Honoring Artistic Achievements: Hopkins Students Chosen for the Regional Music Festival and Scholastic Arts Program

43 Hopkins students were recently accepted into the Regional Music Festival, while 16 students earned a spot in the Scholastic Art Program. This included fourteen high school orchestra students who made it into the Regional Orchestra, the highest number of students accepted into the ensemble of any school in the southern region of CT. 

Director of Instrumental Music, Robert Smith, was thrilled with this news but said he was “not surprised.” "I was delighted for the School. I was blown away by it, but on the other hand, this is what we're doing," Smith exclaimed. "This is what I think it means to be a student at Hopkins – to try to achieve at these highest levels."

The Regional Festival, affiliated with the Connecticut Music Educators' Association, strives to improve music education for all children. The rigorous audition process, assessed by a panel of music teachers, demands proficiency in scales, arpeggios, a challenging solo piece, and sight-reading. 

"The fact that our students not only are doing this and auditioning, but so many are making it shows that our music program has been built up over the years and really exudes strength," Smith said.

The Scholastic Arts program consists of a jury of art teachers evaluating and choosing student artwork based on its merit.

Hopkins visual arts teacher Jackie LaBelle-Young describes the art submission process for the Scholastic Arts program as "quite laborious." The competition involves multiple rounds, starting with applicants submitting digital copies of their artwork. To ensure authenticity and originality, the program then requests the physical pieces from selected contestants. Following this, the jury selects pieces that "elicit a response and demonstrate skill," as explained by LaBelle-Young. The chosen works, which are awarded either Gold keys, Silver keys, or Honorable Mention Awards, are showcased at a statewide art exhibition hosted at the University of Hartford. Hopkins students submitted a diverse range of art mediums, including fashion design, painting, sculpture, and photography.

LaBelle-Young takes pride in seeing the success of her students.

"Our kids are so hardworking, and really deserve to be recognized for that. I’m proud of all of my colleagues, because we've really pulled it together to be more cohesive as a department."

Smith echoed this sentiment, saying, “It’s a sense of pride for everyone here because a strong program in the arts would also indicate a strong program elsewhere in the School. I’m happy to share that with everyone here. I don’t think it’s just an accolade for the arts. I think it’s a ribbon for the whole school.”

This is not the end of competitions for these Hopkins’ musicians and artists, though. The musicians who made the High School Regional Festival will audition in February for the All-state Festival, which will subsequently earn them a spot to audition for nationals. For the artists who earned the gold medal in the Scholastics Art awards, their pieces will then be sent on for national adjudication.

“In the past, we've had national awards from the school,” said Smith. “We'll keep our fingers crossed and send good vibes and energy to all those kids who are going on to those next steps.”
    • Voted #1
      Best Day School
      in CT, 2024

Hopkins is a private middle school and high school for grades 7-12. Located on a campus overlooking New Haven, CT, the School takes pride in its intellectually curious students as well as its dedicated faculty and staff.