From our Lower to Upper School, Wheeler’s performing arts program offers students extraordinary opportunities in dance, vocal and instrumental music, and theatre. Whether they’re an experienced performer or trying something for the first time, Wheeler opens doors for students to explore, appreciate, and develop their skills in the performing arts.
The varied performing arts curricula focus on:
- skills development (technique, vocabulary, and theory)
- experimentation, composition and improvisation (creativity)
- collaboration and communication skills (the ability to work within a group)
- confidence and self-esteem gained through play and performance (sharing artistic achievement)
- broad global and historical perspectives (exploring cultures through teaching materials)
- critical analysis (developing a discerning, knowledgeable eye and ear for performance)
Our faculty and program honors
A separate, dedicated department of professional musicians and theatrical experts staff the Performing Arts Department at Wheeler. Every child is taught by an educator who is also an artist. The Theatre Program has been honored 10 times by the American High School Theatre Festival. Our singers earn state, regional and national honors in annual competitions as well as record (hear them on Apple Music.) Our instrumental musicians enjoy performing for campus and community audiences as well as spending time in the recording studio. Our Dance Program brings students from all levels and all grades across campus together for Spring and Winter performances. All concerts and productions are recorded by the Wheeler School Broadcasting network and are available for viewing on the internet.
Our facilities — The Gilder Center for the Arts
The Gilder Center for the Arts is comprised of two connected buildings, Wheeler Memorial Hall and the Gilder Center for the Arts, each with three levels of teaching and performance spaces.
Wheeler Memorial Hall
Theatre productions for all divisions are presented in this lovely brick building constructed to memorialize the School’s founder after her death in 1920. The “black box” flexible seating theatre can seat 170 people depending on the configuration. It is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and equipment. On the top floor is a digital photo lab, art studios and ceramics studio. On the ground floor there is a theatre and tech theatre classroom/green room with “video sight” of the stage above and a costume and set shop.
Gilder Center for the Arts
Dedicated in October of 2014, this building houses a 400 seat film, lecture, musical performance and multi-use auditorium. The top floor has three performing arts classrooms, music classrooms for grades 1 – 5, four practice rooms and a student lounge. The ground floor has both a Jazz Ensemble room, Middle School Music classroom, and a recording studio. A separate dance studio is located on the top floor of the Health and Physical Education Center next door.