirs take over campus spaces and deliver memorable performances. 

On a sunny October morning, proud parents, siblings, and friends gathered for the latest edition of Gradedpalooza. Chatter echoed throughout the Student Center until the Jazz Band’s first notes commanded their attention.  

Beloved classics and a captivating rendition of "Cry Me a River” followed, featuring the dulcet tones of a choir soloist. Next, the audience was guided to The Haddad Center for the Performing Arts, where the junior and senior orchestras delighted listeners with performances ranging from Brazilian classics to inventive twists on pop hits like “Uptown Funk,” leading the audience to clap along to the beat.

Transitioning to the intimate Black Box Theater, the choirs united to perform popular songs like Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”

Back in The Haddad Center, the junior and senior bands enraptured the audience with a grand finale comprised of contemporary pieces from beloved shows, including the Star Wars theme song.

After the musical morning came to a close, the Graded community exited campus, their spirits uplifted.

For Choral Director and Head of Visual & Performing Arts Tina Pederzolli, events like Gradedpalooza are part of the Graded Music Department’s commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals. 

“At Graded, students don't just learn notes and rhythms; they learn the art of collaboration, discipline, and resilience,” she said. “We prepare our students not only for successful careers in music but also for a life enriched by creativity, empathy, and a profound understanding of the world through the lens of the arts.”