With both an international and national reputation, The Webb School's Fine Arts program is admired for the breadth of its course offerings and the outstanding quality of the school's faculty. Upper level students at Webb (grades 9-12) are required to take one class in the Fine Arts each year, three of which must be in a different area of the Fine Arts. The faculty members, who have degrees from some of America's finest conservatories and universities, give their students both outstanding instruction (in private lessons and classes) and insiders' views of the fine arts as working professionals.
Webb's creativity takes place amid the 11,000 square feet of halls and classroom that comprise the Lundin Fine Arts Center. This facility features a choir room, piano lab with 12 pianos, string ensemble room, recording studio, theatre room for drama classes and rehearsals, individual practice rooms, an art gallery and a 4,000 square-foot room that houses two and three dimensional art classrooms.
With two full productions a year, rehearsals three to five days a week, classes in beginning and advanced levels of acting and theater, one-act productions, and trips to see plays in Nashville, The Webb School is the perfect place to study theatre. Under the guidance of a director and technical director, students run every part of the major productions. Plus, Webb's Theatre Department belongs to the International Thespian Society, honoring student achievement in theatre for more than 80 years and has a membership of over two million, from pre-professional thespians to emeritus levels.
Ruth Cordell serves as Webb's Theatre Director. A recognized actress with 35+ years of experience in television, film and theater, Cordell works closely with Webb students both as a director and teacher of speech, theater, and acting. Under her direction, Webb students were chosen as a group of 50 high schools out of 1000+ applicants to perform at the internationally acclaimed "Fringe Festival" in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cordell is member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Recording Artists and Actors' Equity Association. A working actress, Cordell has appeared locally in Franklin with Studio Tenn's Steel Magnolias and Nashville Repertory Theatre's productions of I Hate Hamlet, The Goat, Cabaret, All My Sons, Rapture Blister Burn, and the regional premiere of Posterity.
Webb offers involvement in Basic to Advanced Performing and Production opportunities. Visiting professionals are invited to supplement student experience and excellence. Honors Theatre credit is offered to students depending on the experience in the theatre program, grade level, and has an academic component.
Working in the beautifully designed Lundin Fine Arts Center, aspiring artists receive the training and recognition they need at Webb. Students can study pottery, drawing, painting, design, printmaking, sculpture and videography with the school's master teachers. Student work is highlighted both during the school's annual Fine Arts Week and throughout the year in the Center's art gallery. There are three levels of art classes available for students with Advance Art, which focuses on the development of a portfolio, serving the needs of the most dedicated artists.
Mike Quinn and Michael Stem teach in the art program.
A recipient of the school's David Newton McQuiddy Award for Excellence in Teaching, Mr. Quinn's professional experience extends from local Emmy award-winning set and puppet design to operating his own clay studio, the Dinosaur Dirt Farm. His background in biology, travels abroad and interest in philosophy influence his approach to instruction. Mr. Quinn teaches Art I, Art II, Advanced Art, AP Studio, and Art Appreciation. (Some may even remember him as P.T. Pickens on the PBS programs "Mrs. Cabobble's Caboose" and “Music Funfactory”.)
Michael Stem attended Middle Tennessee State University where he earned his BFA in ceramics and printmaking. Working with artists such as Wayne White, Matthew Hopson-Walker and Brandon Sanderson, Michael gained a wide range of printmaking influence and a passion for the process. Michael also served as an aid to Sensei Masakazu Kusakabe in the construction of MTSU’s eco-friendly smokeless kiln. His need to create, coupled with a desire to inspire young artists, lead him to join the Webb family in the fall of 2018 to serve as the Middle School Art Instructor.
Janet Linton chairs the Department of Fine Arts. Mrs. Linton conducts the choir as well as teaching piano, music theory, and music appreciation. Before coming to Webb, Mrs. Linton taught at universities in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Tennessee. As a concert pianist, Mrs. Linton specializes in contemporary music (she has performed for composers Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, Ned Rorem, Alice Parker, and Randall Thompson) and most recently performed as part of an evening of world premiers at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Courses in beginning piano to highly advanced piano are offered. Most recently students performed a “Mostly Chopin” concert in chapel (Spring 2018). The repertoire included works by Chopin, Debussy, and Liszt.
Webb's choir is both an academic class and a performing ensemble. Students learn to read and sing music from a variety of periods as they work to prepare and perform together. The Choir performs both on and off campus throughout the year with the December Service of Lessons and Carols and the Spring Concert serving as highlights.
Janet Linton chairs The Webb School's Department of Fine Arts. Mrs. Linton teaches piano, music theory, and music appreciation and conducts the choir, as well. Before coming to Webb, Mrs. Linton taught at universities in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Tennessee. As a concert pianist, Mrs. Linton specializes in contemporary music (she has performed for composers Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, Ned Rorem, Alice Parker, and Randall Thompson) and most recently performed as part of an evening of world premiers at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
As both academic classes and performance groups, Webb's string orchestra classes provide an excellent opportunity for both new and experienced musicians to develop their skills. All classes offer instruction on the violin, viola, cello and double bass. Strings I gives those students who have never played a stringed instrument the opportunity to quickly learn how to play while learning to read music. No previous musical experience is needed to enroll. Intermediate Strings is a class for students with 1-2 years’ experience. These musicians study more advanced music while developing their shifting, vibrato, reading and performance skills. Webb’s most advanced orchestra class, String Orchestra, teaches students more complex string literature and advanced techniques. This class is for high school students only.
Webb's string program is led by Susan Mullen. Ms. Mullen, an active violinist, violist and conductor, regularly teaches at the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, Alabama and the Festival De La Musica Del Pacifico in Cobano, Costa Rica. She is an active clinician in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. She is the co-founder of the Murfreesboro Youth Orchestra and was its music director from 1997-2008. In addition to serving as the assistant concertmaster of the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra since 1991, Ms. Mullen is President Elect of the Tennessee Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Beyond her work with Webb musicians, Ms. Mullen is deeply involved with their broader education and has taken Webb students on trips to Austria, the Galapagos Islands, Peru's Machu Picchu, Italy, Greece and Ireland.
The guitar course at Webb aims to prepare a student to play guitar in a variety of settings. Students learn repertoire, technique, and how to approach the guitar in a way that allows freedom and improvisation. Multiple genres and styles are covered in an effort to make the student as versatile as possible. The course also covers a general overview of the history of both the guitar and guitar players, however the overwhelming majority of the course is rooted in learning to play the instrument in a practical way.
The course is taught by Joel Gage. Mr. Gage has a degree in music from Middle Tennessee State University, and has played in a wide variety of performance venues in the Nashville area.
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