Fine Arts at Grace Christian is a rapidly growing aspect of student life in the upper school. With the rapidly expanding student population, our need to also expand fine arts opportunities has also been addressed in several areas. Our students are exposed to numerous opportunities in several courses, such as Choir, Art, Advanced Art, AP Studio Art, Band, Speech, and Drama. From each course springs a wide variety of opportunities for students to expand and explore their talents for the Lord in new ways.
Our award-winning upper school choir has traveled all over the country, performing and competing most recently in Chicago, Orlando, and New York. A group will travel this spring to perform in the world-famous Carnegie Hall, and the choir will travel to Chicago for a trip of ministry and competition. Under the direction of Melissa Porier, the choir has grown from a small ensemble of twelve to a sixty-eight voice choir that sings with passion and conviction wherever God opens a door for ministry.
The Grace Christian Academy choir works on a variety of music, from classical to contemporary, from Broadway to the blues, all the time being stretched as individuals to test their limits vocally and in personal growth. Ministry opportunities are also incorporated into the choir's year, with visits to schools and churches to perform and to serve needs of the community. The choir also stages two major concerts in the fall, a dinner Christmas concert, and a spring concert that play to packed houses.
The Art Department at Grace is also expanding in more ways than one. In the fall of 2011, a new and expansive art studio opened to the students. This new space provides students with more room for art displays and for larger scaled projects, and it offers more students the opportunity to take art classes. Students from Grace have competed with great success in local, regional and state art competitions, and more recently have won first place awards in the Blue Sparks state wide photography contest, Tennessee Right to Life Art competition and Best Mixed Media in the East Tennessee Regional Art Competition.
The Art Department also has an impressive spring event entitled "Night of the Arts", where visitors can experience the varied art genres and styles that students have created. The special evening also features performances from choir members, the worship arts band, and special dramatic presentations.
The newest member of our Fine Arts Department has been the welcome addition of Drama, with Speech and Performing Arts as a component. Under the stellar direction of Mrs. Tonya Wilson, who brings 25 years of experience in television, stage and speech experience, students have been active in several venues. Several students have been involved in speech competitions, most recently the Voice of Democracy Contest, where a GCA student has qualified as a winner in both local, district and regional competitions.
Students are also involved in performing small productions, from 2011's successful Ransom of Red Chief, a production performed in February 2012, The Phantom of the Old Opera House, and the C.S. Lewis' classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in February, 2013. Students have an opportunity to take classes at GCA in Drama, Speech, and Musical Theatre, as well as have Winterim opportunities containing those same elements.
Field trips have been made for our students to help in the construction of the Knoxville Nativity Pageant, and they have traveled to Chattanooga to witness the state forensic speech competition.
Advanced Band provides an elective opportunity for students with 3 or more years of experience on a band instrument. Students will learn a variety of musical styles designed to equip them to perform in a variety of formats. As a Pep Band the students perform at Upper School football and basketball games once a week during each season. As a Jazz Band and Concert Band, students perform at nursing homes, chapel services, amusement parks, as well as Winter and Spring concerts. Additional opportunities with the East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association are available as a member of the Advanced Band.