Performing Arts Academy. Fine Arts Education Outreach
Founded a decade ago, the Performing Arts Academy (PAA) was formed by a small group of dedicated Pius XI faculty who felt beholden to our founding patronesses and wanted to assist in their mission.
Since the School Sisters of St. Francis have nurtured and shaped the musical and cultural scene of southeastern Wisconsin for over 140 years, it seemed only fit for the Pius XI faculty to lend their talents.
In the spirit of our founders, it became the mission of the PAA to provide quality performing arts education to elementary and middle school students in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who otherwise would not have access to such programs.
Programming of the Performing Arts Academy
Grade schools contract with the Performing Arts Academy to hire and staff instrumental music teachers in their K-8 schools. The PAA provides the scoped and sequenced instrumental music curriculum that is delivered to students by certified and licensed music educators.
Currently, more than 160 students receive instrumental lesson instruction in band and orchestra in nine grade schools. Students receive a lesson and an ensemble rehearsal once a week on their campus. They perform for their school concerts and liturgies.
In addition, all PAA students come together twice a year to perform in “All-Academy” Concerts held at the Father Robert V. Carney Performing Arts Center on the Pius XI Catholic High School campus.
Enhancement opportunities are provided, such as honors recitals, a Tri-M music festival, and even a performance at the “Ballpark Day of Faith.”
The PAA offers vocal music enhancement programs, such as “Christmas at the Cathedral” where PAA vocal students come together to work with a guest director and perform at the Pius XI Catholic High School Christmas Concert.
Voice Class – small group voice lesson instruction – and the Tri-M music festival for singers round out the enhancement programs.
All PAA faculty members meet quarterly to discuss lesson planning, share ideas and coordinate programs. All teaching faculty are regularly observed and coached by the PAA Executive Director of the Academy.
Theater and Dance
Since 2008, many grade schools have taken advantage of our PAA programs in theater and dance.
Delivered largely in a workshop format, the PAA has provided activities such as: acting and improvisational classes, after school dance classes, playwriting workshops, and musical theater show productions in the schools.
The PAA also hosts a “Dance Infusion” workshop for young dancers in local studios, and produces children matinee shows that feature combined casting of PAA and Pius XI Catholic High School students.
Since its founding, the PAA has evolved into an exciting center of activity that offers affordable performing arts programs in Theater, Dance, Vocal and Instrumental Music to grade school students in 10 Archdiocesan grade schools.
In October of 2010, the PAA was featured in Momentum magazine, the official journal of the National Catholic Educational Association. In this publication, the PAA was recognized for its visionary leadership in providing arts education.
“These good leaders have a powerful sense of purpose and know that vision does not come from the mountain top. A vision for the future emerges when people join as a team to imagine, when leaders invite others to join in creating a shared vision, and when multiple perspectives inform decision making to build long term effectiveness.”