Gallery Opening: “Two Perspectives”

Two Perspectives in the art galleryVisit campus to walk through “Two Perspectives,” a beautiful and expressive tandem photo exhibition by MPA Upper School students Alex Esch and Siri Vorvick! The display opened November 6 in the Gallery. Both students are working toward their Certificates of Distinction and describe their art as purposeful, exploratory, and adventurous.

“When I’m with my camera, I feel purpose,” Alex said in her personal statement, also on display in the entrance of the exhibit. “There’s power in being able to capture a moment that vanishes almost instantaneously. I’m truly fascinated by ability I have to forever encapsulate such a small period of time.”

Alex says that the inspiration for her artistic vision comes from the human condition, identifying herself as a portrait photographer. She aims to add dimensions to portraits, capturing ideas and emotions. She also likes to show humans as figures rather than individual people, to focus on the broader nature of humankind.

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“Peter Pan” Across Disciplines

students sewing together crocodile costumeThis isn’t your traditional Peter Pan! Twenty-seven Middle School actors and more than 20 students working backstage have been dedicating their time in and outside of school to concentrate on even the smallest details of costume design, set construction, and more. The sold-out production is bringing the community together in creative, challenging, and hands-on ways.

Weeks ago, before anyone knew all the words to “Neverland,” Upper School students started working with Middle School students on costumes for the cast. The kind of imagination possible through this mentorship shows the strengths of our PreK-12 community.

“Our costume crew grew from five to nine people in basically a day, and a few of them are younger siblings of my friends, so it’s cool to get to know them better,” said sophomore Solie Svennevig-Brosi. “I’m excited to make an awesome show with them!”

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Student Artwork Chosen For Juried Exhibition

The Mounds Park Academy Visual Art Department is pleased to share the students selected to be included in the annual invitational juried exhibition at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Fairbault October 26-November 13. Each school invited may enter ten works of art. Of the ten MPA entered, nine pieces were juried in and two received awards.

Alex Esch, senior, received a first place award for her photo, titled, “Small Girl in the Big City” and Siri Vorvick, junior, received an honorable mention for “Piano”. See both below along with all of the other artwork selected for this show. Congratulations!

Click on the image for a full-size view. 

Spring Musical Auditions

Young girl performingStudents in grades 1-12 are invited to audition! Join the “Sound of Music Auditions” Schoology Group with the code HSNP2-8ZW5X for all of the details including times available and practice materials. If you have any questions, email Ann Frances Gregg, drama faculty, at

We Sing. We Dance. We Laugh.

Lower School music classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

When I first heard that Lower School Music Teacher Mari Espeland was introducing her second graders to musician Lionel Hampton and to jazz, I had to see for myself. I thought I was going to simply observe a class, but I was drawn in as a participant, singing, dancing, and learning alongside the students. As a master teacher, Ms. Espeland wove together the basic musical foundation of rhythm and beat in jazz with a history lesson of race in America through the life of Lionel Hampton. I don’t know about the music education you received at this age, but I know this wasn’t part of mine.

I am continually amazed by the incredible music program we have at MPA. Students benefit from early and sustained music education that not only fosters a life-long appreciation for music, but engages students in making music, aesthetic appreciation, and creating beauty. Education in general, and most self-contained gifted and talented programs in particular, sacrifice time for the arts in favor of time for a narrow STEM-related curricula. I think that is a mistake and counter to good pedagogy. It also runs counter to the MPA mission.

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The Rich Legacy Of Islamic Arts

Islamic art The long and rich legacy of the arts in Islamic cultures often falls to the wayside in our study of history. But masterpieces abound and are well worth examination. In this “Great Gatherings” two-part series led by arts and culture professional and MPA parent Barb Horlbeck, we will look at the artistic history of Islam and the masterpieces created by Islamic cultures from Andalusia, the Iberian peninsula where the Muslims reigned for nearly 800 years, to the rich decorative designs, book illustrations, textiles and calligraphy of the Ottoman world, to icons such as the Taj Mahal and the magical gardens of the Mughal Empire, to the great Abbasid city of Baghdad, home of the remarkable “House of Wisdom” where scholars gathered from all over the world. We will conclude with a brief examination of 19th century ‘Orientalist’ paintings as we examine the power of these works that were created of the east by the west and the influence they had in laying the foundation for misperceptions of the Islamic world that hold forth even to today.

DATE: September 7 and 21, 2017
WHERE: Porter Conference Room
Hosted by Barb Horlbeck
Kindly RSVP to Susan Robertson, Development Manger, via email.

Favorite Orchestra Moments

Orchestra PerformanceMs. Abbe, orchestra director, asked her students from the Class of 2017: What’s your favorite orchestra memory? They are both heartwarming and funny, so we wanted to share …

“My favorite MPA orchestra moment would be right after we got our instruments in 5th grade. Grace, Izzy, Hannah, and I would sit in a circle and play together, even though we had no idea what we were doing.” – Sofia Troullier

“My favorite orchestra moment was when Ms. Abbe asked us what ‘piu’ meant and Rachel said ‘smelly.'” – Gracie DeBoer

“My favorite orchestra moment was my first Pajamarama concert. Seeing all of the kids getting so enthusiastic about the music and dancing filled me with joy.” -Theo Janke-Furman

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Middle And Upper School Art Exhibition Opening Reception

You are invited to attend the Middle And Upper School Art Exhibition opening reception on Wednesday, May 17, 6–7 PM in the Gallery. Artists from all second semester Middle and Upper School Visual Arts courses will have work on display: Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Drawing, Ceramics, Painting, Photography, and Digital Mediums. Artist’s work will be on display in the Gallery and throughout the Middle School Commons through May 24.


Pippin Spring Musical Resounding Success

Congratulations to the cast, crew, orchestra members, and production staffers of Pippin who worked tirelessly to create this incredible, thought-provoking Spring Musical for our community! And a very special thanks to Ms. Gregg for her leadership!

Four Students Selected As All-State Choir Members

Congratulations to Gabby Law, Laura O’Neill, Sarah Ley, and Kelly Myers who auditioned and were selected to be members of the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s All-State Choir program in 2017–18! This is the first time that MPA has had four girls make All-State Choir in one year.
Laura will sing in the SATB choir under the direction of G. Phillip Shoultz III (Associate Conductor with Vocal Essence) while Gabby, Sarah, and Kelly will be part of the SSAA choir conducted by Bret Amundson (College of St. Scholastica). Held at St. John’s University, the All-State Choir camp runs for five day culminating with a performance in the Abbey. In February 2018, the All-State Choirs reunite and sing at Orchestra Hall. Bravo to our MPA singers on this outstanding honor!