Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts Honors Local High School Teachers Through Grants Program for Excellence in Performing Arts Education | Wolf Trap
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Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts Honors Local High School Teachers Through Grants Program for Excellence in Performing Arts Education

Annual Wolf Trap Grants for High School Performing Arts Teachers support creative new arts initiatives aimed at enriching curriculums and fostering a new generation of artists and art lovers

Vienna, Virginia (April 14, 2016) — Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts honors six outstanding high school performing arts teachers and their one-of-a-kind programs with grants as part of the organization’s annual Wolf Trap Grants for High School Performing Arts Teachers. Teachers from Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun counties in Virginia; Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland; and the District of Columbia received grants for innovative projects that enrich their school’s curriculums, culminating in final student performances. For additional information on the program, please visit http://www.wolftrap.org/education/programs/grants-for-performing-arts-teachers.aspx

Arts District Supervisors in each county nominate an exceptional performing arts teacher who will represent their school district as a Wolf Trap Grant Recipient for the school year. The annual grants recognize the instruction and performance achievements of public high school music, dance and theatre teachers. Awardees receive a grant of $3,500  to support special projects that parallel Wolf Trap’s performance and education priorities, including artist residencies, commissions, master classes, and technology in the arts.

Awardees for the 2015-2016 school year are:
Brian Fisher of Wakefield High School (Arlington County), Ed Monk of Chantilly High School (Fairfax County), Mary Gayle of Park View High School (Loudoun County), Benjamin C. Sands of Coolidge Senior High School (Washington, D.C.), Sean Kirchhoff of Paint Branch High School (Montgomery County), and Lawrence Farmer of Fairmont Heights High School (Prince George’s County).

“On behalf of the Wolf Trap team, congratulations to all the exceptional grantees,” said
Akua Kouyate-Tate, Senior Director of Education at Wolf Trap. “For 20 years, Wolf Trap grants have allowed educators to create innovative arts projects that allow students to gain a profound sense of excitement for arts exploration and discovery – and this year’s grantees programs continue this tradition. We are so proud of this program and of all the grantees.”

ARLINGTON COUNTY: Brian Fisher, Wakefield High School

Brian Fisher is using his Wolf Trap grant to bring renowned composer Anthony O’Toole to commission a new piece of music for the Wakefield High School Band Ensemble. Classroom instruction will focus on performance technique and compositional devices that will lead to an exciting performance. The students will perform O’Toole’s composition at the school’s spring concert in May 2016.

FAIRFAX COUNTY:  Ed Monk, Chantilly High School

Ed Monk used his Wolf Trap grant to produce an in-school performance of Jack and Jill and the Beanstalk for 3rd and 4th graders from Intensive Schools. Guest Artist Puppeteer Matt McGee taught students in the Technical Theatre and Theatre Arts classes how to build a professional children’s theatre production. In February 2016, the Chantilly High School Drama Department hosted invited schools at the Chantilly High School theatre.

LOUDOUN COUNTY: Mary Gayle, Park View High School

Mary Gayle used her Wolf Trap grant to create a production of the bilingual play, ¡BOCÓN!. Students participated in a series of master classes on lighting, sound, set design, costumes, and prop construction. Choreographer Cathy Caminero, a prominent local dance instructor originally from Venezuela, worked with student dancers to guide the choreography of this large production. The students performed ¡BOCÓN! February 11-13, 2016 at Park View High School.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Benjamin C. Sands, Coolidge Senior High School

Benjamin Sands is using his grant to introduce his students to the magic of theatre by giving them the chance to put on an original school musical—a feat that hasn’t occurred at their school in more than 10 years! He has secured three artists-in-residence to lead master classes on playwriting, acting, and musicianship. The original contemporary musical, Just Like You, will showcase the talents of students with various backgrounds, including English Language Learners and Special Education students. Just Like You will premiere on May 20, 2016 at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Sean Kirchhoff, Paint Branch High School

Sean Kirchhoff is using his Wolf Trap grant to support master classes led by professional composer Brian Balmages. Kirchhoff’s students will learn advanced performance techniques, as well as the creative process of writing a piece of music. Students will perform one of Balmage’s compositions at the school’s spring concert in May 2016 at Paint Branch High School.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY: Lawrence Farmer, Fairmont Heights High School

Lawrence Farmer is using his Wolf Trap grant to bring famed jazz musician Eddie Baccus Jr. and gospel recording artist Ronnette Harrison to lead master classes on technique, tone quality, and performance. Funds from the grant will also help purchase additional instruments and new music, to improve the school’s music library and accommodate increased enrollment. In April 2016, at the annual Fairmont Heights High School cluster concert, students from feeder schools will perform alongside the students from Fairmont Heights High School.


Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.


Media Information

(Please do not publish contact information)

Emily Smalling, Coordinator, Public Relations
703.255.4096 or emilys@wolftrap.org

Michelle Pendoley, Director, Public Relations
703.255.1917 or michellep@wolftrap.org