An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN


Upper School studio art class

Upper School ceramics class

Arts | Upper School

The arts are an essential piece of the Upper School curriculum and community life. Students are required to take at least three semesters in the fine arts, choosing from a robust selection of electives in the visual arts, music, and theater. Student artwork is showcased in the Harry M. Drake Gallery, and the Upper School's two concerts and three theatrical productions are highly-anticipated community events, all of which take place in the Huss Center for Performing Arts, the school's state-of-the-art, 650-seat auditorium.


Upper School music courses are ensemble-based and include two orchestral ensembles, two choral ensembles, a jazz ensemble, and the Honors Music Seminar. All ensembles perform in two concerts every year, and the extracurricular a cappella singing group also performs at school events. Private music lessons are also available through the school, with instructors who specialize in teaching high school students.

Visual Arts

Visual arts coursework is offered in ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and the video arts. The Honors Art Seminar is designed for the most advanced students, who exhibit their work in a dedicated show in the Harry M. Drake Gallery at the end of the year.


Topic-based theater courses focus on Theatrical Arts, Acting, Design, Directing, and Production. Three audition-based theatrical performances each year include the Fall Play, the Winter One-Acts, and the Spring Musical. 

2021-22 Upper School Arts Calendar

We look forward to welcoming live performances back to the Upper School! Please note that all dates and performances below are subject to change.

November 19-20, 2021: Upper School Fall Play: Peter and the Starcatcher |View the program|View photos
December 3-4, 2021: Pops Concert | View the programView photos
January 28, 2022: Upper School Winter One-Acts | View the program | View photos
April 23, 2022: Vocal/Orchestral Spring Concert & Community Chorale |View the program | View photos
April 30, 2022: Middle/Upper School Jazz Band Cabaret | View photos
May 13-15, 2022: Upper School Spring Musical| View the program |View photos

See below for links to recordings of the livestreams from the fantastic Upper School performances and art events during 2020-21.

For a full list of performances and art events, click here!

June 11, 2021: Upper School Musical

Friday, June 11 was the livestream debut of Song, Dance, and Taking a Chance, this year's Upper School Spring Musical. The show is a musical theater experience that follows the structure of a typical musical, but is populated with exciting numbers from 17 different shows. It’s a love letter to musical theater in video form! View the program. The show is available for on-demand viewing beginning on Saturday, June 12. The trailer for the show, featuring a takeoff of "Hello" from The Book of Mormon, is below. Enjoy the show!

Upper School Arts 2020-21 Archive: Due to the pandemic there were no live performances in 2020-21. All performances were held virtually and recorded; please enjoy all these recordings below!

May 21, 2021: upper school spring showcase

Friday, May 21, 2021 was the livestream debut of the 2021 Upper School Spring Showcase, featuring performances by the Academy Symphony, Honors Sinfonia, Summit Singers, Academy Chorale, Jazz Band, Orchestra Winds, and the Community Chorale. View the performance program or view the livestream. Congratulations to all our Upper School musicians and singers!




2021 Upper School One-Acts

On Friday, April 16, 2021, SPA livestreamed this year's Upper School One-Acts. View the program from the performance.

2021 Senior Art Seminar Exhibition

The 2021 Senior Art Seminar Exhibition is the creation of students enrolled in the Honors Art Seminar, the Upper School's most advanced art seminar. This year, seminar students worked hard to curate two exhibitions of their work. "The Observer Effect" is on display in the Harry M. Drake Gallery on the Randolph Campus through June 6, 2021; and "Atmospheric Pressure," a virtual exhibition, is accessible online here.


2020 Winter Music Showcase

In December 2020, in lieu of the annual Pops Concert, this year's Upper School Winter Music Showcase featured all of our Grade 9-12 music students in virtual performances. You may view the Showcase at any time via on-demand streaming, or view the Winter Showcase program.

Fall Play: Under Milk Wood

In Fall 2020, the Upper School presented Under Milk Wood, a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas that was commissioned by the BBC and later adapted for the stage. Due to in-person performance limitations, the fall play was shared digitally with the SPA community on December 11-12, 2020.

View a performance slideshow on the right or see more photos of the  performance on SmugMug.


Upper School Jazz Band: "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square"

Upper School Orchestra Winds: "March" by Bach

Honors Sinfonia: "All I Want for Christmas"
December 2020

Upper School Jazz Band: "Ain't Misbehavin'"
October 2020

Summit Singers: "Let the Mystery Be"
September 2020

Academy Symphony: "Hallelujah"
December 2020

Academy Chorale: "Wonderwall"
September 2020

Upper School Orchestras: "Neesun Dorma"
Spring 2020

Summit Singers: "Like A Girl"
October 2020

Academy Chorale: "When the Party's Over"
October 2020