Bringing you HP Arts news and highlights!

HP Arts is a Non-Profit Organization Supporting HPISD Arts Education Since 1987

Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Top Row L to R:  Molly Pieroni, Steve Gruber, Stacey Cochran;  Row 2: Lizzie Bailey, Aimee Cali, Melissa Allan, Janese Deitch;  Row 3:  Kristen Pratt, Jodi Perdue, Carla Moss, Georgianna Moreland, Jennifer Murray; Row 4:  Dorota Baird, Ting Cai, Kelli Miller, Jill Dalton, Kathleen Whalen;  Not Pictured:  Carrie Ellen Adamian, Niki Hudson, Leslie Kibby, Mikee Smythe, Tammy Testa

Dear Friends of HP Arts,

The holiday season is upon us and we have much to be thankful for.  Our goal at HP Arts is to fund and encourage arts enrichment and education throughout all HPISD campuses, and because of your continued support of our mission we are in the midst of another exciting school year filled with experiences and opportunities for HPISD students they may not otherwise have.

Please enjoy the following HP Arts highlights, and we wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season!

HP Arts 

2017-2018 Funding for HP Arts - THANK YOU!

HP Arts is celebrating its 31st year of enriching the educational experience of all HPISD students.  Since its inception, HP Arts has distributed more than one million dollars to grant teacher requests from all HPISD campuses for arts programing, technology, equipment and instruments.  This would not be possible without the generous support of HPISD families, community members and La Fiesta de la Seis Banderas.  We at HP Arts are grateful for the continued support!

For a detailed list of our generous individual patrons, please click  HERE.

For more information or to support HP Arts, visit

La Fiesta Check Presentation to HP Arts

Nancy Monning, 2017 La Fiesta Co-Chair; Dana Manley, HP Arts Past President; Rebecca Gregory, 2017 La Fiesta Co-Chair, Kelli Miller, 2017-2018 HP Arts President

La Fiesta de la Seis Banderas presented HP Arts with a generous donation in the amount of $60,000, which will be used to fund HPISD arts programs, technology and a special project for new lighting in the MIS/HPMS Auditorium this 2017-2018 school year.  HP Arts appreciates La Fiesta's continued partnership and support as it begins its 31st year of service in HPISD.

Kid Art Donation to HP Arts

Tori Webb Pendergrass, Kid Art Owner

Molly Pieroni, 2017-2018 Board Member; Tori Webb Pendergrass, Kid Art Owner; Dana Manley, HP Arts Past President; Steve Gruber, 2017-2018 Board Member

We are excited to announce that Kid Art presented HP Arts with a $5,819 donation to help fund visual arts programs in HPISD.  HP Arts is grateful for Kid Art's generous sponsorship, designed last spring as a percentage of summer class and camp tuitions.

Stay tuned for announcements of specific programs supported by the gift from Kid Art in the coming months.  Find out more about Kid Art classes and workshops at  Thank you to Kid Art!

HP Arts Funding at Work
HPISD's New Harp

Daisy Murphy, HPMS 6th Grader

HPISD now has a harp, and a harpist!  The Lyon and Healy Troubadour Harp, jointly funded by HP Arts and the Highland Park High School PTA, debuted at the annual sixth through  twelfth  grade orchestra concert held each year at Northpark Mall much to the excitement of harpist Daisy Murphy.  In addition to learning how to play the harp,  Daisy  tunes the instrument  herself with the help of an electronic tuner.

"The harp has a very distinctive sound that is not found in any other instrument in the orchestra.  They can last forever.", said MIS/HPMS Orchestra Director Louise Rossi Sklar.  Purchased to be a shared instrument by MIS/HPMS and Highland Park High School, the Troubadour Harp is the perfect instrument for both beginning and experienced harpists with five complete octaves.  HPISD is one of only three districts in the area to own a harp.

Did you know?
  • The Harp is one of the oldest instruments in the world, dating back to around 3500 BC.
  • Modern Harpists play using only the first four fingers on each hand, plucking the strings near the middle of the harp using the pads of their fingers.

Boom Bap!

HP Arts funded Nick Werth, an American percussionist and composer based in Portland (Oregon), to write an original composition for the Highlander Band Percussion Ensemble to perform at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) November 11 in Indianapolis.  The composition, titled  Boom Bap , was debuted October 30 at a HPHS concert, and Mr. Werth surprised the students by arriving to perform another piece with them.

PASIC is the largest drum and percussion event in the world, and the Ensemble was one of only three high school ensembles selected to perform at the convention in an International Percussion Ensemble Competition (IPEC) High School Winter Showcase Concert.  The honor was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students and reflects the Highlander Band's growing reputation.

Congratulations to all!

Pictured Above Left (L to R):
Front Row:  Tyler Sharpe, Reed Smoot, Madison Triplett, Pauline Napier, Lydia Szuwalski, Logan Easterbrook, Sophie Robertson
Middle Row:  Director - James LaBrecque, Taylor Loewe, Daniel Wilkes, Mason Greer, Matthew Schultz, Nicholas Chang, Grant Savage, Gracie Condon
Back Row:  Mitchell Jackson, Maddox Linder, Cal Leopard, Michael Cochran, Zack Shawver, Peter Zielke, Kristina Richter, Assistant Director - Zach Sherburne

Pictured Above Right:
James La Brecque, Director of HPISD Percussion and Nick Werth after the October 30 concert at HPHS.

Combat Workshop

Maisie Jackman and Katie Krasovec

Jeff Colangelo, Instructor

Jace Tucker and Davis Tucker

"But guys, don't really stab your partner!", exclaimed instructor Jeff Colangelo of Prism Movement Theater during his stage combat workshop in the HPHS Advanced Theater Class.  Students in four HPHS theater classes were part of a three-day combat workshop funded by HP Arts.  

Mr. Colangelo taught three levels of stage combat. The beginning theater class had unarmed lessons where they were taught to punch, hair pull, dodge, block and choke. They reviewed these techniques along with choreography for a tactile learning experience.  Intermediate theater classes built upon the core techniques with more emphasis on building choreography, and the advanced class went even further with additional instruction on sword fighting using dowl rods.  Sword fighting instruction included footwork, blocks, attacks and how to blend it all together to create a believable piece of choreography.  Many of these stage combat techniques were incorporated into the November  production of Hamlet.

Dance at HPHS


Nick Johnson


Highland Park High School Dance I and II classes danced around the world in only three days.  Students were taught culturally relevant steps in various styles of dance including Bollywood, Flamenco and African Dance and Drumming.  The classes funded by HP Arts correlate directly to the cultural dance curriculum and are an annual favorite among students.

HP Arts puts "Take A Seat" Funding to Work


funded by
HP Arts "Take A Seat"

The HPHS Auditorium sound just got better!  On October 3rd, two new digital sound processors were installed to vastly improve the sound in the auditorium at Highland Park High School.  The new sound equipment was funded by the HP Arts "Take A Seat" Fund.  Mr. Ben Stevens, HPHS Theater Teacher and Auditorium Manager explains that a DSP (digital sound processor) is used to take analog signals and process them in to digital data, allowing them to then be manipulated.

Mr. Stevens, HPHS Theater Instructor and Auditorium Manager

Because one of the processors was completely non-functioning and the other was out of date, several of the sound outputs (speakers) did not work at all and the rest put out sub-optimal sound.  The new DSPs allow all speakers to work and give the user the power to balance the sound digitally for a more pleasing effect.

The DSPs are the two silver boxes at the top of the sound container.

If you had the opportunity to see Hamlet at HPHS in November, you were among the first to enjoy this upgrade in both the music and sound effects!

Ryan Douglass, JP Berry and Maisie Jackman

A sincere congratulations to Mr. Stevens, who was awarded the "Above and Beyond Director" award for his contribution to the State Thespian Festival held at the Gaylord Convention Center November 15-18!

Thank You Letters

We love to hear from HPISD students, and these notes from a class of elementary students are much appreciated.  They loved last year's visit with author David Adler. HP Arts looks forward to bringing authors and performances to each of the elementary campuses again this year!


Special Ways to Donate to HP Arts

"Take A Seat" at HPHS!

Your $500 donation will honor your child, family member, a favorite teacher or HPISD organization in the HPHS Palmer Auditorium!  The elegantly engraved brass plaque is prominently displayed on the arm of the auditorium chair.  Funds raised are used for ongoing improvements in the auditorium areas.  

If you would like to support HP Arts through the Take A Seat program, please contact Leslie Kibby at

Play It Again, Sam!

The HP Arts Program, "Play It Again, Sam!" is designed to recycle instruments from the community back into the school music programs.  The instruments are considered a donation to HP Arts and are eligible for a tax-deductible contribution.

If you would like to donate an instrument, please contact Steve Gruber at

Arts Fun Fact

Arts Fun Fact
Provided by HP Arts Board Member, Jodi Perdue

Excerpt taken from:

The Atlantic:  "The Science behind Mona Lisa's Smile - How Leonardo Da Vinci engineered the world's most famous painting"

By Walter Isaacson, October 6, 2017

A fascinating piece of science concerning the  Mona Lisa's smile comes from Leonardo Da Vinci's research on optics: He realized that light rays do not come to a single point in the eye, but instead hit the whole area of the retina.  The central area of the retina, known as the fovea, has closely packed cones and is best at seeing small details; the area surrounding the fovea is best a picking up shadows and shading of black and white.  When we look at an object straight on, it appears sharper.  When we look at it peripherally, glimpsing it with the corner of our eye, it is a bit blurrier, as if it were farther away.

With this knowledge, Leonardo was able to create an interactive smile, one that is elusive if we are too intent on seeing it.  The fine lines at the corners of Lisa's mouth show a small downturn.  If you stare directly at the mouth, the retina catches these tiny details and delineations, making her appear not to be smiling.  But if you move your gaze slightly away, to look at her eyes or cheeks or some other part of the painting, you will catch sight of her mouth only peripherally.  It will be a bit blurrier. The tiny delineations at the corners of the mouth become indistinct, but you will still see the shadows at her mouth's edge.  These shadows and the soft sfumato at the edge of her mouth make her lips seem to turn upward into a subtle smile.  The result is a smile that twinkles brighter the less you search for it.

Board News
HP Arts membership continues to grow each year helping to make arts programs funding possible in HPISD.  We are grateful for your support!  Board members Ting Cai, Membership, and Molly Pieroni, Sponsorship and Past Membership, have been diligently working together to prepare membership contribution letters which will be mailed before year end.  Thank you for your support and generosity!

Ting Cai, Membership

Molly Pieroni, Sponsorship and Past Membership

Board of Directors

HP Arts Board of Directors

Executive Committee
President                                     Kelli Miller
Vice President                             Jill Dalton*
Secretary                               Tammy Testa*
Treasurer                            Jennifer Murray
Programs Chair                         Carla Moss

Programs Committee
Programs Chair                        Carla Moss
Armstrong Elementary               Aimee Cali
Bradfield Elementary              Lizzie Bailey
Hyer Elementary                  Melissa Allan*
UP Elementary                       Kristen Pratt*
MIS/HPMS              Georgianna Moreland*
HPHS                               Kathleen Whalen

Publicity Committee
Publicity                              Mikee Smythe*
Artisan                                     Niki Hudson
Instagram                Georgianna Moreland*
Facebook                               Dorota Baird*
Website                                       Kelli Miller

Arrangements                   Stacey Cochran
Membership                                 Ting Cai*
Play It Again, Sam!               Steve Gruber
Special Events          Carrie Ellen Adamian
                                                Jodi Perdue
Sponsorships                          Molly Pieroni
Student Art Coord.                Janese Deitch
                                          Robyn Galerston
Take A Seat                             Leslie Kibby

*New Board Member
HP Arts | |

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