At Landon, we offer 22 courses in music, theater and the studio arts. Upper School students are required to take two years of classes in the arts — but you can always take more if you so choose.
When you learn from the 30 full-time and adjunct faculty members of our Music Department, you receive instruction not just from seasoned teachers, but from some of the leading musicians in the Washington, D.C., area. These musicians, who offer private lessons to band and strings players, have played with the likes of Aretha Franklin and the Temptations and continue to hone their craft on stages near (D.C.’s Kennedy Center) and far (the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland).
You can earn academic credit for Advanced Placement (AP) music theory, as well as a number of performance groups: the Chamber Singers, the Denizens (freshman Chamber Singers who are interested in part-singing and close-harmony in small groups), the Bearitones (upperclassmen who specialize in a cappella performances), Handbells, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and Strings Ensemble. In addition to entertaining the Landon community, these groups travel to festivals across the country. For example, Upper School music groups earned four first places and one second place at the 2016 Big Apple Classic music festival in New York City — and performed at a New Jersey Devils hockey game. In 2017, the Upper School Symphonic Band performed on the prestigious Kennedy Center Concert Hall main stage for the first time in school history (pictured above). And in 2018, our Upper School musical groups earned three first places and two second places at the OrlandoFest music competition in Florida.
If you elect a studio arts track in the Upper School, you will begin with a required course in drawing that leads to electives in ceramics, media arts, advanced drawing, painting, photojournalism and sculpture. Students can also take architecture and art history classes.
Our teachers, including Walt Bartman and Ricky Sears ’99, are celebrated artists in their own right and help students cultivate their passions and refine their skills to produce masterpieces that can be displayed in solo shows in Landon’s galleries and excel in competitions both regional and national. In 2018, 15 Upper and Middle School Bears earned a total of 25 regional honors in the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, while, for the first time ever, two Landon students earned Silver Keys in the national competition (which draws some 30,000 entries nationally): Matt '18 for photography and Jackson '22 for painting.
You will also learn about the power of art to change lives and connect you with other communities —sometimes in our own backyard, sometimes on the other side of the world. In recent years, our Upper School artists have used their talents to create paintings for Kenyan orphans, disadvantaged Argentinian children, and patients at Children’s National Medical Center.
As part of our theatrical arts program, you will have the opportunity to study the craft of acting, hone your skills on the stage of our Mondzac Performing Arts Center, and help out behind the scenes with sets or as part of the tech crew.
You can take a theatrical arts class, join the Improv Club, and/or appear in two joint Landon/Holton-Arms productions (typically one musical and one non-musical) staged each year. In addition to these full-length plays — recent examples of which include One Man, Two Guvnors, The Crucible, the musicals The Wiz and Damn Yankees, and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night — you can also take the reins as the writer and director of a short play as part of our annual Director’s Workshop.