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Performing Arts

Building Habits of Mind

Performing Arts at Harley

Letter from the Chair of Performing Arts

At The Harley School, we believe all children deserve the opportunity to express themselves through music and drama, and that the performing arts are a vital part of each child’s educational experience. 

We provide meaningful challenges for students who excel in one or more areas of the performing arts, but our programs concentrate on giving all students the opportunity for positive growth. Our faculty is committed to forging personal relationships that allow our young actors and musicians to discover and cultivate their abilities in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. 

In addition to discipline-specific skills, the performing arts help students learn more about themselves and the world around them. They develop understanding and empathy by thinking about the characters they play, the words they sing, and the music they play. Students learn to work as both as individuals and collaboratively as members of a team. They become more effective communicators as they share ideas with each other and with audiences. Throughout the learning process, children, tweens, and teens become more resilient by understanding that a mistake can be the beginning of an amazing opportunity for growth.  

The performing arts help us to tell our stories and share our feelings with each other. They are an expression of our humanity. Our goal as teachers is not just to teach theater and music, but to help our students learn to use those tools to tell their stories, express their feelings, and better understand our shared humanity.

—Ben Burroughs
Chair, Performing Arts Department

Nursery-Grade 4: Lower School

Our students immerse themselves in creative expression throughout their Lower School experience. Nursery students joyfully participate daily in Creative Arts, a class combining music and movement. This dedicated time for creative development is unique to The Harley School. Building on this foundation, our K-Grade 4 students further develop their musical skills through singing, dancing, playing Orff instruments, and learning the basics of music literacy. Our students also develop dramatic and public speaking skills through telling jokes, reciting poems, or sharing class presentations at our weekly assembly.

Grades 5-8: Middle School

All Middle School students participate in a music ensemble (choir, band, or strings) each year. All Grade 5 and 6 students also take one-trimester general music classes. In Grades 5-7, students participate in a one-trimester long drama class. Additionally, students in Grades 6-8 may select from ever-changing performing arts offerings as part of Flex Time during the last period of the day.

Grades 9-12: Upper School

Our Upper School performing arts programs are notable for promoting the exploration of authentic voice and promoting creative thinking. Students in band, orchestra, and choral ensembles perform throughout the year, while young thespians take the stage in fall plays and spring musicals. We also offer a wide variety of music and drama electives, which give students the opportunity to delve into more specific areas of interest.

At Harley, we integrate the arts into all levels of our curriculum. We understand working in the arts helps learners to develop creative problem-solving skills while boosting critical thinking; and we see this every day as arts instruction helps with the development of motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness.

A recent study from Rice University states: “…arts-learning experiences benefit students in terms of reductions in disciplinary infractions, increases in compassion for others and improvements in writing achievement. Furthermore, arts-education experiences improve school engagement and college aspirations.”

Additionally, the National Association for Music Education notes “music teaches 21st century skills,” including creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

We believe opportunities in the arts are critical to whole person success.




 Men’s Choir

Wind Ensemble

Vocal Chords a cappella group

Strings Ensemble

Chamber Music

Treble Choir

Jazz Band

2:20 Band, small combo group

Courses/Extracurricular Activities

Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter

Introduction to Music Theory

Introduction to Italian Opera

Introduction to Non-Italian Opera

Introduction to American Musical Theater

Introduction to Baroque and Classical Music

Romantic and Contemporary Music

The Theremin: Origins of Electronic Music


Jazz History

A Cappella Arranging

Private Lessons



Acting I/Scene Study

Children’s Theater




Drama Productions

Upper School Fall Play

Upper School Spring Musical

Middle School Musical

Mastering Monologues

Shakespeare Competition

Student-directed One-acts

24 Hour Theater Marathon

Our Faculty

Ben Burroughs

Ben Burroughs

Middle and Upper School Choir
(585) 277-1286
Beth Fox

Beth Fox

Nursery Creative Arts, Lower School Music 
(585) 277-1149
Kristy Houston

Kristy Houston

Middle and Upper School Band, Performing Arts Department Chair
(585) 442-1770 x-1176
Linda Foster

Linda Foster

Middle School Drama



(585) 442-1770 x-1173
Mike Kaupa

Mike Kaupa

Upper School Music
(585) 442-1770 x-1287
Sarah Bajus

Sarah Bajus

Lower School Music Teacher



585-442-1770 x-1155

The Harley School

1981 Clover Street
Rochester, NY 14618
(585) 442-1770

©2021 The Harley School