The Lower School Creative Arts class provides opportunities for students to experiment and create in the areas of Visual Art, Drama and Movement. Through a variety of activities from painting to puppetry to choreography, students discover the art forms they enjoy most and in the process they often uncover hidden talents. The products of the Creative Arts class are displayed in the halls (Visual Arts) and performed in various venues throughout the school year (Drama/Movement). As a result of the Creative Arts class, the students are better able to choose the areas of art they would like to pursue in the Upper School elective programs.
Beginning in grade five, students can choose art as an elective class. Oakbrook’s middle school art classes include an introduction to the elements of art and principles of design as well as modern art, multicultural art and a look into art careers such as graphic design, architecture, automotive engineering, and illustration. Graphic Design is offered as a separate class for those wanting to learn more of this genre of art.
The high school art program includes such offerings as Sculpture, Drawing, Painting, Women in the Arts, Surface Design, Mixed Media, Book Arts, and The Bible Through Artist’s Eyes, which is a study of Biblical themes and symbolism in Christian art throughout history and may be taken for either Art or Bible credit.
For the highly advanced art students already working at a very independent skill level, we offer Advanced Studio Art that leads into the final advanced course of AP Studio Art. These students are highly motivated to stretch their abilities even further while working carefully on building a portfolio of artwork that shows the breadth of subjects and media they can handle at a high skill level as well as a concentration series on a particular theme of interest.
Visit our Student Art Gallery.
All students in preschool through grade four participate in Oakbrook's choral music program. The goal in the Lower School program is building a foundation for music expression and music appreciation. Students in middle and upper school who have developed an interest and appreciation for choral music have the opportunity to develop their performance skills through their participation in chorus, as well as Glee Club. Participation, through audition, in Oakbrook's annual musical is encouraged to students in varying age groups.
The band program begins in grade five and continues through grade twelve. Designed for students interested in learning to play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, students learn musical notation, music history and theory as they progress on their chosen instrument. Through middle school, the students continue learning fundamentals such as scales and advanced rhythms that increase expertise on their instruments allowing them to perform music at a Grade two and three level. The high school honors band is dedicated to the advancement of good band literature and performances include Grade 2 and Grade 3 level music for Festivals and annual concerts.
Beginning in grade five students are encouraged to participate in solo and ensemble festival, region and all-state auditions, pep rallies, ensembles for school musicals, and community events. Other band activities have included Jazz Band, Winter Guard, Christmas Parade, and Indoor Drum Line. These ensembles are formed based on personnel availability and student interest and therefore may not be held annually.
As a result of the Creative Arts class in Lower School, the students are better able to choose the areas of art they would like to pursue in the Upper School elective programs. (See Visual Arts above.) Students in grade five through high school may choose dance as an elective, where they explore the basic levels of a variety of dance genres including ballet, jazz, modern, and ballroom - culminating in an advanced dance course.
Dance is an interactive and innovative class designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn and appreciate the art form of dance. One of the main standards explored is dance technique, which enables the students to become literate in dance fundamentals, in a variety of genres, such as ballet, jazz, modern, and tap, and to be engaged in activities involving body awareness, movement exploration, and the understanding of the dance elements-body, time, space, and energy. Emphasis is also put on understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures while acquiring the skills to create and interpret ideas and feelings through dance. Students will use critical and creative thinking skills, learn history and culture, connect dance with healthy living, and relate dance with other disciplines.
The Advanced Dance course, offered to students by audition, is designed to emphasize and refine all main technique areas and master specific dance vocabulary related to the efficient and artful use of the body as an instrument. Advanced dance is the top performing company and in the past has had the opportunity to perform at the South Carolina Dancing Festival, do outreach events at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, and hold clinics at Oakbrook. An annual Dance Clinic is held for younger grades on a Saturday to teach basics in dance and provide ages 5-11 years the chance to perform at a home basketball game. The dance department is also a member of the National Dance Education Organization.
Creative Movement, presented by our Upper School dancers, is also an option for K4-5th grade. Creative Movement provides the students with opportunities for noncompetitive, success-oriented and creative experiences. Through movement, children learn about their bodies, the space around them, and each other. Creative movement is an innovation way to tie interdisciplinary principles together with the movement of their body.
In drama class, middle and upper school students gain a better understanding and increased appreciation of theater as an art form. Students will attend performances as well as work to build their skill as performers. Students will have numerous opportunities to build their confidence and they perform in class for their peers. They will also participate in at least one formal production and/or showcase each semester. In addition, they will receive feedback on their work as they attend two local theatre festivals.
Students of various ages have the opportunity to audition for the spring musical each year. Ages depend on the musical selection. Most recent musical performances have included Tarzan, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and Shrek. The spring musical is presented at the beautiful Twichell Auditorium at Converse College.
Live theatre is invigorating to the participant as well as the spectator. Those who participate in theatre gain many real world skills such as communication, concentration, self-confidence, self-expression, creative thinking, team-building, collaboration, and more.
Oakbrook’s Convergence Journalism Program is a unique course offering students the opportunity to gain firsthand application of journalism and marketing skills. Media convergence, defined as the sharing of content and/or staff with another media platform, is the most significant development in the news industry in the last century. Convergence has enabled media companies to gather and share information over a variety of platforms. Oakbrook’s two award-winning journalism staffs – broadcast and online news magazine – work together to report on students and events happening in and outside the Oakbrook community. Students also assist with marketing school events through social, print, and digital media. The Yearbook staff works tirelessly throughout the year creating the annual. The staff is responsible for writing, editing, and laying out the yearbook using complex computer software.