At St Joseph’s all students experience Visual Arts in Stage 4. Students are offered printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, film, digital art and techniques and creative thinking within ceramics.
In Stage 5, students are able to elect from a breadth of choice within the Visual Arts faculty, offering Photographic and Digital Media, Visual Design and Visual Art. The students who choose these electives can have a niche experience within the visual arts, focusing on skills and learning opportunities unique to each subject. Whilst Visual Arts is deeply rooted within the classic fine arts, Photography and Visual Design have closer ties to industries, employment and the creation of a product.
St Joseph’s offers a number of co-curricular activities that support and stimulate the learning of our students in visual arts. Students are offered excursions to major galleries and exhibitions that coincides with our students’ curriculum and art making practices, expanding their understanding of the potential of art. Students also have opportunities to exhibit works, document school events for our social media pages and newsletters and work alongside a variety of staff in creating film, flyers and photographic presentations that supports and celebrates the students in our school.
Our Visual Arts teachers support and promote opportunities for our students to be involved with a range of visual art activities outside of our school environment. Each year, students from a range of year groups are supported in creating entries for local and out of area art prizes and exhibitions, with many having success and being hung and awarded prizes for their outstanding work. In Year 11, students are encouraged to apply for the National Art School Holiday workshops in Sydney, where students have access to experts in various fields of art making from photography to drawing and everything in between, in the lead up to their HSC examinations.
Drama teachers in a Catholic school have a responsibility to teach Drama not only from an academic and cultural perspective, but also from that of a Catholic tradition. The Drama staff at St Joseph’s, strive to model and teach Gospel values through their interactions with students in the Drama classroom. We encourage students to help create an environment of justice, tolerance, respect and responsibility and to promote learning through valuing oneself as an essential member of the Christian community of St Joseph’s. Drama is offered in Stage 5 and Stage 6 at the school.
Drama is an exploration of experiences and situations through enactment. In Drama, students learn about themselves and others by creating characters and situations. Drama provides a powerful means of exploring the way people react and respond to different situations, issues and ideas. The students take part in Drama showcase evenings where they can perform for parents and friends. These nights are an excellent opportunity for caregivers to see what learning is taking place in the classroom. Drama theoretical works are also on display at these evenings.
At St Joseph’s, Drama is seen as a very important Creative Arts subject. With such a diverse range of students in the school, the experiences each of them brings to Drama is unique. Each student has a different set of skills and it is the intention of St Joseph’s to allow students to excel in their area of strength, whether it be onstage or behind the scenes. Every two years a musical is presented for the wider community. This performance opportunity is open to students from Years 7 to 11. The annual Christmas Pageant is not only an opportunity for students to perform but also share with the wider community our Christian beliefs. While we are located in a rural area it is the intention of the Creative Arts department to expose students to as many live performances as possible and welcome experts to share their love of the subject. The ASPIRE program that is run by the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle allows students to work with other like-minded students and perform at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle each year. Students throughout the academic year also have the opportunity of visiting the theatre to see live productions. Students who study Drama also take part in Drama Fest and other workshops that develop their skills.
Here at St Joseph’s, Music is not only a classroom subject, it is an integral part of the school spirit and one of the core elements of our educational culture. St Joseph’s offers Stage 4 Music, Stage 5 Elective Music classes and Stage 6 Music 1. Music 2 and extension courses are available on application. Our tradition of outstanding Music HSC results often culminates in a large percentage of students pursuing music in a variety of post-school initiatives.
We offer a variety of Music opportunities that not only develop the mind, but also enhance the soul and wellbeing of our students. Some of these opportunities include:
Students can choose to receive private tuition from fully qualified professional musicians from the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music. The instruments currently offered include a drumkit, electric bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, classical guitar, male and female vocal tuition, flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin and piano. These lessons are conducted here onsite within our Music practice spaces.
Along with the classroom and tuition program, we also offer a variety of extra-curricular opportunities. Musicians showcase their talents by performing on several occasions including the Diocesan initiative, DioSounds, Christmas Pageant, in-school functions, P&F and alumni functions, ministry events, whole school masses, whole school assemblies, Diocesan liturgical events, musical evenings and performances for our local organisations.
Another key opportunity is our school’s active involvement in the Upper Hunter Shire and Kia-Ora Youth Music Camp. At this camp, students are welcome to participate in instrument-specific ensembles, large ensembles such as concert band, vocal ensemble and the amazing voice competition. This camp culminates in a final showcase demonstrating the technical refinement, learnt ensemble skills and performance elements of being a musician.
A further highlight for our whole school community, but for the Music students and Creative Arts department as a whole, are our school musicals. These provide many opportunities for students to perform and shine in their own speciality as well as learning a variety of skills across the Creative Arts spectrum.