Art in its various forms has been a part of our school since its inception. Frederick Gunn wove music into the early fabric of FGS and organized plays for his students and town residents, which led to the establishment of Washington’s amateur theater group, the Dramalites. This commitment to making art part of the everyday experience for students, and finding ways to connect the school with the community through art, is renewed today with the opening of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. Located at the heart of our campus, this beautiful new building supports The Gunnery’s Vision for Arts and Community and the continued growth of the school’s visual arts, music, drama and dance programs. In addition to providing a place for students to develop and showcase their artistic abilities, the center will allow for the expansion of partnerships between the school, local arts organizations and the community.
At The Frederick Gunn School, we ask students to learn to take public risks, to be makers not consumers, to be citizens who imagine a beautiful future without cynicism, to face failure with hope.
Vision for Arts and Community at FGS
Our Vision for Arts and Community at The Frederick Gunn School outlines four elements – Creation, Risk, Connection and Wonder – that are essential to each student’s experience in the arts.
At FGS, we invite our students to be creators and makers. Whether in the visual or performing arts, students are asked to leave their mark on the world, to challenge someone to see the world in a new way, to express their perfectly unique point of view.
The arts also break down barriers for those who are nervous about trying new things, as well as those who want to actively engage in the arts for the rest of their lives. “I know of so many students for whom the arts had a real transformative impact during their time here and who are grateful for all the great work that goes into allowing students to have that experience,” Head of School Peter Becker said.
All students are required to take the equivalent of one credit in art. This can be accomplished through three single-term courses or one full-year course in our music or visual arts programs. While the requirement is one credit, our students are encouraged, and often do take more than the required classes. The goal is for every student to recognize and appreciate the valuable role that art plays in our lives. “It is unique in its ability to draw forth parts of who we are as humans that other pursuits cannot. Art enables us to see, to hear, to listen, to feel, and ultimately to think in ways we would not without it,” Becker said.
Today marked the start of a new Co-Curricular Program for the Winter Term. Students are required to attend two, half-hour sessions each week with options that range from sports psychology, outdoor recreation and a Mind & Body Fitness Challenge to music, photography, Model United Nations (MUN), engineering and more.
Two students in the Gunn Music Program, tenor Drew Sutherland ’21 and alto Yolanda Wang ’21, are performing this week in the National Association for Music Education’s All-National Honors Choir, which represents the top vocalists in the country.
The Frederick Gunn School presented “Home for the Holidays 2020: A Virtual Holiday Concert and Celebration” on December 17, featuring students in the school’s Vocal Ensemble, String Ensemble, and Jazz Combo, along with special guest musicians, directed by Ron Castonguay, Director of the Arts and Director of Music. It was the first remote broadcast of a holiday concert, and the first holiday concert at The Frederick Gunn School.
Mackenzie Teper ’21 and Vivian Boucher ’23 have been selected to participate in ASAP’s 10th Annual Celebration of Young Photographers. More than 200 submissions from students representing 38 schools across the state were received this year. Teper and Boucher were among 60 finalists selected by a panel of professional photographers through a blind judging process. Their photographs will be featured in a unique, large scale professional art exhibition based on the 2020 theme, “Quarantined.”
Musically speaking, Drew Sutherland ’21 had an outstanding summer. A tenor in the school’s Vocal Ensemble, performing at the Conservatory Level, and a vocalist in Advanced Rock Band, Sutherland was among 17,572 singers from 129 countries who performed in Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir #6. Featured on CBS “Sunday Morning,” with Jane Pauley, it was the largest virtual choir ever assembled and has more than 1.3 million views on YouTube.
Two students in The Gunnery's Music Program, tenor Drew Sutherland ’21 and alto Yolanda Wang ’21, have been chosen to perform in the National Association for Music Education’s 2020 All-National Honors Choir, which represents the top vocalists in the country. They are scheduled to perform in a gala concert celebrating music education and the arts on November 5‒8 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Two Gunnery students were among those honored at the 17th annual Halo Awards hosted by Seven Angels Theatre on June 23. Max Farrar '21 won Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role as Quasimodo, and Lucy Sanchez '23 won for Best Costume Design/Execution in the "The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Congratulations to the students and faculty in The Gunnery Drama Program, who garnered a total of 12 nominations for the 2019-20 Halo Awards, which celebrate the best in Connecticut high school theater. Students were honored in categories reflecting their work in the 2019 fall play, “Backstage,” and the 2020 winter musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the first production performed in the Tisch Family Auditorium.