Performing Arts Preview

By Peggy Harris P’10,’13; Amherst, NH

Chances are that if your child is on a Deerfield sports team, you’ve seen a game or two.  Events are held during both fall and spring parent weekends, and you may have even experienced the excitement of Choate Day. But, did you know that in addition to watching athletes compete, there are also opportunities to see some pretty amazing artists, musicians, dancers, singers and actors at Deerfield? 

Last fall, students performed Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs to sold-out audiences and the Deerfield Academy Madrigal Choir was among the semi-finalists in the WGBY-TV Together in Song competition. In the winter, Deerfield hosts college groups at their annual a cappella fest, where our own Rhapso-Ds (female a cappella group) and Mellow-Ds (male group) perform as well. After months of practice, the full academy chorus and orchestra last spring took to the Memorial Building stage to perform all 25 minutes of Franz Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G Major. The minute it was over, the amazed audience rose to their feet to give the performers a standing ovation.

Deerfield Academy is one of the few New England boarding schools that offers dance not only after school, but during three class periods as well. Performances each term include ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap and modern dance numbers. After Parents Fall Weekend performances, dancers get busy creating a completely student choreographed and produced winter showcase. The year ends with a spring dance concert that includes senior projects. Students who have participated in the dance program have gone on to dance at Julliard, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia and the Harvard Ballet Company (to name just a few). One graduate became a professional dancer, and later founded the dance program at King’s Academy in Jordan, where he is currently director.

Some of us never think to attend a performing arts event, especially if our own child is not involved. The first time I went to a Deerfield student-run play my son was a senior and I realized I’d missed three years of great shows. When my daughter started, two years later, I attended both the winter play (which included a pre-performance reception) and the spring show.

Deerfield welcomes parents to the campus throughout the school year. Before you know it, Parents Fall Weekend will be here beginning Friday, October 12th and with it the opportunity to see Deerfield’s dancers and musicians on stage. After an early evening of parent receptions (by class) and dinner in the dining hall or tent on Plunkett Lawn, come to the Memorial Building at 7:30pm to sit back, relax and enjoy the Performing Arts Showcase, followed by a reception at 9:45pm–a seamless, terrific evening on campus.

Whether your child is an active member of the performing arts community or an athlete, watch the calendar for opportunities to see our students shine! Below is a tentative list of performing arts events for the upcoming school year. While you are in the Memorial Building, be sure to walk through the downstairs hallway to view the current student visual arts display.

Oct 12 Fri Dance, Music Performing Arts Showcase; Parents Fall Weekend
Oct 30-Nov 3 Tue-Sat Theater Fall Theater Performance: The Laramie Project
Nov 7-8 Wed-Thu Music Fall Chamber Music Concert
Dec 9 Sun Vespers Holiday Vespers Service in the Brick Church
Dec 14 Fri Music Messiah Concert
Dec 17 Mon Music Holiday Revels and Carols
Jan 24-25 Thu-Fri Dance Student Choreography Showcase
Jan 18 Fri DA Community Winter KFC; Performances in the Koch Center by members of the Deerfield community
Feb 20-21 Thu-Fri Music Winter Chamber Music Concert
Feb 23 Sat Guest groups Deerfield A Cappella Fest (tentative date)
Feb 28-Mar 2 Thu-Sat Theater Winter Theater Performance: Little Shop of Horrors
Apr 26 Fri DA Community KFC (tentative date – see also May 4)
May 2-3 Thu-Fri Dance Spring Dance Concert
May 4 Sat DA Community KFC (tentative date – see also Apr 26)
May 10 Fri Theater Acting Tutorial performances; Spring Parents’ Weekend
May 10 Fri Dance, Band Dance and Band; Parents Spring Weekend
May 11 Sat Music Music concert followed by Investiture and All School Sing
May 17 Fri Film Student film festival
May 21-25 Tue-Sat Theater Spring Theater Performance – TBD
May 22-23 Wed-Thu Chorus Spring Chamber Music Concert
May 25 Sat Music Dance (senior projects) and Choral Music Concert; Commencement weekend
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