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There's No Place Like Home

By Joel Maki, Lower School Music Teacher, Music Department Chair

The music department has finally settled into its new home now that construction is complete. Since earlier this year, the music classrooms and theater have held classes, hosted Thanksgiving and Holiday concerts, and most recently, housed the Eighth Grade Musical. 

Over the past four years, the students have performed in less-than-ideal performance settings. These venues included Zoom, blacktops, parking lots, and the quad. Despite these unique conditions, the students demonstrated professionalism and poise and performed with aplomb. Whether in their homerooms, an open middle school classroom, a collaboration space, or a shared lower school Spanish classroom (known as “Sp-usic”), the students came to music class ready and eager to learn, regardless of the classroom location. 

Now that we have settled into our new facilities, the music department has finally found its place. The importance of place in a music department benefits students and audiences alike. Dedicated learning and performance spaces give students a sense of belonging and pride. Middle school music teacher Ms. Manion Leon says she will “never forget seeing the students walk into the stage area for the first time. A huge wave of pride and awe washed over them as it sunk in that they were preparing for a performance that would take place in that very space. The moment instantly felt so important and so special.” For audiences, performance spaces that showcase students’ work in the best way possible create memorable experiences. For students, being confident and proud of their performances fosters lasting impressions of the performing arts, hopefully propelling them to be lifelong patrons of the arts.  

The Music Classrooms
The music classrooms were designed with the needs of the program in mind. With ample storage space in custom cabinetry, our instruments, sheet music, and learning tools are carefully stored and organized. The lower and middle school rooms have both an acoustic and digital piano. Lower school students sit on flip forms, which mimic choral risers and the music carpet. This large space provides students the ability to move expressively to music, as well as allowing for space for Orff instrument and Ukulele playing. Middle school students sit in a more traditional arc that mirrors typical ensemble seating charts in choirs, giving them a glimpse of how High School ensembles operate. Acoustic panels line the walls in both rooms, helping to mitigate background noise and reduce reverberation and echo. Acoustic ceiling panels also help to create a warm and balanced sound. Dividing both rooms is a soundproof metal door, which helps to keep simultaneous classes from hearing each other. It has proven extremely effective during rehearsals for concerts and classroom activities (and a vigorous arm workout while opening). The sound system in the music rooms is state-of-the-art, allowing music to be experienced in a truly immersive way. 

The Theater

The new theater brings our performances to the next level. The control booth features professional lighting, sound boards, and a multi-camera operation center. The vast lighting system allows the students and scenery to truly shine on stage. The audio capabilities enhance the students’ voices, ensuring no student goes unheard. The camera operation center guarantees that all students can be seen. The theater can become a multipurpose room with adjustable seating configurations, providing endless possibilities for performances, events, and more. Beyond its technical specifications, the theater creates an environment where students feel elevated to truly express themselves.

The students have demonstrated over the past four years that, regardless of place, they not only rise to the expectations of the music department but exceed it. As a department, we are extremely fortunate to work in a school that has such dedication to the performing arts. Moreover, we are even more fortunate to be a part of our students' musical journeys. We are proud and humbled to foster our students’ creativity in these new spaces. From the early songs of kindergarten to the culminating Eighth grade musical, we look forward to the many memories we will create in these new musical spaces.  

Harbor Day School

3443 Pacific View Drive
Corona del Mar, CA 92625 Phone<title><script type="mce-text/javascript"> (function(a,e,c,f,g,h,b,d){var k={ak:"984895077",cl:"EfBCCP-Fv3UQ5ZzR1QM"};a[c]=a[c]||function(){(a[c].q=a[c].q||[]).push(arguments)};a[g]||(a[g]=k.ak);b=e.createElement(h);b.async=1;b.src="//www.gstatic.com/wcm/loader.js";d=e.getElementsByTagName(h)[0];d.parentNode.insertBefore(b,d);a[f]=function(b,d,e){a[c](2,b,k,d,null,new Date,e)};a[f]()})(window,document,"_googWcmImpl","_googWcmGet","_googWcmAk","script"); </script><head><body>1-949-640-1410<html></html></body></head><br><br><br>
Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.