In honor of our patroness, St. Cecilia, the fine arts program strives to embody St. Cecilia's love for the fine arts and for God. Starting with the freshman year, the students begin developing an appreciation for the arts. All freshmen get first hand experience with drama, dance and art, and they may also elect to take chorus or chamber ensemble. A key intention of St. Cecilia Academy's fine arts program comes from Constantine Stanislavski, who encouraged his students to "love art in yourself and not yourself in art." In keeping with this philosophy, the different artistic areas stress the idea that discipline is a positive and necessary word, particularly within the fine arts. By the end of their freshman year, students have come to fruition and have blossomed in their talents.
After the freshman year, many students opt to take advanced classes in the arts. Within these classes, students become more analytical in critiquing individual work, as well as the works of fellow classmates and the works of great artists. The fine arts programs emphasize the belief that each student has limitless possibilities in understanding history and its relation to the arts, in applying the techniques learned to hands-on projects, and in recognizing the dedication to excellence that the fine arts demand.
As the SCA artists hurry to complete a portfolio for Studio Art AP, to learn the last harmonies for a choral competition, to perfect ensemble performances for play productions, or to tighten the formations for a dance performance, St. Cecilia remains a palpable inspiration in modern times.
Chamber Ensemble is SCA’s instrumental music experience. The class is open to all students who have previous experience playing an instrument and is offered during the school day. Guitar-ists, pianists, strings and winds are encouraged to participate. The instructor is Mrs. Toni Ferguson. Students are divided into groups of 2 to 5 students to rehearse and perform chamber music, always playing their own individual part. Students receive daily coaching from the instructor as well as develop their own rehearsal and leadership skills. The Chamber Ensemble becomes a close knit performing group as the students develop trust and respect.
The choirs at St. Cecilia Academy have been recognized consistently as some of the finest in Tennessee high schools. Each year, many of our students are selected by audition to participate in Mid-State and All-State choirs and other honors choirs. The SCA choir program maintains a tradition of strong commitment to excellence, with a high emphasis on joy in practice and performance. Repertoire includes choral music from all periods, from Baroque to the present day, and includes sacred and liturgical music for school Masses. A typical class starts with voice technique and musicianship study, and then students apply these concepts through work on the literature at hand. Students steadily gain in personal confidence and awareness of their own unique gifts.Through singing at St. Cecilia Academy, students are able to live out the mission of the school in a very powerful way, sharing classroom achievements with the school at large, and with the greater community in a rigorous performance schedule, including an annual Cathedral Christmas celebration, and much more.
The Dance Program at St. Cecilia Academy is designed to introduce and inspire appreciation of the art form to new dancers, as well as to challenge and nurture growth in the advanced dance student. With opportunities available to study dance for all four years, every student has the potential to grow and develop in the art form. The Dance Program is introduced to every St. Cecilia student in the freshman year VAP (Visual Art and Performance) program, and is required of all students. Freshmen complete an entire year of dance training, beginning with a focus on classical ballet technique and extending their study into genres of contemporary work, jazz, and modern technique. The year culminates with the creation of original compositions in their chosen genres. Whether a student continues to study dance after their freshman year or not, all students benefit from the confidence, grace, and artistic intelligence gained from their study of dance in the freshman year.
Beyond the freshman year, students at SCA have the opportunity to continue their study of dance with elective classes, which are designed to challenge the technical performance and artistic quality of each student's dancing. Intermediate Dance students have several performance opportunities throughout the year, and have graced the St. Cecilia stage in performances of contemporary and classical work.
For dancers who desire to grow and perform outside of regular course offerings, the St. Cecilia Dance Company offers an excellent outlet. This group of dancers, chosen by audition each year, work together with the Dance Company director to produce a student choreographed performance each Spring. Dancers propose ideas for original pieces and assist in the casting of their work before choreographing, rehearsing, and staging their creations on fellow students. The show has become a favorite performance of the SCA performance calendar each year. The SCA Dance Company also performs at various significant events throughout the year, including the school's annual celebration of St. Cecilia Day, the annual Christmas concert, and Grandparents Day.
The overarching goal of the Dance Department is to instill a holy love of beauty in each SCA student, teaching them "In things of beauty," to contemplate "the One who is truly beautiful…" (St. Bonaventure). Additionally, students learn how the art of dance relates to their studies of other art disciplines, as well as history, and literature, deepening their appreciation and understanding of art in the world and cultivating a young woman of artistic intelligence and appreciation.
The renowned Drama Department produces a musical in the fall and a play in the spring of near-professional quality each year.
Recently, St. Cecilia Academy’s production of Beauty and the Beast was named Best High School Musical in Tennessee by USA Weekend.
The St. Cecilia theater has many other uses, including the following: Mass, theatre productions, guest speakers, dance recitals, St. Cecilia Day, Arts Parts, Baccalaureate Mass, campus retreats, faculty and staff in–service, and community use.