Category Archives: Liberal Arts

Holiday Magic: Oakcrest Chorus to Perform with McLean Orchestra

Immerse in the magic of the holidays with the McLean Orchestra, once again joined by the Oakcrest School Girls’ Chorus. Revel in the joy and solemnity of the season and bring your best voice to join in on our traditional holiday sing-along which will include the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s beloved Messiah. As always we offer free parking and our popular post-concert cake and champagne reception, open to all.

McLean Orchestra flyer

Saturday, December 8, 2012  8:00 p.m. Sunday, December 9, 2012  3:00 p.m.

Oakcrest School – 850 Balls Hill Rd. McLean, VA

For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.

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Oakcrest Cappie Publishes in Washington Post

Frequent murders and hilarious hi-jinks pervade Bishop Ireton’s musical comedy, ‘Something’s Afoot’

The Washington Post, November 26, 2012

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.  Access online HERE.

Sophie Buono, a student at Oakcrest School, reviews “Something’s Afoot” performed by Bishop Ireton High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

Photo by Catherine Schreiber

An old mansion, an unlikely mix of guests, and the unexplained death of a host seem to form a recipe for suspense and screams.  However, these elements actually make up the lively and comical musical “Something’s Afoot,” Bishop Ireton’s recent production.

“Something’s Afoot” was written by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach, with additional music by Ed Linderman.  It became a dinner theater favorite after its 1976 showing on Broadway.  The story, which pokes fun at Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “And Then There Were None,” begins with the arrival of six guests at the Lord Dudley Rancour’s mansion.  Unfortunately, the guests quickly discover that their host has been murdered, and as one person after another mysteriously dies, suspicions heighten.  While the guests and servants of the house hunt for answers, they face personal encounters with each other.  All the while, the show exaggerates the shock of murder, the uncertainty of finding a culprit, the wittiness of a detective, and the spontaneity of love in order to add spicy humor to the story.

Bishop Ireton’s production of “Something’s Afoot” shone with impressive talent in multiple areas.  The cast as a whole sparked laughs through their body language, sharply performed in dramatic unison whenever something suspicious occurred.  The choreography, though simple, captivated the audience through each character’s enthusiasm and almost consistently spot-on timing.  In spite of a few microphone issues, the cast’s diction carried through quite smoothly, and most of them engaged strikingly accurate accents.

Miss Tweed (Sarah Moffit), the sprightly and witty old lady, performed with particular confidence and ease.  Each of her mannerisms, from her hunched walk to her wily facial expressions captivated the audience, making her death both hilarious and sad to see that such an entertaining character had to die.  The tender-hearted Hope Langdon (Brenna Carroll) also livened up the stage with her brightly optimistic face and melodious voice that made singing high notes seem like a walk in the park.  Her heartfelt yet juvenile relationship with the spirited Geoffrey (Joey Ledonio) both touched and tickled the audience.

Other characters shone despite shorter stage time.  Lady Grace Manley-Prowe (Kaitlin Hamer) displayed strong vocal talent in her solo “The Man with the Ginger Mustache.”  Servants Lettie (Catherine Schreiber) and Flint (Joseph Green) grasped their cockney personas and ran with them, shown in their accents, attitudes, and comical song “Dinghy.”  While some characters sang a bit weakly in the upper register, their skillful expression drew significant attention.

The set of “Something’s Afoot” wowed the audience from the moment the curtain opened.  The two levels, complete with stairs, decorative paintings, and several functioning doors, portrayed Lord Rancour’s mansion with astounding realism and beauty.  The costumes, almost all student-made, from hats to shoes, drew the reader into the 1930s time period. The special effects, timed precisely, included amusing and surprising elements such as smoky explosions and poisonous gas clouds.

From beginning to end, Bishop Ireton’s “Something’s Afoot” flipped Agatha Christie stories upside down with dexterity, and so brought several audience members to their feet at the curtain call.

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Oakcrest Music Program Featured in Connection Newspaper

An Instrumental Program at Oakcrest School: McLean independent girls’ school enjoys its musical reputation

By Lori Baker, Connection Newspapers, November 5, 2012

The sixth grade chorus class, including students Kiley Hatch, Maddy Conroy, Lily James, Julia Cipollone, Emma Pelletier, Caroline Dauchess and Grace Talbott, practice one of their more challenging pieces, Laudate Dominum.

Photo by Lori Baker: The sixth grade chorus class, including students Kiley Hatch, Maddy Conroy, Lily James, Julia Cipollone, Emma Pelletier, Caroline Dauchess and Grace Talbott, practice one of their more challenging pieces, Laudate Dominum.

When music teacher Anne Miller came to Oakcrest School 11 years ago, there was no formal music program. The small Catholic girls school in McLean had no formal chorus, no band and no orchestra. So imagine her delight at the school’s current reputation.

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Photo by Lori Baker: Sixth grade students Maddy Conroy and Lily James.

“It’s been said that it’s become a singing school,” Miller said. “Which I think is beautiful,” she added. Miller said the girls are constantly singing in the halls. They leave class singing.

As director of the school’s music program, she built the program from the ground up.

The program started slowly. Middle school girls, grades sixth through eighth began with chorus. A music appreciation course was soon added. “They develop an understanding of the great classics as well, and some of them might come in thinking I don’t want to learn this music,” said Miller. “But invariably they leave saying, ‘wow, I want to keep listening and going to concerts.’”

Though the school historically produced one show per year, Miller is proud that the girls now put on Broadway musicals, and present musical shows throughout the year. In fact, last year’s Seussical production resulted in four Cappie award nominations for the school. Miller said that could not have been done without Oakcrest Theater Director Jessica Carey.

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Photo by Lori Baker: Oakcrest School’s music team, Joanna Iwaskiw, Anne Miller and Elizabeth Black.

“I have never liked music class,” said sixth grader, Caroline Dauchess. “But I like this music class. It’s fun. We learn all these songs, like staccato.” At the mention of the word, the students spontaneously belted out staccato demonstrations, which were quickly followed by giggles.

EACH CHORUS CLASS begins with a series of warm-ups, also cause for stifled giggles. The warm-ups feature a wide variety of stretches for not just the vocal chords, but for posture as well. “I think we learned a lot of cool techniques that help us sing a lot better,” said sixth grader, Maddy Conroy. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s cool learning all of these songs that you never thought would exist.”

Depending on the time of day, music of another sort can be heard coming from the school’s auditorium. Students with flutes, cellos, violins and oboes were spread throughout the room, focused on individual practice sessions.

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Photo by Lori Baker: Sixth grade cellist, Skye Hartsoe, learns a new piece on her brand new cello.

On one recent October morning, they were just given a new piece of music to learn. Oakcrest Instrumental Music Director Joanna Iwaskiw moved throughout the room, individually coaching each student. Iwaskiw was hired just this year to get the school’s new instrumentals program off the ground. Many of the students had previously played instruments, and Miller encouraged them to stick with those instruments until the school’s instrumentals program could begin. The students have greeted the new program with enthusiasm.

Iwaskiw enjoys seeing what the children learn. And it’s more than just music. “It is a place where the students really express themselves. Their character is very much shown while singing and playing music. And I’ve noticed also the girls’ really hard work ethic, which is lovely to have.”

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Photo by Lori Baker: Oakcrest violin students, Julka Syska and Sofia Summitt, at a recent practice session.

“I love music,” said Summitt. “It’s fun to listen to, and also it gives you a pleasure to play it for people,” added Syska.

THE GIRLS are beginning to prepare for a Christmas concert on Dec. 17. And Miller is pleased that the upper school chorus has been invited to sing for a third year with the McLean Orchestra, on Dec. 8 and 9, at Oakcrest. Both concerts are open to the public.

Miller said she is proud of the students, and the school’s music program. “I am very happy to be able to give the students the opportunity to learn music, to express their creativity, to experience the beauty of music,” she said.

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Oakcrest Presents C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”

Oakcrest School is excited to announce their 2012 Middle School Show, “The Lion, The Witch and The  Wardrobe.” This new dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic, set in the land of Narnia, faithfully recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the exciting, never-to-be-forgotten Narnia.

The intense action features chases, duels and escapes as the witch is determined to keep Narnia in her possession and to end the reign of Aslan. All the memorable episodes from the story are represented in this exciting dramatization: the temptation of Edmund by the witch, the slaying of the evil wolf by Peter, the witnessing of Aslan’s resurrection by Susan and Lucy, the crowing of the four new rulers of Narnia, and more. The show will be presented by a 32 member cast from Oakcrest’s 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

This story of love, faith, courage and giving, with its triumph of good over evil, is a true celebration of life and a great way to begin your holiday season!

Performances are on Friday Nov. 9 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, Nov. 10 at 11:00 am and  7:30 pm.  $5/childres ages 2-18, $10/adult.  Buy tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/283287

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Oakcrest 2012 Co-Valedictorian is named National AP Scholar and one of Top 13 Diocesan Students

High Schoolers Receive National Awards

Arlington Catholic Herald

10/10/2012

Each fall, a select group of high school students across the county receive National Merit Program and Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar awards. This year 13 diocesan students earned top honors.

AP exams are taken in May and awards usually are granted in September. Students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average grade of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP exams and grades of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT. Those who are named semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and include the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Finalists will receive one of 8,300 scholarships totaling $32 million.

Anna Rapp of Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria was honored as a National Merit Semifinalist.

Mary Zischkau of Oakcrest was named a National AP Scholar.

Peter Ciampa, Caitlin Hall, Kelly Luciani, John Stella and Thomas Vaughn, students at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, were honored as National AP Scholars, and Meagan David and Elaine Harrington were named National Merit Semifinalists.

Michael Sheridan of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax was honored as a National AP Scholar, and Mary Carome and Tim Higgins were named National Merit Semifinalists.

Jennifer Block of Seton School in Manassas was honored as National Merit Semifinalist.

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Mary Zischkau was the Co-Valedictorian for the Oakcrest Class of 2012.  To access this article online, click HERE.

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Class of 2012 – Good Luck in College and We Will Miss You!

Photo Gallery.  Click thumbnails to enlarge photos.

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Life is a Song: Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

On Saturday, June 2, Oakcrest graduated 28 young women in the G. Lloyd Bunting, Sr. Theatre.  The 2011-12 Oakcrest Crescens yearbook name is “Life is a Song.”  The Senior Class wrote the following in the yearbook dedication: “As we think back to this year of Oakcrest, we should see it as a giant song – one that has us singing along to the words.  It’s a song that is innate in each student; we find it in our school work, our activities, and friendships.  It is a song that encourages us to live to the fullest and embrace every opportunity that Oakcrest has given us.  Live each day with the motto “kia kaha,” forever strong.  Oakcrest is just a verse of the song that we all live.  It is a joy to carry out what we have learned here at school and bring it to the rest of our lives.  Carry a song in your heart, and spread happiness wherever you go.  2011-2012 is a year to cherish, a year to sing out and celebrate.  Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”  Congratulations, Class of 2012…we are so proud of you, and we will miss you next year!

The Sun Gazette covered the graduation in its article, “Oakcrest Grads Encouraged to Stay True to Principles, Explore the World Around Them.” Click here to read the full article.

Here are excerpts from the Sun Gazette article:

“Oakcrest “has instilled in me to love learning. I’ve learned how to learn,” said [Co-Valedictorian Alex] Gadiano, who is heading to Colgate University and plans to study chemistry and Spanish on a softball scholarship.

“Our class has always been a class of adventurers,” said Mary Zischkau, the Class of 2012’s other valedictorian. “Our thirst was the thirst for knowledge and truth….We should be forever strong in our principles,” she told classmates. “Let us face [the future] with confidence and fortitude.”

“You’ve been given an education that has given you a sense of your own self, [and] a sense of purpose beyond your own selves,” [Ellen Cavanagh] told the graduating seniors. “Nothing happens by chance. This is not an accident….It’s a gift that’s been given to you…but it’s only the foundations.  Invest in your intellectual growth. Your relationship with God, invest in that.”

“Life is a song,” Zischkau told her classmates. “May our lives be songs of true happiness.”

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