Aspiring Angels in the Arts encounter a world of opportunities in the Academy’s performing arts program. After they complete the required Music Appreciation course, students may choose electives in music and theater, including theater arts, musical theater, piano performance, or music activism. Angels may also further their love of music through the AP Music Theory course.
AHA promotes cultural literacy, and encourages Angels to study classical humanities. College credit is available through the Middle College Program of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The Academy’s comprehensive co-curricular program includes The International Thespian Honor Society and The National Tri-M Honor Society (music). Many Angels participate in the Academy Chorus, Orchestra, Seraphima, Chamber Orchestra, Handbell Choir, and Jazz Ensemble (which was, at one time, New Jersey’s only all-girl jazz band).
Our extracurricular theater program is one of the strongest in the state, and encourages girls from AHA and boys from any high school (public or private) to participate. AHA’s drama and musical productions have been recognized by organizations such as the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards, The Foxy Awards (Montclair State University), and the Metropolitan High School Theater (“Metro”) Awards. There are many opportunities to appear on stage or work behind the scenes with our stage crew, where students can work on crews that handle sound, lighting, backstage, lobby design, hair and makeup, or costumes.
Requirements: All students are required to take one quarter of Music Appreciation during freshman year. Sophomores are required to take at least one semester-long course in either fine arts or performing arts.
Performing Arts Courses
Take a closer look at what makes music, music. Just as you need certain ingredients to make your favorite food, so you need certain ingredients to create a piece of music. Discover the musical ingredients of rhythm, melody, harmony, tone color, texture, and form. Experience musical concepts through listening exercises and hands-on musical composition. (Grade 9) (Course # 8101)
Be part of this performance course that provides woodwind, brass, percussion, and string students the opportunity to rehearse, study, and perform a variety of classic and contemporary orchestral literature. Students who wish to enroll in this course must have basic performance skills on their instrument and must participate in all Academy Orchestra performances. (Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8911)
See musicals from a new and exciting perspective. In this survey course, you will review and analyze musicals from the classical (“West Side Story”) to the contemporary (“Hamilton”) to gain a better understanding of what goes into creating a Broadway musical. This is a non-performance course, where we will consider the composers, lyricist, choreographers, authors, and everyone responsible for the final production and how their contributions add to our enjoyment of the show. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8811)
Theater Arts I
Gain a greater understanding and enjoyment of the performing arts as you develop your public speaking skills. This course is for the beginning actor and will allow you to engage in theater improv games to gain more confidence and self-awareness. We will study elements of classical theater in a fun and exploratory environment. Learn to create believable characters, even if you are a beginner or non-theater student, and gain confidence when standing up in front of a group. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8821)
Theater Arts II
Continue to develop the skills you acquired in Theater Arts I. You will learn how to develop believable characters while working on acting exercises and duet scenes from contemporary dramatic literature. Gain an introduction to acting in period plays, and learn to deliver monologues for audition purposes. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8831)
AP Music Theory
Study the building blocks of music. Use written and aural skills to analyze key signatures, modes, melodies, intervals, and chord progressions using traditional four-part writing practices. Explore musicianship skills such as dictation, sight-singing, keyboard skills, and the use of form. Expand your skills to include more complex music and the creation of student compositions. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8881)
View historical moments through a musical lens, and identify the social, psychological, and political impact music can have. Discover how people throughout history have used music to bring awareness to important social justice issues. Explore how music has been used to alleviate human suffering, bring about positive social change, and unite people. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8841)
Take a self-paced course designed for students from beginners to advanced pianists. Expand your repertoire and develop your keyboarding skills. In class, you will have individual practice time, one-on-one instruction, and group breakout sessions to learn new techniques. You will be evaluated on personal improvement and achievement. (Grade 10, 11 or 12) (Course #8851)
Theater Arts - Independent Study
Explore and analyze theater arts topics to meet individual student-defined course description, goals, and objectives. You must be able to meet with your instructor at least three days within an eight-day cycle. Independent Study must be approved. (Grade 12) (Course # 8891)
Instrumental Music Lessons
Learn to play a musical instrument, or improve your existing skills. You will take small group lessons on a pull-out basis. Enjoy instruction on the following instruments: woodwinds (clarinet, flute, oboe, saxophone), brass (trumpet, trombone, French horn), strings (violin, viola, cello, string bass), and percussion. Academy Orchestra members who are not studying privately are encouraged to register for this class. Participation in the Academy Orchestra is required for all students enrolled in lessons. No instruments are provided by the Academy. Students must rent their own instruments. (Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12) (Course # 8901)
Humanities – Honors (Middle College Program)
Earn college credits from the Fairleigh Dickinson University Middle College Program as you study the humanities. Develop a cultural awareness as you study art, music, theater, dance, architecture, and literature from several historical periods.
Prerequisite: In general, one year of fine and performing arts at the college preparatory level.
Note: This course fulfills the one-year humanities graduation requirement. This course is equivalent to a freshman level college course. Separate online registration in September is required through FDU. (Grade 11 or 12) (Course # 8452)
International Thespian Honor Society
The International Thespian Society (THS) is the Educational Theatre Association’s student honorary organization for participation in theater. THS recognizes the achievements of high school students who are involved in the theater program. Points are accrued through participation in AHA productions, both on the stage and behind the scenes, and members of the THS Executive Board ore elected every year. Points are also awarded for taking the following courses: Theater Arts I, Theater Arts II, and Musical Theater. View the Official High School Thespian Point System.
International Tri-M Music Honor Society
The Tri-M Music Honor Society is the international music honor society for middle/junior high and high school students. It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and inspire other students to excel at music and leadership. Through more than 5,500 chartered chapters, Tri-M has helped thousands of young people provide years of service through music in schools throughout the world. Tri-M is a program of the National Association for Music Education.