Recently, members of the Saint John's Fine Arts Department were particularly struck by archival photos of a large orchestra and drama society from the early part of the last century at Saint John's High School.
While always known for academic rigor, the school gained its deserved reputation for excellence in arts as well. Eventually, interest in music and theater began to grow at Saint John's with activities like the wildly popular Spring Shows under the leadership of Mr. Joe Hayes, Mr. Bob Brady and Bro. Stephen Comeau. There was a renewed interest in theatre and music owing to the pioneering work of several faculty and alumni.
Things were looking up for the arts even more as the school community moved into the Ryken Center in 1999. At that time a semester requirement of Fine Arts study was added the curriculum to help fulfill the school’s mission to educate the whole person, including his aesthetic awareness and growth.
A fledgling instrumental program grew to three instrumental ensembles and a chorus under the direction of Mr. James McCluskey and Mr. Richard Monroe. As the school now moves into Founders Hall with a state-of-the-art theatre and performing space, band and chorus rooms, and a light-filled art studio, it is exciting to witness how the program is continuing to grow for the future. Mr. Nathan Colby now teaches theatre production along with an introductory course in theatre arts.
With all of these developments we can all look forward to the day a hundred years hence from now when students will be looking at photographs of our visual arts displays in the theatre lobby, large-scale musical ensembles and Broadway-quality theatre productions.