Charlottesville City Schools lays a strong musical foundation in our elementary schools, where children sing and play instruments regularly. In the elementary schools, students take music class once and generally offer winter and spring concerts. The students also perform in the community — for example, Venable Elementary was the guest choir when Grammy Award-winners Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding performed at the Paramount Theater.
Beginning in fifth grade, many students elect to join the band, choir, or orchestra. Charlottesville City Schools has an extraordinarily strong record of excellence in these groups. Some of our middle- and high-school performing groups have not received less than a superior rating (the highest possible) since the 1980s! In 2023, the Virginia Music Educators’ Association named CHS a Blue Ribbon School for the 13th time when it earned a superior ranking in the school’s top group for band, choir, and orchestra. In 2023-24, the CHS band was invited to perform in Rome at the New Year’s parade, and the orchestra accepted invitations to perform across Ireland. Each spring, the CHS band, choir, and orchestra join forces for a special symphony concert. Charlottesville’s music program is regularly cited as exemplary, and its graduates perform professionally around the world.
Opportunities to perform on stage also abound. Gym and music classes in elementary school teach dance, and after-school clubs encourage drama and dance, as well. We are partnering with the Charlottesville Ballet to offer after-school ballet lessons. In addition, certain schools, such as Jackson-Via Elementary, offer innovative ways to celebrate music and dance. Jackson-Via’s Bully-Nots club performs to the beat of friendliness– using dance, skits, and more to teach kindness and respect. In addition, the middle school and high school have step teams that compete and perform in venues such as the Ting Pavilion on the Downtown Mall.
For More Information
Aaron Eichorst, Fine Arts Coordinator