A distinctly Christian worldview is integrated into the entire Mars Hill Academy student experience, including art, music, and drama.
Mars Hill arts programs are designed to give students an appreciation for beauty and the tools to create artistic works that honor God. Students perform dramatic presentations of memorized Bible passages, poetry, and other literary works. They study and learn the elements of art from a biblical perspective, and create lovely pieces in a wide variety of media. In music and choir classes, students learn how to play the recorder, hand bells, and choir chimes, and are taught to sing joyfully to the Lord. They gain an appreciation for many different types of musical compositions, and are challenged to sing works in a variety of languages and genres. Students in our string orchestras learn to appreciate and play beautiful music together. Annual concerts showcase the talents of our choirs, Chamber Singers, and orchestras, and give students performance experience.
Theater at Mars Hill Academy perfectly complements our students' study of rhetoric, art, music, and the humanities. Truth, beauty, and goodness are the standards that frame our show selection and inspire the creative process. Grammar students present short plays throughout the year and one stage production in the winter, while logic and rhetoric students stage one fall drama and one spring drama, respectively. Mars Hill Academy has developed a local reputation for excellence in theater with popular productions such as Pirates of Penzance, Beauty and the Beast, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Anne of Green Gables, and Great Expectations.
Mars Hill Academy arts programs include the following:
- K-12 art classes
- K-8 music classes
- Rhetoric School choir (grades 9-12)
- Chamber Singers (grades 10-12)
- Men's choir (grades 9-12)
- Women's choir (grades 9-12)
- String orchestra (grades 3-8)
- Drama productions (grades 4-12)
Skill development and performance opportunities are offered through participation in:
- Classroom presentations
- Grandparents Day
- Christmas concerts
- Madrigal Feast
- Laurel Wreath recitation competition
- Spring concerts
- Orchestra concerts
- Mars Hill Academy Arts Vision Statement
As a classical and Christian school, we seek to cultivate in our children a love for not only truth and goodness, but beauty. Aesthetics has to do with the perception of beauty in all its forms.
As with truth and goodness, objective standards for beauty are rooted in the very nature of the triune God; they are also expressed in His Word and in His works. We ourselves are one of His works – in fact, the highest (“just a little lower than the angels”). Having been made in God’s image, we are “sub-creators,” made to make things, to make them like He did, and to make them to His glory. We are, in this sense, all artists privileged to serve under the Master Artist. And so at Mars Hill Academy our goal is to understand, appreciate, and pursue the aesthetic dimension in all of life.
We do recognize that the Fall affected not only man’s knowledge and will, but his aesthetic sensibilities. Thus we guard against the aesthetics of unbelief, with its promotion of shallowness, ugliness, fragmentation, and purposelessness; and we reject its embrace of relativism, whereby beauty and “good art” are conceived of as purely subjective. We also guard against being drawn to beautiful things or producing beautiful things only to serve them rather than the Creator. Merely outward beauty cannot be a substitute for genuine beauty, “the beauty of holiness.”
Given the continuing reality of the Fall, it is appropriate that our more message-oriented art acknowledge the reality of sin and its consequences, rather than fabricating a sanitized world. But given the reality of redemption, it is important that all of our artistry reflect the lordship of Christ in every area of life. Though living in a fallen world, we seek to beautify our surroundings and elevate or ennoble whatever we put our hands (or voices) to, testifying to the restorative work of Christ in and through us.
So what are the standards that underlie our aesthetics? They include a balance of complexity and simplicity; harmony of form and content, or of form and function; creativity; use of subtlety, symbol, or metaphor; ability to stir sentiment without resorting to sentimentality; fittingness of the medium and the message; ability to adorn or enhance the surroundings; connectivity with other works or styles that have stood the test of time; and conformity to biblical standards of truth and goodness.
These should especially characterize our work in the Fine Arts (that is, art that has an intense, purposeful, aesthetic focus). Whether in painting, sculpture, poetry, drama, or music, students should be learning the essential elements and skills of that particular craft, practicing them, and striving to create a refined, well-crafted work. More comprehensively, we seek to bring beauty to bear on all facets of our lives together. Thus our manners, our school dress, the décor of our classrooms, the music and manner of speech at special events – we want all of these to adorn the truth and goodness of all that we say and do.
While acknowledging that, as finite creatures, our vision of the beautiful is necessarily flawed and incomplete, we nonetheless commit ourselves to dwelling on those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy; and we entrust ourselves and our work to the One whose knowledge of the beautiful (like His knowledge of the true and the good) is exhaustive and perfect.