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A Place To Create

Learning rhythm on African drums, creating dynamic characters, visually expressing the way one sees and thinks – experiencing art is personal – and we teach this by asking students to observe the world around them. They are supported and encouraged as they face new techniques and mediums.

At Potomac, in all grade levels, we think of the arts as expressive pathways, both inward to the mind and heart of the individual and outward to the wider world. While emphasizing the acquisition of skills and aesthetic judgment, we respect the instincts, intuitions, and ideas our students bring to their experience in the classroom, stage, and studio each day.

student sits at pottery wheeel


Sometimes all it takes to be artistically inspired is a melody, a feeling, good lighting, or a story. In Potomac's Arts program, we look for ways to explore the world around us, not only for inspiration, but for appreciation of how different perspectives, techniques, and tools from around the world contribute to unique expressions of creativity and self.

Enriching Curriculum

The arts are a central component of learning here at Potomac. Our qualified and experienced faculty provide a space for all to shine – in their own ways. We broaden their educational environment with visiting artists, field trips, independent exploration, competitions, exhibits, and more.

Music Program

Performing Arts

Visual Arts

Stories from The Arts

US Concert

The Upper School Spring Concert was an entertaining evening of music that featured more than 100 performers and six ensembles. The audience enjoyed a moving choral setting of the poem Where Your Bare Foot Walks, the motet O magnum mysterium by Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria, and others.

The Concert Handbell ensemble shared multiple rhythmic pieces entitled Friend of Mine, Bound for South Australia, and the Bruno Mars hit Grenade. The Honors Handbell Ensemble closed out the first half with Rondo Borincano, Fancye, and Britney Spears’ critically acclaimed Toxic.

The String Orchestra performed a piece by Mozart, followed by John Williams’ Theme from Schindler’s List. Faculty member Mr. Nicholas Tkach once again had one of his original compositions on the program, this one entitled Dramatic Overture from his opera Antigone. The string orchestra finished with the classic 12-bar blues Green Onions featuring many soloists.

Fresh off their NYC tour, Concert Band first performed After Pandora, a piece of contrasting themes before closing their portion of the performance with the title theme from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods. Jazz Band’s first piece was the Grammy-award winning song No Time to Die before bringing the house down with the jazz standard Take Five, written by Paul Desmond for the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Photos from the evening can be found here.

Making Music at the WISH Festival

This past Monday, Potomac participated in the Washington Independent Schools Handbell Festival at Landon. Along with their handbell ensembles, the event included joint practice sessions, dinner, and concluded with a concert featuring Intermediate and Upper School ringers. Standout pieces included the IS performance of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” the US Concert Handbell Ensemble’s performance of “Grenade” by Bruno Marks, and the Honors Handbell Ensemble’s performance of Britney Spears’ classic “Toxic.” Bravi to all the students! 

Students seal ceramics over a raku fire

On Friday, US Art faculty and students conducted an outdoor "raku" firing of original ceramic work. Ceramics teacher Ms. Enck prepared her students by providing raku clay and glazes, and by explaining the benefits and uncertainties of this Japanese-inspired reduction-firing technique. Students then created and glazed wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery and sculptures in preparation for the firing day.

Teams of ceramics students used tongs to remove their red-hot ceramic pieces from the outdoor kilns, put them in the reduction containers (steel buckets filled with flammable wood chips.) After cooling and quenching the pieces, the students were amazed to see their pieces transformed.  

In the raku method, both clay and glazes darken with carbon, and copper-based glazes develop beautiful, unpredictable color patterns. This year, our raku firing was managed by Ray Bogle, an expert potter from the local workshop District Clay. Ray kept everybody safe and well-occupied and helped explain exactly what was happening in each step of the firing. 

Students pose for a group photo outside of a building

Last weekend, the Upper School Concert and Jazz Bands took part in the Heritage Music Festival at Riverside Church in New York City. The festival was an adjudicated event featuring music programs from around the country, and the Potomac bands left their mark with outstanding performances.

The concert band received an overall gold rating and first place in their division, while the jazz band earned an overall gold rating, finished first in their division, and received the festival Adjudicator Award for an overall judged average of superior. In addition, Lauren Hilliard ’25 received the Maestro Award for outstanding jazz soloist of the festival for her improv solos on “Backatown” and “Take Five.”

The bands also displayed their professionalism and respect towards other ensembles, earning the Potomac School bands the coveted Spirit Award. This award is given to one program that carries themselves with professional decorum and shows respect towards other ensembles.

Beyond the festival, the students enjoyed a range of enriching experiences, including a dinner cruise around the city, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a matinee of Hadestown. The trip was a resounding success, congratulations to Mr. DiCuirci, Mr. Heidtmann, and all the band members for their outstanding performances! 

A Musical Joint Affair

Congratulations to the Intermediate and Upper School choruses and bands for last Thursday's joint concert! The IS singers sang Pastime with Good Company, Confitemini Domino, You’ll Be Back, Babethandaza, and Defying Gravity. The combined choruses concluded the evening with Seasons of Love from Rent. The audience also heard selections by our IS/US percussion ensembles and IS/US concert bands. The IS Band performed a rousing version of Steven Reineke’s Fate of the Gods, a programmatic work based on dark tales of Norse mythology. Congratulations to all our student performers on a superior display of musicianship! View the gallery of photos.

Intermediate School Students at All-District Band

Last month, 12 Intermediate School band students auditioned for the VBODA District 12 Honor Band, competing against 300 of the top middle school band students across Fairfax County. Five Potomac eighth graders were selected to be in the junior band: Luka Beslic, Sam Kim, Brandon Mayrhofer, Josh Reinecke, and William Shanmugam. The All-District Band event was held this past weekend. The students rehearsed for three days under the direction of renowned composer/conductor Brian Balmages, then performed a concert at Oakton High School. Congratulations to our band students!

Upper School Students Attend Virginia Thespian Festival 2023

Upper School theatre students welcomed IS students from the Theatre Arts Bridge Program for a weekend of workshops at the Virginia Thespian Festival in Richmond over MLK Weekend. Workshop topics included costume design, musical comedy, dance, and virtual reality in theater. Our students were even invited back to perform their fall play, Dearly Departed, next year! 

Three US Students Accepted to Honor Orchestras

Congratulations to Charlotte Gabriel ’25, Miqy Khapra ’26, and Sasha Leifer ’26 for being three of the five Potomac students accepted to the 2023 VBODA District 12 Junior and Senior Honor Orchestras after highly competitive auditions in November. The other two students are from the IS. The orchestras, each made up of 80 of the best student string players in northern Virginia, will be led by Foster Beyers, director of orchestras at JMU, and Todd Parrish, a well-known string educator and composer. Each group will rehearse extensively before sharing the results of their hard work in a concert for friends, teachers, and families at 3:00 pm on Saturday, January 14, at Langley High School. All music enthusiasts are invited to attend!

Arts at Potomac


The Visual and Performing Arts Concentration program (VPAC) is offered for Upper School students who wish to undertake a deep and rigorous study in the arts. To be admitted to the program, students must be able to demonstrate a special passion for and sustained commitment to their own artistic development. Concentrations are offered in music, theater, and visual arts.