The music programs at Hamden Hall create opportunities to nurture both the most advanced and complete beginner high school musician. Through comprehensive programming by our teaching-artist faculty, students are immersed in an environment that expects excellence while maintaining a supportive community of likeminded young artists.
Upper School Choral Music
Hamden Hall has a great singing tradition, which continues to evolve under the direction of Mr. Matthew Harrison (B.M. James Madison University; M.M. The New England Conservatory). Students can sing both during the day (for credit) or outside of school hours to participate in a wide variety of ensemble offerings. Our newest groups on campus, On A High Note and The Ransom Notes, are collegiate style a cappella groups that cover contemporary music without instruments. Hamden Hall students highlight their talents through exposure to industry standard studio technology: Finale, Protools, & Melodyne. Students work to create professional level recordings of music that was specifically arranged for their voices.
Incorporating elements from college level classes (ear training, sight reading), students work hard to develop music literacy. Studying solfeggio (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do), participants in vocal ensembles ultimately become lifelong learners and appreciators of music because they have the tools to read and interpret any composition. Working in small classes, students have the opportunity to find their own voice. Every voice is unique and every student is treated as an individual. This musical empowerment often leads to a more confident, creative, well-rounded person.
The concert orchestra is a performing ensemble comprised of students who play woodwind, brass, string and percussion instruments. The concert orchestra's repertoire includes arrangements of wind and orchestral compositions, popular tunes, and concert marches. The class focuses primarily on developing students’ technique on their instruments, their ability to play in an ensemble, and their overall musicianship. Proficiency in reading music and competency playing an instrument are requirements for participation in this ensemble. The concert orchestra is open to both middle school students by audition and to upper school students. Upper school students who enroll in concert orchestra meet twice a week in small groups and rehearse on Friday mornings in a larger group of approximately fifty students.
Participation in the jazz ensemble is offered to those students who have a special interest in learning to play jazz, an original American art form. The repertoire will include compositions from the classical jazz repertoire, as well as contemporary pieces. In addition, students will study jazz chord progressions and their related scales so that they can then create their own improvised solos. Auditions may be required. The jazz ensemble rehearses once a week after school.
Middle School Ensemble
Middle school string, woodwind, brass and percussion players may choose to participate in our middle school ensemble, which meets on Friday mornings. In addition, middle school instrumentalists meet once a week for instruction in a small class setting. Middle school students who are advanced and who take private lessons on their instruments may audition to participate in the upper school concert orchestra.
Students in the upper school may elect to participate in a chamber ensemble. Chamber ensembles may meet during or after school, depending on students’ schedules.
Instrumental Students Dazzle in Spring Concert
From Wolfgang Mozart to Pyotr Illyrich Tchaikovsky to the Beatles, Middle and Upper School instrumental students joined together in musical prowess for the annual Spring Concert in Taylor Gymnasium.
Record-Number of Vocalists to Compete at All-State Festival
Hamden Hall’s music program continues to garner statewide attention and success as a record-breaking number of choral students once again earned spots to compete at the Connecticut Music Educators’ All-State Music Festival.
Instrumental and Choral Students Awarded Regional Competition Spots
The success of Hamden Hall’s music program continues as both instrumental and choral students have earned spots to attend the Southern Region High School Music Festival sponsored by the Connecticut Music Educators’ Association.
Choral Students Selected for All-National Honor Ensemble
Three Upper School students were selected to perform in the prestigious All-National Honor Ensembles hosted by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Hamden Hall is well-represented in the 2020 choir as no other school in the country earned more than three spots.
Virtual Choral Video a First for Hamden Hall Music Program
Originally intended to be the premier song in the Middle and Upper School Spring Concert, the Kenyan song Jambo has been transformed into a virtual choral presentation the likes of which are so indicative of the times we are in.
Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.