Fine Arts

Shelby Davis

Seven Hills Upper Cast Earns Two Cappies!

Two members of the cast of Treasure Island—graduating senior Shelby Davis and junior Seth Friedman—recently won Cappies for Featured Actress and Creativity in Directing categories, respectively. Upper theater teacher Stephanie Park said she is overjoyed with the work of the Upper Cast, and thrilled about Seven Hills’ Cappies wins, which recognize the best high school theater. “Congratulations to Shelby Davis and Seth Friedman,” said Park. “They both worked extremely hard and wowed me with their results. I am so happy their work was recognized by the Cappies.” The Cappies is a nationally affiliated, student-directed competition similar to the Tony Awards. Seven Hills became a member of the Cappies of Greater Cincinnati chapter in 2015. According to one Cappies critic, “Entering with the most memorable moment of the show, Blind Pew, played by Shelby Davis, did a great job committing to her eerie character. Her creepy contacts added to her overall performance, making her minor role stick out in the cast of many characters … ” Of Seth Friedman, Cappies critics shared, “The student director, Seth Friedman, did an excellent job staging the first scene and successfully orchestrated engaging fight scenes.” Congratulations to the Upper Cast, technical theater director Trey Tatum, and Upper theater teacher Stephanie Park! Check out more reviews excerpts here.

Seth Friedman


Third-grade Musicians Hone in on Instrumental Interests

Our third- and fourth-graders had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a number of instruments in early June. Because Seven Hills recently launched a formal instrumental group of fourth- and fifth-graders on the Hillsdale Campus, giving the students an opportunity beforehand to learn more about each instrument is very helpful for the young musicians. Led by Middle and Upper instrumental teacher John Rising and Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson, the students were able to take a look at, and even test drive, strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments in the Donovan Arts Center. Students became more familiar with several new instruments and learned more about the wide range of percussion instruments. Many thanks to the visitors from Buddy Rogers Music, Baroque Violin Shop, as well as to Rising and Wilson, for making the opportunity possible.


Third- and Fourth-grade Recital

Third- and fourth-grade choirs, directed by music teacher Robin Wilson, performed in Founders Hall in late May. The third-graders sang a number of songs, including The World is Ours, Mayim Mayim from Israel, and Funiculi Funicula from Italy, among other tunes. Fourth-graders took the stage as well, singing America the Beautiful using sign language, The Boatman, and Triply Play. The students sang the crowd favorite, Fifty Nifty United States, a song in which the students hoisted pictures of each state of the 50 states in rhythm with their song. The concert with a variety of songs focused on the theme, Our Musical Planet.


Junior to be Featured in YAPP

Junior Natalie Choo will be featured in mid-June The Young Artist’s Preparatory Program (YAPP), Cincinnati’s premier opera apprentice program for high school students taught through the Musical Arts Center. YAPP’s 21 singers, representing 11 high schools from across the tri-state, have been working for nine months to prepare for the annual showcase performance. The showcase features scenes from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and the Magic Flute, as well as Sullivan’s Mikado Die Fledermaus by Strauss, Va Pensiero by Verdi, and more. Choo auditioned in September, preparing two full-length classical pieces and a monologue. Students were selected for a variety of reasons, including musical skills and performing abilities.

Performances take place at the Anderson Center on:

-Friday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m.

-Saturday, June 17 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

-Sunday, June 18 at 2 p.m.

Contact the MAC Office at 513-321-2766 to purchase tickets, $10 advance purchase, $12 at the door.


From The Buzz, May 26, 2017

Upper School Art Show

A colorful plethora of student artwork was on display during the May 21 art show, held in the Donovan Arts Center gallery. The sculptures, paintings, photographs, and more were created by the many talented individuals in the Upper School’s second semester visual art class. Students shared their talents using a variety of artistic styles, ranging from photography, to sculpture, to video. Parents, faculty, and students viewed the show, presented by Upper School art teachers Jason Knarr and Daniel Vance.  Click here to see more photos.


Upper School Spring Chorus Concert

The Upper School choruses gave stunning performances during their concert in late May. Under the direction of Tina Kuhlman, chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department, with accompanist Lynne Miller, students gave beautiful performances of a diverse selection of songs. The show incorporated students in the instrumental ensemble. There were also several opportunities to share their talents with the audience during solos. The women’s chorus performed the Gaelic Mo Ghile Mear and French-Canadian Reel a’ Bouche to open the show. The men’s chorus sang Vive L’Amour. The choirs came together with stirring renditions of several songs, including Run, Mary, Run, a traditional spiritual, Jenny, and Let the River Run. The chamber ensemble closed the evening with In Virtue Tua, Seal Lullaby, and Take Me Home. Kuhlman honored graduating seniors with a touching and heartfelt tribute. The seniors each received a red rose and a slideshow of photos was played for the audience. Click here to see more photos.


Middle School Chorus Spring Concert

The Middle School choruses wowed the audience of family and friends with a mid-May performance. The choruses are directed by Tina Kuhlman, chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department, with accompanist Lynne Miller. The evening opened with the sixth-grade chorus performing a variety of songs from the past and present. They sang the traditional spiritual Get on Board in the Mornin’, Three Quotes by Mark Twain, and more. Eighth-graders took the stage next to sing Mohlang ke kgotlelang hae, a Sesotho folk song, and Home. Seventh-graders then performed the spiritual Walk Together, Children! and Cups. The eighth- and seventh-grade choirs then came together for a rousing medley of songs from the popular musical Grease! The audience enjoyed the great performance. Congratulations to Kuhlman, Miller, and our Middle School choruses! Click here to see more photos.


Middle School Instrumental Ensembles

The Middle School instrumental ensembles performed an afternoon of beautiful music in Founders Hall in late May. Upper and Middle instrumental music teacher John Rising leads the ensembles. Middle School physical education teacher Sue Bone joined the ensembles on clarinet. The young performers shared their skills with the gathered audience. Sixth-graders performed first, playing a diverse selection of songs, ranging from Medieval Dance to African Adventure. Seventh grade played a rich combination of old and new, starting their set with Processional and ending it with the earworm Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. Eighth-graders closed out the show with some modern tunes, including Africa by Toto and Footloose by Kenny Loggins, and ended on Mozart’s A Little Night Music. Rising thanked the performers, as well as the audience, as the show came to a close. Click here to see more photos.


Upper School Instrumental Ensembles

In late May, Founders Hall was filled with the sounds of music from the Upper School symphonic and contemporary ensembles. The groups are directed by Upper and Middle instrumental music teacher John Rising. Young instrumentalists from Lotspeich were invited to perform with their older peers before the show began. The fourth- and fifth-graders have been practicing all year as part of a new instrumental program. Following Lotspeich, the Upper School symphonic ensemble played a selection of songs, ranging from Suite from Symphonie Fantastique, Steve Wonder in Concert, and a medley of folk dances. The Upper School contemporary ensemble played next. Their set included Tutu, Steeple Chase, and ended the program with BuckJump. Click here to see more photos.


The Sassmannshaus Tradition

Twelve student violinists performed beautifully for family and friends in the Lotspeich Library during the Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills spring recital in early May. Each student played songs from a number of composers, including Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Suzuki, and Schumann. After several years of playing at the Sassmannshaus recitals, year after year, our graduating seniors, Leah Blatt and Scott Arnold, played intricate pieces, which included Blatt’s performance of Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Love Story by Lai, Sigman and DeGraff, performed by Blatt and Arnold. The student musicians played under the direction of teachers Aleksander Liszka, Michaela Luchka, and Lydia Woodin. The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills is part of the school’s afterschool enrichment offerings. Sassmannshaus musicians include:


Daniella Alper, Isabelle Anthony, Daniel Choi, Xavier Dejean, Richelle Dews, Maya Little, Rafael Schahin, Hannah Sprigg, and Madison Zortman

Middle School

Mark DeBlasio and Anna Wabler

Upper School

Scott Arnold, Leah Blatt, and Anika Parameswaran

Congratulations, musicians! Click here to view photos from the recital.


Treasure Island Cast and Crew Nominated for Cappies

In mid-November, the Upper School cast and crew of Treasure Island gave an amazing performance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of pirates and adventure. The swashbuckling production is now nominated for several Cappies, a student-directed competition similar to the Tony Awards. The awards ceremony will be held May 27.

 Nominees include:


Freshman Will Green, juniors George Long and Sophie Janidlo, and sophomore Hope Neyer


Creativity in Directing

Junior Seth Friedman


Featured Actress

Senior Shelby Davis, playing Blind Pew


Featured Actor

Junior George Long, playing Billy Bones


Comic Actress

Junior Maya Gleich, playing Ben Gunn


Comic Actor

Freshman Ryan Curnow, playing Israel Hands


Supporting Actress

Senior Emily McLennan, playing Long John Silver


Supporting Actor

Junior Kaleb Kemp, playing Squire Trelawney


Top Critique

Senior Samantha Eng


Ensemble in a Play – The Pirate Core

Seniors Calvin Arbenz, Joe Dizenhuz, Noelle O’Neal, and Jake Moses;

juniors Hope Neyer, Sarah Yu, Abby Smith, Lena Bauer, and Elyse Bullen; sophomores Belinda Wang, Alex Stevens, Miranda Qiao, and Corinne Smith; and freshmen Ryan Curnow, Maya Kool, Maddy Kennebeck, and May Chen


From The Buzz, May 11, 2017

13 Takes on a Fictional Middle School Experience

Middle school can be tough, especially when you’re the new kid in town. In the Middle School production of 13, staged in early May, protagonist Evan Goldman navigated the halls of a new school, made new friends, stood up to bullies, and learned many life lessons, all while planning his bar mitzvah. Middle School theater teacher Jacob Hauser said the students worked hard, especially the week before opening. “I am especially proud of the way the students pulled together the various elements of the musical into one phenomenal production,” he said. “As always, the students took ownership of the production with little to no adult involvement once the curtain went up.” The cast and crew did an outstanding job, staging a funny musical that puts a fictionalized version of middle school under a microscope. The show deftly explored coming-of-age social issues such as gossiping, trust, peer pressure, and more with music and wit. “The energy coming from the young performers was tremendous,” Hauser said. “Playing roles intended for actors their ages and dealing with many of the same challenges they face, kept them fully engaged.” Congratulations to the cast and crew! Click here for a gallery of the performance.


Illustrator Speaks to Art Students

Award-winning illustrator Chris Sickels spoke to Jason Knarr and Daniel Vance’s Upper School art students in mid-May, sharing his work and knowledge of art. Sickels, who has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators and American Illustration, runs Red Nose Studio, where he creates 3-D illustrations and stop motion animation. He has illustrated several children’s books, including Here Comes the Garbage Barge and The Secret Subway. Sickels said growing up in a small town in Indiana, he did not know that art was a multifaceted career path. When he attended art school, his world was opened and he was introduced to illustration, stop motion animation, and artists like Alexander Calder and the Quay brothers. Sickels shared examples of his work, including a book cover and sketchbooks.


Upper School Choir Travels to New York City

In early April, members of the Upper School chorus traveled to New York City for four days of experiencing the Big Apple. They attended Broadway shows, including In Transit and Miss Saigon and visited the 9/11 Memorial, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Empire State Building. The students also performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. “The entire trip was such a great experience, and I know the kids all enjoyed themselves and learned a lot about the art of performance,” Kuhlman said. “The best indicator of the trip’s success was how often I heard, ‘When can we go back?’”


Second-graders Create Figurines Based on Asian Art

Second-graders in Jody Knoop’s art class recently did an activity related to Asian art. After learning about China’s famous Terracotta warriors through video and lessons, students created their own miniature ceramic figurines. They sculpted and painted the tiny figures, which included warriors, people, and babies. “So much of the art history that is followed in schools is from a pretty western view, and so I think it is important to show the historical and contemporary artwork of many other regions,” Knoop said.


Pre-Kindergarteners Sing with Finger Puppets

Eric Carle’s popular children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear became a musical lesson for pre-kindergarteners in Robin Wilson’s class. Gathering in a circle, children used finger puppets of a variety of animals and sang to their neighbor about their animal, following a pattern. For example, if a student’s neighbor had a frog finger puppet, he or she would sing “Froggy, froggy, what do you see?” The neighbor would respond, “I see a doggy (action word of choice) next to me.” The lesson teaches pre-kindergarteners patterns in singing and exploring their solo voices, Wilson said.


From The Buzz, April 28, 2017

Beats on a Bucket

Fifth-graders are using buckets and sticks to drum up beats in Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon’s class. Eynon said she recently introduced her students to the popular street music style because she enjoys exposing her students to a wide range of music and instrumental styles. Playing to the tune of recording artist Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, the students used their music-reading skills to tap out the drum notes on the front board, along with Eynon’s conducting. The students, who have practiced for several days, will perform their bucket drumming debut during Doherty’s closing program.


Upper Puts on The Pajama Game

Upper School theater students delivered a nostalgically beautiful performance of the 1950s Broadway musical, The Pajama Game, based on Richard Bissell’s book, 7 ½ Cents. Those who had an opportunity to see the dress rehearsal were wowed by the set design, costumes, and set changes. The show opens April 28 at 8 p.m. and runs until April 29 at 2 and 8 p.m. For photos from the dress rehearsal, click here.



First Grade Spring Show

Months of preparation paid off when first-graders entered the Red Barn in character and ready to perform their first full-length show for friends and family. The show, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, featured Old Mother Hubbard, Hey, Diddle, Diddle, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and other tunes, to name a few. First graders sang the nursery-rhyme themed songs and acted out their parts beautifully. Congratulations to the first-graders, Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson, and creative dramatics teacher Russell White. Click here to view pictures from the show.


Designing a Succulent Garden

As a tribute to Earth Day, which was April 22, students in Elissa Donovan’s art class crafted clay pots that would hold ever-so-popular succulent greens. Using recycled milk cartons as armatures to support the clay walls, the seventh-graders designed architectural structures such as houses, businesses, stadiums, and even an aircraft carrier. Then, the students chose their favorite hardy succulent to plant and take home. Donovan said the study offered students a foundational lesson in slab construction techniques in clay.


Second-graders Perform at Assembly

Second-graders at Lotspeich put their musical talents on display during a recent morning assembly. The recital is the fourth this year. Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson introduced students who were playing piano, violin, and guitar. The young musicians and their selections included Maya Little playing Con Brio on piano; Prithvi Kesari playing Bingo on piano; Madison Zortman playing Minuet 3 on the violin; Richelle Dews playing The Dog Song on violin; Nikhil Hariharan playing Pokemon XYZ on piano; Marshall Mert playing Tetris Theme on piano; Krishna Malhotra playing Allegro on violin; and Kent Buckley playing Medley of The Beastie Boys, Pink Panther, and Smoke on the Water on guitar.


From The Buzz, April 13, 2017

 Upper School Student Curates Art Show

As part of her Personal Challenge project, junior Kate Stein hosted an art show featuring art from third- through eighth-graders in the Donovan Arts Center, in early April. Kate worked with Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop and Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan to select pieces for her show. She also designed the aesthetic of her exhibition, which included performances by local American roots band, Full Moon Ranch, which includes Knoop on mandolin. Kate, who interns at the Skirball Museum at Hebrew Union College, said she has grown up with a love for art. “My grandmother was a docent for the Cincinnati Art Museum. My aunt is a docent for the art museum, and both my grandparents are art history, art collecting people. As I got older I got more interested in art history as well,” said Kate. “In the same way, I want our school community to recognize the accomplishments of the art department we have here and the great job they do as teachers. Not all of the schools in the city have such robust arts programs for so many grades and so many kids,” said Kate. Click here to view pictures from the art show.


 Cincinnati Zoo Selects Student’s Rain Barrel Design

Congratulations to sixth-grader Ashley McLennan, whose rain barrel design was recently selected among dozens by the Cincinnati Zoo for their Rain Barrel Design contest. McLennan’s work, which was one of only 50 designs selected, features an oceanic scene of bubbly pink jellyfish. Her work will be among rain barrels that will be available for an online auction, which will run until April 20, said Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan. Zoo goers will also be able to bid on the barrels by digitally using a mobile phone app or by using computer stations that will be set up throughout the park. As a tribute to her creative work, McLennan will be invited to attend Party for the Planet, a special event for the artists.


Monarch Art

While they are studying the path of Monarch migration, Lotspeich kindergarteners are painting it, too. Using their artistic expression, the students worked with Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop to color a Monarch image made from foam board, as well as color smaller replicas of the butterfly. The project is part of a yearlong curriculum on Monarch migration, which includes a pen pal project with students in Mexico—the usual starting point of Monarchs—a study of metamorphosis, and a number of other nuanced lessons that broaden students’ scopes of the global impact of the indicator species.


Middle School Play Addresses Social Issues

The upcoming musical, 13, is sure to be sidesplittingly hilarious. But the unique play carries more than just an element of entertainment. The comical, coming-of-age piece will also address social situations, such as bullying, trust, gossiping, gender discrimination, and peer pressure, to name a few. “On the surface, 13 is a painfully funny coming-of-age story,” said Middle School theater teacher Jacob Hauser. “However, it is our intent to go below the surface and help students understand the complexity of adolescence and the importance of respecting and honoring each individual for who they are and attempting to create a community that rises above issues that are divisive and destructive.” The play, 13, will be performed May 5 and 6 in Founders Hall. Hauser said Music Theatre International, the licensing agent for the play, has rated this production as “PG,” due to mild language and the above themes.



A Trip By the Nile

A walk up or down the stairwell in Jones Hall offers each traveler a 3-D glimpse of the animals found in the longest river in the world. As part of their yearlong study of Egypt, students worked collaboratively to build the scene. “Our kindergarteners, first-graders, third- and fourth-graders participated in the annual hallway installation that coincides with our Doherty cultural connections week,” said Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker. Fourth-graders worked in groups to research, design, and create 3-D animals and aquatic life found in the Nile River, using acrylic paint, paper, stuffing, and staples. They created everything from tiger fish, birds, hippos, great white egrets. Kindergarteners created fish, first-graders created turtles and fish, and third-graders researched, and designed plant life found in the Nile and on the banks. They created a mixed-media backdrop with oil pastels, collaging, and colored pencils. “All together it is an all-school art installation that showcased the beauty and creativity of this all-school cross curricular week when we immerse ourselves in learning about a country. 


From The Buzz, March 17, 2017


Young Directors Put on a Show

Directors are tasked with making myriad decisions throughout the course of a play. Actors, costumes, and sets are all required to bring a show to life. Theatre students learned this during their capstone project. The young directors each chose a play, selected a cast, analyzed scripts, and more to put on a show. “This is the culminating project for a theatre student at Seven Hills,” drama teacher Stephanie Park said. “It brings together all the elements studied in Theatre 1, Theatre 2 and Technical Theatre.” Park said 100 percent of the project is student-led; she serves as more of a mentor. Park compared it to a “challenge project,” but it’s happening during class time. Students learn the importance of project management and collaboration, as well as stretch their creativity and critical thinking. Students also trouble shoot, costume their shows, create props, and advertise and produce their selected plays. Designers from Trey Tatum’s tech theatre class also worked with the directors to design lighting, sets, and sound. Tatum also served as a guide for students. “Designers hung and focused the lights—climbing up tall ladders to the grid to place lights exactly where needed,” Park said. “Each play had a tech rehearsal, where students made decisions on exactly what lighting and sound cues to implement.” All the hard work paid off when the shows were well attended by their peers.



Middle School Students Travel to Junior Thespian Conference

Twenty-three Middle School thespians in Jacob Hauser’s drama class traveled to the Ohio Thespian Junior Thespian Conference in Akron in late February. The first night included a comedy improvisation competition and three students—seventh-grader Jack Homer, and eighth-graders Trip Wright and Eli Dauer—were members of the winning team. Many students also took part in the Ohio Individual Event competition performing solo and duet acting and singing pieces. Six groups received superior ratings for their performances, including two perfect scores for acting scenes. Sixth-graders Isabel Ginns and Ashley McLennan earned the first perfect score. Eighth-graders Grace Arya and Caroline Routh earned the second perfect score and were selected to perform in the “Best Of” Showcase at the conclusion of the festival. Hauser said the students’ acting, energy, and hard work were exemplary. The International Thespian Society and Junior Thespian Society are dedicated to honoring the achievements of theater students. Hauser founded the Junior Thespian troupe at Seven Hills last year as part of an effort to build the theater community and provide additional opportunities for student recognition and development. Already, the troupe has seen tremendous success and growth. “Last year we traveled to the Ohio Junior Thespian Conference with just six students,” Hauser said. “This year that number nearly quadrupled.”


Recorder Concert 2

Lotspeich Instrumental Recital Highlights Young Musicians

Lotspeich third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders performed for an audience of fellow students, teachers, and family during the recorder and instrumental concert, held in Founders Hall in early March. Music teacher Robin Wilson gave the audience some background before the performance. “Our students have been working very hard since the early fall,” Wilson said. “This is a huge unit we study.” All the grades played recorders, as well as drums, xylophones, and more. Third-graders opened the show with a song called Old Tom White. They also played Dot Spot Fever and a song Wilson affectionately called Ode to Miss Knoop because of its distinct clopping sound and the fact that art teacher Jody Knoop is an ardent horseback rider. In fourth grade, Wilson said students extended their notes. They played a two-part recorder piece called Hidden Path, as well as All About Windchimes. Fifth-graders illustrated their knowledge of two-part harmony with Gentle Rain. They also played the popular Winter Bell Carol. All of the young musicians gave a terrific performance!


Doherty Play 1

Doherty Fifth-graders Present Rats: The Story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin

Doherty fifth-graders put on an exciting show on March 16! They staged Rats: The Story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin for their peers, faculty, and family. The musical told the story of the town of Hamelin, overrun with rats. The townspeople have had enough, so the mayor recruits the Pied Piper. The Pied Piper sends the rats out of town, but the mayor refuses to pay him the agreed upon price. The Pied Piper teaches the mayor, and the town, a lesson as revenge. Congratulations to the fifth-graders and music teacher Maria Eynon and drama teacher Russell White for providing wonderful musical and stage direction, respectively!

Doherty Play 2



Third-graders Hold Recital for Peers

During a recent morning assembly, Lotspeich students were treated to an instrumental recital performed by the third-graders. Music teacher Robin Wilson said this is Lotspeich’s third assembly recital this year. Second-graders will perform in April. The third-graders performed a wide selection of songs on piano, violin, guitar, and drums. The young musicians and their selections included Griffen Osher playing Mission Impossible on piano; Luke Samaha playing Spanish Guitar on piano; Daniela Alper playing Hot Cross Buns on violin; Avani Shah playing The Boogie Machine on piano; John Persma playing Video Game Master on piano; Amahy Munjal playing Swedish Folk Song on guitar; Elliot Domet playing The Scientist on piano; and Sabrina Donovan playing Medley on the drums.

Recital 2


From The Buzz, March 3, 2017

Schoolhouse 1Schoolhouse Symphony

Fostering a love of music begins at a young age, and there’s no better way to cultivate that interest than with a hands-on lesson. On Feb. 13, pre-kindergarteners, kindergarteners, and first graders learned about instruments from Schoolhouse Symphony, a local organization that brings music to life for children. “Schoolhouse Symphony teaches about the instruments, their families of the orchestra, and how sound is made,” said Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson. “These include flute, clarinet, violin, cello, French horn, trombone, and some percussion instruments. The group also teaches about some elements of music, such as rhythm, melody, and harmony.” The group played different songs, including Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music, and the Schoolhouse Symphony Salsa. They led different activities as well. When a musician played a melody, students were asked to point to the instrument playing. Students enjoyed the lesson, and had lots of interesting questions for their guests during the Q&A session.


Orff 1

Discovering the Underground Railroad Through Music

The songs of the Underground Railroad served an important purpose—guiding the ways of slaves escaping the antebellum South to freedom. Fourth graders on the Doherty Campus have been learning these songs on Orff instruments, or melodic keyboards. Music teacher Maria Eynon said the lesson is co-curricular, going hand in hand with the students’ study of slavery and the Underground Railroad in social studies. Eynon explained the music. “Run Chillen Run! is the third song we’ve been working on. We’ve also learned to accompany our singing with Follow the Drinking Gourd and Wade in the Water,” Eynon said. “All three songs are code songs from the mid-1800s when slaves ran from their respective plantations and needed tools and strategies to help them move North.” Students learn the song’s accompaniment, and play as they sing. They learn other musical elements, such as reading the rhythms, as well. “Not only do the students learn how to read music notation, which enforces music notation and literacy, but also they learn how to play in a small ensemble, listening to each other and working together as one group,” Eynon said.


Shoes 2

Pop Art for Your Feet

Andy Warhol. Roy Lichtenstein. Jim Dine. These are just some of the names that come to mind when thinking about pop art, an art movement from the 50s inspired by mass culture. As part of their fiber arts unit, eighth graders in Elissa Donovan’s art class completed an activity that melded pop art and footwear. “It’s just a way of looking at a period of art in the last century,” Donovan said. Students learned that pop art emerged during a time when mass media was just beginning. Students picked an image from popular culture and painted them on shoes. Eighth graders depicted a range of subjects, including popular Disney movies, like Lilo and Stitch and Finding Nemo, and classic cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry.




Kindergarten Studies Puppets

Puppetry is an extremely visual medium that takes many skills to master. Kindergarteners in Lower School drama teacher Russell White’s class are practicing the art at a young age during their puppet unit, which lasts throughout the winter. White himself is an expert and former puppeteer with Madcap Puppets. Recently, students made their puppets dance to a variety of songs, and made creative decisions for their puppet show. “They have songs they choose to play during their puppet shows,” White said. “They can also have me do a cue for their characters.” Students learned to perform improvised scenes at the beginning of the unit, and now have the skills to plan their own scenes at recess or before class.


Snowflakes in Knoop

Second Graders Let it Snow

Although there hasn’t been much snow outside this winter, Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop’s classroom was a flurry of snowy activity. Second graders crafted snowflakes using wooden craft sticks and glue. Students will take the next step soon and paint them, making their snowflakes pop. “They will paint the snowflakes with tints and shades of a pure color making it monochromatic, but of course we will add jewels for sparkly fun,” Knoop said. “This is part of our yearlong focus on color theory.”


From The Buzz, Feb. 16, 2017

self portrait

Self Portraits in First Grade

Unit I students in Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker’s class studied the characteristics and scale of the human face, then sketched out their first renderings of self portraits. Stricker began the lesson by guiding the students through a detailed discussion. “What shape are our heads, really? They aren’t circles,” Stricker said. “Our noses don’t really look like sideways V’s, do they?” Stricker also discussed the beginnings of Vetruvian laws of body dimensions, including that eyes typically are positioned in the middle of the face, and that the side of eyes is usually aligned with the top of the ear, while the bottom of the nose is typically aligned with the earlobe. Stricker said the art study offers students a more complex example of the mental process artists must engage before and during their work. The first graders’ multi-step project will ultimately be paired with a crayon-resist underwater scene the students completed in early February.



Good Grief! What a Show!

Seven Hills’ Upper School cast of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown delivered a witty performance that captured Schultz’ self-deprecating, droll tone, while showcasing the chops of each actor and crew member on and off stage. Using a breadth of experience honed by studying their characters and perfecting comedic timing, the 13-member cast and crew owned a show that thrilled audiences in the Donovan Arts Center Blackbox Theatre. The students’ artistry shone throughout all performances, as well as in the props, lighting, and sound. The last show, which was performed for second and third graders, however, punctuated just how much they got it right, as the young audience was in stitches from start to finish. Congrats to the cast and to theater teacher Stephanie Park and technical director Trey Tatum. Click here to view a list of the castClick here to view a photo gallery of the show. 


Seven Hills Musicians Shine at Adjudicated Event

Vocal and instrumental student musicians recently received recognition and ratings in a number of categories for their performances at the Ohio Music Education Association Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Event in late January at Elder High School.

The following students or student groups received recognition:

  • Seven Hills’ Chamber Ensemble received a II in Class A, singing The Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre
  • Sophomore Jake Groom received a I in class B for his tenor solo
  • Junior Kaleb Kemp received a II in class B for his tenor solo
  • Senior Emily McLennan received a I in class A for her soprano solo
  • Sophomore Madeleine Morstadt received a II in class B for her soprano solo
  • Sophomore Alex Stevens received a I in class B for his tenor solo
  • Sophomore Max Yuan received a I in class A for his viola solo

Congratulations to Fine Arts Department Chair Tina Kuhlman, accompanist Lynne Miller, and all Seven Hills musicians and vocalists who participated in this event!



Local Musician Holds Clinics with Upper Students

Cincinnati musician Freekbass spent two days jamming with Seven Hills students during master classes in the Donovan Arts Center in early February. Freekbass started off his classes by explaining the backbone, structure, and technique involved in funk music, and later invited contemporary ensemble students to play off several grooves and bass lines, including from his score. While the students engaged with the beats, playing bass guitar, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings, Freekbass offered pointers to the students, sometimes in a one-on-one setting, to help them better understand foundational music concepts. Freekbass, who has teamed up with legendary funk artist Bootsy Collins, encouraged Seven Hills student musicians to play their instruments like drummers – always aware of rhythm, energy, and synchronicity, and to appreciate the simplicity and repetition of a strong bass beat, an indicator of true musicianship. Many thanks to Freekbass and to instrumental music teacher John Rising for coordinating the visit.


Middle School Theater Festival

Middle Students Win National Award at Theater Festival

Nine Middle School theater students won national awards at the Junior Theater Festival West in Sacramento, California, in mid-February. The students, who performed in solo, duet, and as a group, came away with a number of excellent ratings, including several Superior ratings. Middle School Theater teacher Jacob Hauser said the students’ acting, energy, and hard work was exemplary. “The conference was a huge success,” said Hauser. “We won a trophy for excellence in acting as a group!” Students who competed at the festival are sixth grader Isabel Ginns, and eighth graders Caroline Chalmers, Sydney Chun, Audrey Howard, Max Maislin, Charlotte McNair, Kate Neyer, Eli Perlin, and Libby Schaefer. As a group, the students won a Freddie G. Excellence in Acting group award. In addition, Perlin and Chun were selected as all-star cast members. Neyer and Maislin’s names were drawn to perform in a “slam.” Howard received one Superior rating on her solo, as did Eli and Sydney on their duet acting scene. “Our other performers also did well and met or exceeded their goals,” said Hauser. “Our 15-minute cutting of Lion King Jr., the Musical, also went well. It was a great festival.”


From The Buzz, Feb. 2, 2017

Members of the cast of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" prepare in the green room.
Members of the cast of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” prepare in the green room.

 You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown Opens Feb. 3

The whole gang is here:  bossy Lucy, piano prodigy Schroeder, perfectionist Sally, blanket-toting Linus, the hilarious Peppermint Patty, the Little Red Headed Girl, everybody’s favorite beagle Snoopy and the original “blockhead” himself, Charlie Brown. Come see Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts comic come to life in this classic musical. Congratulations to the Upper School theater cast and crew, as well as theater teacher Stephanie Park and technical theater director and teacher Trey Tatum. Tickets are available for the Upper School production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” at Performances are Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.


Seven Hills Chamber Ensemble Prepares for State Performance

Seven Hills’ Chamber Ensemble students performed in late January, for the prestigious Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA), an annual adjudicated event, in which 25 Seven Hills students joined more than 900 other musicians. The event, which took place at Elder High School in Cincinnati, provides soloists and ensembles with an opportunity to perform for a qualified adjudicator, said fine arts chair and choral director Tina Kuhlman. The adjudicator provided written comments and suggestions for improvement and assigned an overall rating to the performance. Kuhlman said the students appreciated sharing their talents and hard work with their peers, statewide. All songs performed at OMEA High School Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Events came from a required music list, which contains more than 9,000 selections and has been developed and updated over many years.  



Senior Recognized Citywide for Creating After School Music Program

Seven Hills Senior Devi Namboodiri remembers how she felt when a mother approached her after a music lesson. “She told me she didn’t know her son was even interested in music and that she was so happy he was in my class,” said Devi during a recent interview. “I was so touched by that. And with the lack of funding for arts education, many schools can’t sustain music programs because they need to feed kids first. And although they focus on dire needs, it’s not fair that kids don’t have the opportunity to experience music.” Devi is setting out to do her part to make music available to more students in underserved areas. Devi’s interest in using her musical talents to teach music to others began when Seven Hills instrumental music teacher John Rising recommended she participate in My Cincinnati, a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect children who live in Price Hill with music education. Devi participated in the program, loved it, and decided to start a program that would provide music education outreach to children outside Price Hill. Last summer, Devi, with help from her mother Easwari Namboodiri, established a non-profit designation and launched Music Without Limits. Devi currently works with friends and Seven Hills seniors Nina Fatuzzo and Chase Byington to teach music theory to children at Academy of World Languages in Cincinnati. Devi was recently named a Cincinnati Difference Makers finalist by the Cincinnati Museum Center. She, along with a select group of professionals, young students, and community members, will be honored at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Feb. 11. Devi said Rising was the inspiration for her non-profit work. Rising said Devi’s mission is inspiring. “It gives me great hope for the future, that there are passionate, dedicated young musicians roaming the earth teaching music to young kids,” said Rising. “Devi has done an absolutely amazing job putting her passion to practice and at the same time making a difference in the lives of many future musicians!”



Finding a Hook in Art Class

Fifth graders yarned on about their crocheting skills in Jody Knoop’s art class on the Hillsdale Campus. As part of Knoop’s fifth grade art curriculum, the students were required to crochet a beanie-style hat. Most of the students completed that and much more, as they mastered the skill of single and double stitches. The students branched out into other areas, some crocheting slippers, hacky sacks, and scarves. Knoop said crocheting is a favorite of the students and a very appropriate art form for the season. “One of the things I love about this project, and there are many, is that anyone who does it is considered, ‘cool.’ Boys and girls love it equally and are respected by each other for their work,” said Knoop.




International Thespian Society

Seven Hills Upper School theater students are elevating the school’s place in the theater education community to a national level with a recent step to establish a Seven Hills troupe of the International Thespian Society. At the start of the 2016-17 school year, students Hope Neyer, who established the chapter, and Brett Miller, president of the chapter, set in motion opportunities for Upper School students to have more exposure to the theater community throughout the Cincinnati area. Neyer and Miller said their priority for establishing the thespian society is to provide a safe, creative space for students interested in all aspects of theater, where they can be themselves, and grow in their craft.


From The Buzz, Jan. 17, 2017


Lower School’s Puppetry Unit Provides Gateway to Improv, Directing

Seven Hills Lower School drama program exposes students to a number of performing arts disciplines. Lower School drama teacher Russell White’s fourth graders practiced puppetry in the Red Barn. “The activity helped students develop a number of skills, including improvisation, stage direction, and puppet manipulation, a complex set of skills that include entrances and exits, the ability to make the puppet appear to be alive, lip syncing, and the placement of the puppet throughout the performance. The students are very creative,” said White, a former professional puppeteer with Madcap Puppets, a nationally recognized children’s theater production. “They are taking the improvisational skills that have been honed last fall to act using their puppets in the winter unit.”



Fired up about Clay in Pre-K

Pre-kindergarteners and 12-to-18-month olds in the Beginnings for Parent and Toddler program recently explored the sensory excitement of working with clay as they squeezed, shaped, and imprinted on the medium as part of an annual art study. Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker said parents, caretakers, and toddlers in the Beginnings program enjoyed using their senses to learn about clay. Stricker also engaged both age groups of students in the tactile nature of clay. “We always start with a conversation,” said Stricker, “Then we move to exploration and building. The delight in their eyes is priceless!” she said students in Judy Shuppert’s class added another element to their claywork, by pressing real leaves they collected into the slabs of clay. Stricker said working with clay is beneficial and inspiring to children of all ages. Said Stricker, “No matter your age, it never ceases to amaze me, how forming creations in our hands comes so naturally, and sparks creativity, imagination, and exploration.”




Zombie Art in 3-D

Sixth grade art students recently began a study of 3-D figures that did not require the use of a 3-D printer. Using their hands, students began molding the flat sheet into a figure with five appendages, in the image of a human form. Once students thoroughly molded the aluminum into a compact piece, they used paper strips and a viscous glue solution to apply papier mâché. The students concluded the project by painting the dried models to resemble zombies. Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan said the project prepares students to build and work with more complex structures. “Building an armature of a human figure reinforces in a 3-D way the proportions we studied in our super hero figure drawing unit,” said Donovan.



Middle Students Practice for International Thespian Society Performance              

A group of Middle School students have been working with theater teacher Jacob Hauser to prepare for a performance of a medley of musical songs at the International Thespian Society on Feb. 24 at the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron. Hauser said the students will prepare selections from Disney’s The Lion King Jr.



Upper Painting Class

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in Daniel Vance’s advanced and basic painting class are finishing up final projects to wrap up their quarter. The students have chosen a broad range of projects, from 3-D mixed-media pieces to acrylic landscape art. “The students are using this final project to try something new and be experimental,” said Vance. The art department’s next show will take place in May.


From The Buzz, Dec. 16, 2016


Symphonic and Contemporary Ensemble Winter Concerts

Congratulations to the amazing Middle School Musicians and The Upper School Symphonic and Contemporary Ensembles, who performed a number of lively tunes in Founders in early December. The Middle School musicians played compositions ranging from Cubano Bueno and Rockin’ Jingle Bells, to Hooked on a Feeling and Celtic Air and Dance No. 3, to El Spiritu Valencia, Green Onions, and Crooked Toe Walks the Deck. The Upper School Symphonic Ensemble played everything from March of the Belgian Paratroopers to a heavy metal medley, to Variations on Scarborough Fair. Wrapping up the winter concert was the Upper School Contemporary Musicians, who played a number of pieces, including Blue Bossa, Mambo Swing, and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. The ensemble also delivered a world premiere of senior Micah Bachrach’s composition, Riverside. Bachrach directed and played in his piece, which was met with a thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Bachrach wrote the intricate, multi-instrument piece for his Upper School Personal Challenge project. Congratulations to all student musicians and instrumental music teacher John Rising! Click here to see photos from the event. large_photo557433_6807412



Fall Concert Features Middle School Choruses

The Middle School choruses gave beautiful and moving performances at a fall concert in late November. The choirs are directed by Tina Kuhlman, chair of fine and performing arts department, Upper and Middle schools music and speech teacher, with accompanist Lynne Miller. The concert opened with the sixth grade chorus, singing a selection of songs, including The Lad from Aberdeen and a complicated Israeli folk song called Chiri Biri Bim. The seventh and eighth grade chorus took the stage next, singing the Ukrainian dance song Tambourica. Kuhlman said the remainder of the chorus’ selections were about journeys. The boys and girls broke into groups to sing The Seafarer’s Life and O Rushing Wind, respectively. The evening ended with the Upper School Chamber Ensemble performing two songs, Children, Go Where I Send Thee and Hallelujah, as a preview for their concert. Click here to view more photos from the concert. 



Second Graders Perform Holiday Show

Lotspeich second graders wowed an audience of family and friends during a holiday performance in the Red Barn. The show, directed by music teacher Robin Wilson with assistance from creative dramatics teacher Russell White, featured a selection of songs celebrating a variety of holidays from many different cultures. The program opened with Paint the Town December, a reflection on the beginning of the holiday season. Students also sang the Hebrew song Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A Great Miracle Happened There), The Light of Kwanzaa, Rocking on the Housetop, The Colors of Las Posadas, and Hearts Around the World. Click here to view more photos from the holiday show.



Upper School Art Show

Students showcased more than 100 pieces of their work, completed throughout the past semester, at the Upper School’s annual art show in the Donovan Arts Center in early December. The show, which represents the work of each Upper School art student, included sketching, sculpture, photography, mobiles, and textured art, to name a few. Art teacher Jason Knarr said the art show creates opportunities for students to be inspired and grow creatively. “It’s a celebration,” said Knarr. “The other arts programs get to have a performance to share their work, so this is an opportunity for art students to show off theirs.” Art teacher Daniel Vance added, “The students visit the show and they see something awesome and they want to do it, too. The art show inspires other students to create or to create even better.” The gallery will remain in the DAC until after winter break. Click here to view pictures of the art on display.



Sassmannshaus Tradition

Sixteen student musicians—from first graders to upperclassmen—delivered stellar violin performances at the Sassmannshaus Tradition winter recital in mid-December. The students played a variety of tunes in the Lotspeich Library, which ranged from Minuet by Bach to a number of folk tunes to a duet performed by students who play in the Upper School Symphonic Ensemble. Congratulations to our students and their teachers, Lydia Woodin, Michaela Luchka, and Aleksander Liska. Click here to view more photos from the recital. 


From The Buzz, Nov. 22, 2016


Thinking Outside the Object

The brilliantly colored artwork adorning the walls of the Donovan Arts Center represents not what the students drew, but what they didn’t. The work, which resembles what would be left after removing an object from a painted surface, is called negative space drawing, or silhouette drawing. Upper School art teacher Daniel Vance said the purpose of the drawing is to get the students thinking of the negative space between objects. “Essentially the students are drawing the empty spaces and ignoring the objects,” said Vance. “The drawing is based on a still life and done in pencil. It is then colored in with marker. The negative space is as important as the positive space in an artwork. Negative space is often ignored by artists; however it can be used very effectively to arrange a composition, but only if the artist is aware of its importance.”



Upper Cast Works Behind the Scenes to Deliver Blockbuster Show

The Upper School production of Treasure Island represents hours of rehearsals, craftsmanship, industrial design, directing, and promotional marketing—all deftly accomplished by students. “Putting on Treasure Island has been a true collaboration,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “Students designed lights, sound, costumes, hair, makeup and props. Cast members learned intricate fight choreography from professional fight directors. And the icing on the cake was the playground set.” Dozens of cast members, along with Park and technical director Trey Tatum, worked in sync to produce the theatrical masterpiece. The production also benefited from the work of students in directing class—the theater program’s most advanced course. Five upperclassmen—Shelby Davis, Seth Friedman, Maya Gleich, Emily McLennan, and Brett Miller—applied knowledge from their class to enhance the quality of a number of scenes in the production. “Directing class allowed us to analyze the needs of the actors in Treasure Island and direct them in different ways,” said Davis. “Using our knowledge from directing class, we were able to experiment with directing and help our fellow actors. For example, if they weren’t understanding how to portray their characters in a certain scene, we learned how to change the way we directed them so the actors could better understand their roles.” Most of the students in the directing class are also actors in Treasure Island. Friedman, who is not acting in the play, used his skills to direct the first scene, work with students on character development, and refine fight choreography. Park said sophomores Rachel Michelman and Corinne Smith also spearheaded an advertising effort that included eight days of free raffles—including a walk on role! Park said the production is reflective of extensive work, creativity, and vision of not only students but parents as well. “Our parents had loads of fun with themed decorations, rockstar-style T-shirts, and awesome tech week meals,” said Park. 



Studying Tone and Scale in Drawing Class

Self-portraits are a challenging artform. To introduce the idea of these concepts to some of his students and allow some of them to enhance existing skills, Upper School art teacher Jason Knarr assigned a self-portrait study in pastels to his drawing I, II, and III students. The art students began their project by printing out black and white close-ups of themselves. The students then worked out rough sketches of themselves with different shades of gray charcoal on large pieces of paper. Knarr said work in pastels allows students to consider the overall tonal variations, rather than the strict black on white of traditional graphite on paper. “The challenge is to look at the piece and deal with the scale,” said Knarr. “When you use pastels, its like painting and drawing at the same time. Students can build so many more tones and fill more space using pastels.”



Tessellation in Batik

Eighth graders recently completed a fiber arts study involving a complex process of pattern design, dyeing fabric, and stuffing and sewing pillows. Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan said the project revives the students’ knowledge of tessellation, a process of making a pattern of interlocking shapes. The students studied tessellation in sixth grade math class as well, said Donovan, adding that the students also studied famous graphic artist M.C. Escher, who often incorporated mathematical concepts into his art. “The students start with plain white muslin then sketch a tessellation form into the fabric,” said Donovan. “They create a batik fabric by applying wax, applying dye, then ironing the wax out of the fabric,” said Donovan. The students later stuffed their pillows and sewed them using a sewing machine.



Tree Study in Art

As part of their nature study, fourth graders are working outdoors to mix real life with imagination for a drawing project. Art teacher Mimi Stricker said she enjoys opportunities to work on projects outdoors with her classes. “Our minds are more at ease when we are breathing fresh air and warm sunshine hits our faces,” said Stricker. “So we take our tree study outside to let our eyes and hands work together with nature.” The students carried large drawing boards, clips, paper, and pencils outside to focus on their work. Stricker said the students sketched out the trees of their choice, then returned to their classrooms to design their trees and background. “Nothing is off limits,” she said. “Their thoughts and feelings and who they are right here in this moment come out in the bold colors they see in the trees, and beyond.”


From The Buzz, Nov. 11, 2016


Fight Choreography Prepares Students for Treasure Island

Student actors have been preparing for their first production of the school year, Treasure Island. Treasure Island is based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and is a tale of pirates and adventure. To capture the swashbuckling feel of the show, students learned fight choreography from Joshua Pikar and Jonn Baca, members of the Society of American Fight Directors. Upper drama teacher Stephanie Park oversaw the practice. Pikar and Baca brought a variety of fake weapons and taught students the proper techniques for creating a dynamic fight scene. Performances of Treasure Island will be held Friday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.



Second Graders Create Patterns

Patterns are often a colorful and crazy arrangement of shapes and colors. Art teacher Jody Knoop is teaching her second graders the art of creating their own patterns. Students recently created an array of vibrant koi fish, and for Halloween, drew witches’ legs and designed their stockings. They will also color stylized turkey feathers for Thanksgiving. Second graders start the school year by learning color theory. Knoop said the lessons are a continuation of design and color students learned about in first grade. While they color and create patterns, they are also learning coloring techniques, like outlining and staying within an object.



Max Yuan

Student Musicians Selected for Regional Honor Orchestra

Congratulations to freshman violinist Rajiv Raman and sophomore violist Max Yuan, who were recently selected to play with the Southwest Ohio Regional Honor Orchestra. The prestigious organization, which incorporates a highly-selective auditioning process to determine membership, features some of the finer players in the area.

Rajiv Raman



Building Blocks for Clay Work

Before clay artists learn to truly work with their medium, they must learn the technique of hand building, a skill that involves effectively moving fingers and hands while working with clay. The act of manipulating and positioning clay is one that comes with foundational knowledge and skill, said Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker, who recently introduced a beginning lesson to her young students. “We start with modeling clay to work on our hand building skills, which helps us to better manipulate clay when we work with coil, slab, or pinch pot projects,” said Stricker. “Hand building is a skill that is important, not only for clay work, but for many other arts, including set design for theater artists.”





Grandpersons Day in the Making

The grand people who will visit loved ones on the Doherty Campus are in for a treat. Students in all grade levels are practicing their songs and steps for their part in the Grandpersons Day festivities. Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon is leading the students through a number of songs and dance steps that will be sure to wow grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, and friends. Third graders practiced several songs and dances, including Cotton-eyed Joe and the Popcorn Dance, to name a few. Grandpersons’ Day on the Doherty Campus will take place beginning as early as 8:45 a.m. and running until 2 p.m. for varying grades.


From The Buzz, Oct. 31, 2016


Jazz Singer Performs for Upper School

Jazz singer Carla Cook took Founder’s Hall by storm in mid-October, teaching Upper School students the elements of her art and performing jazz standards. Cook, who is also the Taft Museum of Art’s 2016 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, discussed the important elements of jazz, such as syncopation and scatting, and quizzed students about the information. She also performed the classic Route 66. Cook reminded the audience that jazz laid the foundation for several genres of music they listen to today. “This is yours,” Cook said of the music. “It belongs to you.” The assembly closed with Cook teaching students Duke Ellington’s C Jam Blues. All of Founders Hall joined in for a rousing rendition of the jazz staple.



Middle School Play Featured a Princess, Zombies

This year’s Middle School fall play truly had something for everyone. With the help of drama teacher Jacob Hauser and Upper and Middle Technical Theater Teacher Trey Tatum, middle schoolers staged two, one-act plays, A Little Princess and 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. A Little Princess is the classic riches to rags (and back to riches) tale of a little girl in early 20th century England. Zombie Apocalypse was a much more contemporary play, which doled out advice on surviving the end of the world. Students performed for Doherty and Lotspeich fourth and fifth graders during a school day before staging the play for the public in late October. View more photos from A Little Princess here, and 10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse here.




Fifth Graders Take the Stage

Fifth graders put on a dazzling show! Earlier this month, the students staged the musical, The Hundred-Year Snooze, a retelling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Music teacher Robin Wilson and theater teacher Russell White directed the play. Trey Tatum, Upper and Middle technical theater teacher, helped with sound and lighting. Parents and younger Lotspeich students enjoyed the show, applauding enthusiastically at the end of each musical number. Fifth graders gifted Wilson and White with flowers after they took their bows.




Elements of Design in Tech Theater

Creating a theater set requires an eye for detail. Students in Trey Tatum’s tech theater class are honing that skill as they begin their unit on set design. Tech theater is offered to Upper School students in grades nine to 11. Tatum said the unit opens with a series of projects on the elements of design. “The focus is two-pronged—to get them used to articulating why they are drawn to a subject, other than ‘I like this flower,’ and to start shifting how they view things into terms of shape, proportion, color, texture, light/shadow, etc.,” he said. Recently, students were given a list of words, such as “delicate” or “towering,” and used their iPads to capture an image they associated with each term. During class, the students discussed their images, breaking down why they associated each photo with the assigned prompt.



Dancing and Singing for Halloween

Halloween is here, but fifth graders at Doherty have been preparing for quite some time. In Maria Eynon’s music class, fifth graders learned to sing the creepy tune, Muahaha, while playing boomwhackers, which are hollow, plastic percussion tubes students hit to make a sound. “We’re just getting ready to celebrate Halloween and the fall season,” Eynon said. Students also worked in groups for several weeks to choreograph dances to a Halloween song of their choice. Eynon said it helps prepare them for the spring musical, for which they also create choreography. The variety of learning, from singing to dancing, is embedded in Eynon’s teaching method. “My philosophy is for them to involve themselves physically, mentally, and spatially,” she said. “You have to appeal to the different learning styles.”



From The Buzz, Oct. 13, 2016


Students Selected to Join Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra

Congratulations to the six Seven Hills students selected to join the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO)! Eighth grader Meg Yuan (cello) has joined the CSYO Concert Orchestra. Several students also joined the CSYO Philharmonic, including seniors Samantha Chun (violin) and Nina Fatuzzo (cello), junior Nick Purple (violin), and sophomores Aishwarya Varma (viola) and Max Yuan (viola). Students auditioned for the opportunity and will practice throughout the year. Upper and Middle music teacher John Rising currently teaches Fatuzzo, Max, and Meg. He said for his students, being selected for CSYO and CSYO Concert Orchestra is a “tremendous honor.” “I know that all of the students representing Seven Hills are accomplished string musicians,” Rising said. “Having the chance to rehearse and perform with the city’s finest musicians is an awesome musical opportunity!”



Fourth and Fifth Graders Participate in New Instrumental Program

In early October, right before the school day started, a group of fourth and fifth graders at Lotspeich gathered in Upper and Middle music teacher John Rising’s classroom to practice their instruments. The students are part of the instrumental music program for fourth and fifth graders at Lotspeich and Doherty. “Most of the students take private lessons and our early morning sessions are a combination of group lessons and eventually, an ensemble rehearsal,” Rising said. Rising noted there are many benefits to playing an instrument, including learning a valuable skill, brain exercise, hanging out and having fun with their peers, and ultimately making music. “We are trying to give kids interested in playing an instrument the opportunity to do so in a formalized environment at an earlier age,” he said. “If a kid is interested and motivated why wait?”



Upper School Choir

Music teacher Tina Kuhlman is preparing her Upper School students for their November concert. The Upper School Chorus is made up of students in grades 9-12. Kuhlman said her students have a huge volume of music to learn and they are currently spending a lot of time on their technique. They recently practiced chorus staples Kali’s Song and Johnny Said “No!” The first concert will take place at the end of November.



Students Direct Art Projects at Doherty

Fifth graders in Mimi Stricker’s art class are taking art into their own hands. Students are using modeling clay, recycled items, cardboard, and paper to create a 3D sculpture. Students have designed everything from Pokémon fights, to football stadiums, to French bakeries. Stricker explained the project is student-directed, and they get to work on an art piece they’re extremely interested in. “It’s really so broad what they’re doing,” she said. According to Stricker, the project allows students to not only stretch their imaginations, but working in groups on the models also encourages teambuilding. The art projects will be on display in Jones Hall when they are completed.



Middle Students Cut Glass, Make Insects

Sixth graders are capturing the likeness of insects using glass. In Elissa Donovan’s art class, students recently practiced cutting glass. Students will use their skills to cut glass pieces in geometric shapes and arrange them into the shapes of bugs in honor of Insect Day, which will be held Oct. 28. Donovan will then meld the insects onto a glass tile using a kiln. Donovan said the late Charley Harper, a Cincinnati-based artist, inspired the insects. “We’re using his style to inspire our designs,” she said. Donovan noted students are also learning about the composition of glass and how it’s made, as well as understanding a fusing technique.




Playing the Recorder in Third Grade

Third graders are in the beginning stages of learning the recorder. Lotspeich Music teacher Robin Wilson said they are starting with the basics. “We are learning to read recorder music, which includes notes of the treble clef staff, rhythms, and counting,” she said. Students begin the recorder in third grade so they can learn to read music, Wilson said. Wilson said her class is also working on two-part singing. They are studying a partner song called There is No Time Like the Autumn.



From The Buzz, Sept. 22, 2016


Music & Movement go Hand-in-Cup-in-Hand

With dance-loving music teacher Maria Eynon as their guide, Doherty music students begin learning certain dance steps, such as Cotton-eyed Joe and the Electric Slide, in the lower primary grades. Each year the students’ coordination comes into better focus and they move a little faster, and each year, Eynon builds on the steps and increases the level of difficulty. The students often sing while they learn, and they usually learn the origin of the dances and songs they perform. By the time the students are in fifth grade, the dances are swift and complex, and the students move through a number of selections with ease. In the spirit of actor Anna Kendrick’s famous cup act, Eynon’s fifth grade music class made the very complex art of cups look easy, all while singing the song, You’re Gonna Miss Me. Eynon said her classes are all about teaching music on multiple levels and across geographic, cultural, and historical lines. “We learn the Twist, the Cupid Shuffle, line dances, so many more. I want the kids to have fun. I am not so much worried about the steady beat because they will be excited for more,” said Eynon. “In order for me to share my excitement and love of music I need to engage them physically, spatially, emotionally, intellectually, and kinesthetically. All they have to do is remember music is a blast and that they are safe to express themselves without fear.”



Students Use Personal Experiences to Learn Stage Production

With her classmates at the ready in the Donovan Arts Center Black Box, senior theater student Shelby Davis asked Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park to open and close her eyes. Using her classmates to act out a personal experience from her recent summer internship in China, Davis directed the actors through a silent performance of 12 distinct stage pictures. When Park opened her eyes, the students had moved to a new scene. When she closed them, the students quickly and effortlessly shuffled into the next. The result gave the audience the freeze-frame effect similar to a View-Master toy. “This silent performance, painting frame after frame, delivered strong scene impressions, leading to a variety of story interpretations from the audience,” said Park. Her assignments required the students to focus on using personal experience to devise a story and enlist their classmates to present it in a theatrical way. She said the performance is a profound example of the collaborative efforts, talent, and hard work her students put into the directing class. Park said the students will soon begin studying text analysis, staging, and design concepts. 



Students Design Cities in Art Class

Fourth graders on the Doherty Campus are working in groups to bring to life their wildest dreams in a whimsical, yet structured art project about imaginary cities. The students discussed the concept of drafting with art teacher Mimi Stricker and brainstormed to conceptualize their one-dimensional metropolis. “I ask them to design life forms, jobs, and unique city structures, all from their imaginations,” said Stricker. “The cities can be in space, under water, there are no boundaries.” Stricker said the art project was designed to give the students an opportunity to start off the school year working and thinking collaboratively in her class.



Thinking Like a Pirate for Treasure Island

Opening night for the Upper School play, Treasure Island, is two months away but, while the cast in the Donovan Arts Center Black Box are still learning lines and not yet settled into their roles, one could almost see the layout of the Hispaniola and the tattered clothing of the downtrodden subservient pirates, during the cast’s recent practice. The work to put together the production, which boasts 33 cast members, requires a number of techniques and well-planned practices. The students’ role-playing game was part of their preparation for more formal practice. Junior Seth Friedman, who will direct the first scene of Treasure Island, asked the students to think like pirates as they eased into their characters. With one student barking orders to the “crew,” the students fell into line, made numerous formations, and tried to carry out unreasonable orders—all in the name of making opening night in mid-November as believable as possible.


dsc_0821Bending the Lines

Third graders in Jody Knoop’s art class are learning that they can create illusions with two simple things: pen and paper. The students are using curved lines to create different forms. They’re also adding shapes to make designs. Starting with simple forms, such as snake-like figures and hands, the students are creating the illusion of 3D images by manipulating lines in 2D drawings. “The line is the basis for all drawing, so by learning this, students can see how the lines can be placed and curved in certain areas to appear as if they are coming off the page.” 


From The Buzz, Sept. 8, 2016

Acting Lotspeich

Imagination Abounds in Early Acting Classes

Children in creative dramatics teacher Russell White’s early acting classes can be anything—cave explorers, astronauts, living paintings. Students are transformed and use their creativity in White’s class, which he teaches to first through fifth graders at both Doherty and Lotspeich. According to White, children also gain a plethora of skills by practicing acting. “They learn about communication, verbal and non-verbal, problem-solving, working as a team, imagination, creative expression, self-expression, having empathy for others, and finding comfort when speaking or performing in front of an audience,” he said. Students put their acting skills to the test in the classroom with a variety of exercises, whether it’s by doing slow motion movie runs, or making the sounds one would hear at the beach.

Acting Doherty__________________________________________________________________________________


Foundational Lessons in Art Class

Seventh graders in Elissa Donovan’s art class completed projects in blind contour drawing and color mixing during their first two weeks of school. The students launched the school year with a unique drawing project, in which they were required to keep their eyes on the subject of their art and draw with one continuous line. Without lifting their hands off the page, the students drew sketches of a number of objects, including their hands, pictures of animals, and portraits of others. Donovan said the exercise allowed the students to train their hands and eyes to work together. “As their eyes traveled along the object, their hands tried to create the same path on the paper. They are focused on their object, not the paper, so it teaches them to really concentrate on what their eyes are seeing and replicate that path.” Donovan asks her students to complete the blind contouring in ink so they are not tempted to erase the images. In a separate project, Donovan’s seventh graders studied color mixing and color theory. The students created color wheels along with a palette that displayed the graduation of color from tint to shade. Donovan explained that the students were learning to mix colors based on value, intensity, and temperature. “This exercise expands the vocabulary for kids to be able to discuss and create color,” she said.



Studying the Scene

Eighth graders in Jacob Hauser’s theater class worked on solidifying scene study skills they learned in seventh grade and applied them to larger 10-minute pieces they will create as the directors, designers, and performers. During the first few weeks of the course, the students work on creating a cohesive ensemble and play various teambuilding games to foster trust, listening, and group focus. Hauser reintroduced this important set of skills with a game in which students passed around a “slap” on the floor. “They alternated hands as they made the movement, which made it challenging,” said Hauser. “The game is complicated with new rules allowing them to change the direction of the ‘slaps’ as they become more adept. It requires a deceptive amount of concentration and focus, and this transfers to their work throughout their productions and onto the stage.”




Sophomores and juniors in Daniel Vance’s art class are starting off the year learning and improving upon work with various forms of ceramics. Vance has asked the beginning and advanced students to pursue their interests while becoming more comfortable with the mechanisms and tools available in clay work. The students will work on coil pots, pinch pots, and wheel throwing. “I just want them to enjoy ceramics, hoping that they don’t have any hesitations working with certain forms of ceramics,” said Vance. “Ceramics is not easy. It takes a lot of skill and preparation. What is important right now is for the students to feel comfortable and confident with several aspects of this artform.”



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The Mind of a Photographer

A very honest discussion led to clear pointers, artful enlightenment, and a number of valuable insights during art teacher Jason Knarr’s photography class in early September. Critiquing his students’ projected photos, Knarr, along with his students, respectfully and thoughtfully commented on their classmates’ work. Knarr guided the discussion, allowing the students to hear his thoughts on certain images, such as what worked, why others were brilliant, why some reflected good risks, and why some fell flat. Students listened to their peers’ comments as well, and took mental notes of how to improve upon their visual composition for the next assignment. The subject of the work was the students’ first assignment of the year to capture images from their environments. Knarr offered a sometimes humorous but informative commentary interspersed with great advice for the young photographers—sunlight is always great, photos with symmetry are often too safe and boring, and perspective is everything.



Imagination Abounds in Early Acting Classes

Children in creative dramatics teacher Russell White’s early acting classes can be anything—cave explorers, astronauts, living paintings. Students are transformed and use their creativity in White’s class, which he teaches to first through fifth graders at both Doherty and Lotspeich. According to White, children also gain a plethora of skills by practicing acting. “They learn about communication, verbal and non-verbal, problem-solving, working as a team, imagination, creative expression, self-expression, having empathy for others, and finding comfort when speaking or performing in front of an audience,” he said. Students put their acting skills to the test in the classroom with a variety of exercises, whether it’s by doing slow motion movie runs, or making the sounds one would hear at the beach.



From The Buzz, June 6, 2016

Upper School ChoralSpring Choral Concert Pays Tribute to Seniors

The May 18 Spring Choral Concert highlighted outgoing Upper School seniors. The choir is directed by Tina Kuhlman, chair of Fine and Performing Arts Department, Upper and Middle schools music and speech teacher, with accompanist Lynne Miller. The Class of 2016 was featured during the chorus’ performance of the 1700s Irish folk song Parting Glass. Kuhlman presented roses to the outgoing students before the concert finished with the Seniors Tribute song, My Wish, by Rascal Flatts. As the seniors sang, a slideshow of their photographs, both old and current, played for the audience, adding a special touch to their final concert at Seven Hills. Kuhlman said the Seniors Tribute “has become a wonderful tradition” for the chorus. Chorus seniors include Catherine Bain, Margaret Cox, Jacob Feldman, Will Graber, Ada Huang, Andrea Johnston, Jake Lautman, Sydney Lewis, Sydney Miccoli, Mike Nazzaro, Kenneth Remaklus, Hayley Samson, Maddie Samson, and Olivia Silverman. The choir as a whole gave a strong performance as well. They sang an amazing rendition of Mozart’s 24-minute long Missa longa in C, and performed several jazz standards. Kuhlman highlighted Missa longa because of its difficulty. “The work is an exceptional, though rarely performed, piece of music that is at once challenging to learn and accessible for high school students to perform,” she said. Several members of the chorus took center stage during the Chamber Ensemble’s performance, singing solos in Fields of GoldIn My Life, and the Swahili Baba Yetu. Kuhlman said it’s gratifying to see students take on leadership roles. Click here to see more photos of the Spring Choral Concert.


Middle Instrumental

Middle School Instrumental Ensembles

Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the Middle School Instrumental Ensembles performed in Founders Hall May 15. John Rising, upper and middle schools music teacher, directed the three ensembles. The sixth grade opened the afternoon with Sword Dance, ending its set with Intensity, which, according to Rising, is the ensemble’s signature song. Seventh grade put its own twist on the Irish tune Selkie Legend, as well as Mozart’s A Little Night Music. Eighth grade ended the afternoon with an infectious medley of hits from The Beatles, and a rendition of The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black. The concert closed with the lively Mission Impossible theme. While students learned the pieces, they also pushed themselves to be better musicians and go beyond “right notes and right timing,” Rising said. In closing remarks, Middle School Head Bill Waskowitz echoed the sentiment, saying “John challenges his kids.” More photos of the ensembles’ performances can be found here.


Upper Instrumental 2

Upper School Symphonic and Contemporary Ensembles

On May 15, Founders Hall was filled with the sounds of instrumental music when the Upper School Symphonic and Contemporary Ensembles took the stage for their spring performance. The Symphonic Ensemble played a mix of pieces, such as a medley of music by the group Chicago and Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin. The Contemporary Ensemble left the audience tapping their toes, and even featured a vocal performance by junior Shelby Davis during The Letter. Several Seven Hills faculty members, including Upper School dean of students and math teacher David Brott, Middle School Phys. Ed. teacher Sue Bone, and Upper School math and science teacher Lenore Horner, joined the groups. John Rising, Upper and Middle schools music teachers, told the audience the educators show students that music can be a larger, lifelong commitment. Rising also took time during the concert to recognize several Symphonic Ensemble seniors for whom this would be their last performance at Seven Hills, including Alex Jiang, Nia Page, Steven Paul, Jai Williams, Claire Stewart, Alyssa Akiyama, and Clayton Hausberger, who is also a member of the Contemporary Ensemble. More photos of the ensembles’ performances can be found here.


Upper Art Show

Upper School Art Show

Donovan Arts Center gallery was even more colorful than usual during the May 15 art show. The gallery was filled with the work of many talented individuals in the Upper Schools second semester visual art class. Students shared their talents using a variety of mediums, from the traditional—photography, paint and canvas, and sculpture—to the less conventional—video and inflatable sculpture. Parents, faculty, and students viewed the show, presented by Upper School art teachers Jason Knarr and Daniel VanceClick here to view more photos from the art show.


Middle Choral 1

Middle School Choruses Sing the Hits

Parents and faculty packed the hall to enjoy music performed by the seventh and eighth grade chorus, as well as the sixth grade chorus. The choirs are directed by Tina Kuhlman, chair of Fine and Performing Arts Department, Upper and Middle schools music and speech teacher, with accompanist Lynne Miller. Kuhlman said the songs incorporate different lessons, such as sight-reading and rhythm reading, for all three grade levels. She told the audience the choruses have continued to develop since the first day of school. The evening featured hits from different decades and countries. The seventh and eight graders began the night with the Kenyan song, “Jambo.” The boys and girls performed separately, with the boys taking on “O Captain” and the girls “Bonny Wood Green.” The sixth grade opened its performance with another Kenyan song, “Ning Wendete.” They also put their own spin on French nonsense song “Chumbara,” at one point chanting “Waskowitz” in honor of Middle School Head Bill Waskowitz. The sixth graders closed the evening with The Beatles classic “Penny Lane.” The audience was invited to sing along for an extra rousing verse, and they responded with enthusiasm.

Middle Choral 2


Mummy 1

Art Project Takes Hands-on Approach to Ancient Egypt

The Barbie doll has had a lot of jobs—business woman, astronaut and even president—but second graders in art teacher Jody Knoop’s class recently took her back in time. In May, students learned about ancient Egyptians by creating mummies using Barbie dolls and plaster gauze. Knoop teaches the unit because of the importance of the culture. “The ancient Egyptians are crucial in the history of art,” she said. “I try to touch on a time in art history for each class, each year.” Before mummifying could begin, Knoop taught students about the importance of mummies to Egyptians. The ancient people believed the process would allow souls of the dead to recognize their bodies in the afterlife, she said. In previous classes, the students made sarcophagi, or coffins, drew ancient Egyptian people, and cracked a hieroglyphics code to make a secret sentence. To prepare for mummifications, students readied strips of gauze and cut off Barbie’s hair. The second graders then dipped the strips in water before wrapping them around their freshly sheared dolls.

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From The Buzz, May 13, 2016

IMG_6363Upper School Wows Audience with The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Upper School theater department delivered a winning production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood in late April. From the use of digital signage and audience participation to the energy and skill of the actors, the musical was a whirlwind of wit and dizzying talent. “Working on Drood was a very special experience,” said Upper School theater teacher Stepahanie Park. “Not only did this group of talented and dedicated students handle scorchingly difficult music and complicated staging, but they also embraced the show’s spirit of improvisation and ran with it. I have never seen students have more fun on stage, and their enjoyment was infectious with the audience!” Park and technical stage director Trey Tatum said the performances were made even more alive by the pins and needles anticipation of who would be the chosen murderer for that evening. As a nod to the largely senior student cast, Park added, “Perhaps most importantly, I believe that we all will miss the camaraderie generated by this wonderful cast and crew.” Click here to view photos from the musical.


DSC_1233Middle School Delivers Brilliant Performance of Elf The Musical, Jr.

Middle School students produced a stellar production of Elf The Musical, Jr. on May 6 and 7. The production, which was double-cast in order to give more students the opportunity to perform across a broader scope of characters, was beautifully executed with smooth transitions, witty timing, and loads of laughs. Congratulations to a hard-working double cast and to Middle School theater teacher Jacob Hauser.  Click here to view a gallery of photos from the musical.


DSC_0015Japan-China Day in Second Grade

Second graders shared the fruits of their knowledge gleaned during their studies in Lotspeich’s traditional unit on Japan and China, during the annual Japan-China Day show in the Red Barn. The students, directed by Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson and creative dramatics teacher Russell White, sang a number of songs in Japanese and Chinese, and acted out skits, poetry, and fables as their families in the audience looked on.


May 15 – Instrumental Concerts and Art Show

Middle and Upper School students will present the fruits of their hard work—hours of practice and hundreds of notes, sketch marks, idea planning, sculpting and brush strokes—during instrumental concerts and an Upper School art show on May 15. The art show will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Donovan Arts Center gallery. The Middle School concert will take place in Founder’s Hall at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Upper School concert, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing and hearing the works of our student artists. Thank you to our art teachers Jason Knarr and Daniel Vance, and to instrumental music teacher John Rising.


DSC_0060Students Perform in Sassmannshaus Recital and Beginners Class

Fifteen student instrumentalists in kindergarten through Upper School serenaded family and friends in the Lotspeich Library during the The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills spring recital in early May. As part of a new Lower School beginners class, an ensemble of Lower School musicians, which incorporated eight violinists, three violas, and one cello, performed several songs. Later in the program, each student played a string intstrument solo from a number of composers, including Mozart, Suzuki, von Weber, Seitz, Gossec, Becker, and Bayly. Several students also played traditional and folk music. The student musicians played under the direction of teachers Michaela Luchka and Lydia Woodin. The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills is part of the School’s After the Bell program.

The student musicians were: Isabelle Anthony, Nico Berger, Kailyn Brown, Nate Campos, Daniel Choi, Mark DeBlasio, Xavier Dejean, Josie Domet, Erin Finn, Annie Gaither, Arielle Lewis, Maya Little, Hannah Sprig, Margaret Tenney, Sohanna Thompson, and Anna Wabler. Congratulations, musicians! Click here to view a photo gallery of the recital.


From The Buzz, April 14, 2016

DSC_0869Fifth Grade Musical at Doherty

The Doherty fifth grade recently performed The Hundred Year Snooze, directed by Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon and creative dramatics teacher Russell White. The Hundred Year Snooze is a musical retelling of the classic fairytale of Sleeping Beauty. In this fun version, however, there is a princess who possesses gifts bestowed upon her by the kingdom’s Seven Graces: “beauty, wit and charm, grace and elegance, song, dance, and good math skills.” It’s a musical adventure for the Princess and her Kingdom when the Eighth Grace, who was not invited, crashes the Princess’s 15th birthday party. “The fifth graders enjoyed having a hand in all aspects of putting on a musical, from helping with costume and makeup, to creating the choreography to go along with the songs,” said Eynon. Many thanks to the fifth grade class, and to Eynon and White, for all of your hard work on this fantastical production! Click here to view photos from the musical revue.


DSC_0695 (2)Painting on the Horizon

Eighth graders recently built frames, stretched canvass, blended acrylics, and applied primer to produce brilliant horizons. Each student’s piece incorporated a variety of hues, from soft pastels to smoky southwest tones, to striking primaries. Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan said the project allowed students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the process of producing a painted piece because they created their pieces, from start to finish. The painting exercise also offered students a clearer understanding of the foundational work behind landscape paintings. “The students blended all of the colors and worked from the horizon lines, forward,” said Donovan.


DSC_0858Stylized Art in First and Fourth Grade

The halls of Lotspeich are adorned with eye-catching art created by Lower School students. Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop said fourth graders recently concluded their study of decoupage by applying the artform to the design of a plastic cup. “The decoupage project gave students the opportunity to look at magazine photos as colors and textures more than concentrating on the images,” said Knoop. “After collecting colors, students ripped the paper and brushed it onto the containers, creating a background.” The student artists finished their pieces with the application of a coat of high gloss varnish. Also displayed in the first and second-grade hallways is a gallery of first graders’ work, “City on a Lake,” “First graders worked on this project after learning the terms, ‘cityscape’ and ‘reflection’,” said Knoop. “The students created their pieces by drawing the top half of the paper in marker, adding water, and folding the paper to create a watery print. Said Knoop, “We were all excited to see how well it worked!”


From The Buzz, March 17, 2016

DSC_0496Orff instruments

Fourth graders on the Doherty Campus are using Orff instruments to play historic songs once sung by Underground Railroad workers to help slaves find the path to freedom. The music lesson, taught by Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon, is part of a unit on the Underground Railroad, which runs in conjunction with the same focus in the students’ social studies classes. Eynon is teaching the students that the songs incorporated a code message that allowed slaves to know when to travel and when trouble may be near.


DSC00306Instrumental Recital at Lotspeich

Lotspeich fourth graders recently participated in an instrumental recital, produced by music teacher Robin Wilson. The young student musicians, who played a variety of instruments, were Isabelle Anthony (violin), Kailyn Brown (piano), Nicholas Choo (cello), Nate Firestein (flute), Megha Gaitonde (piano), Hannah Sprigg (violin), Ermaan Srivastava (guitar), and Savita Thompson (piano). The students played music from a broad genre, including Puff the Magic Dragon, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and selections from the Star Wars score, to name a few.


DSC_0281Inflatable Sculptures

Upper School students used huge sheets of plastic as an art medium in early March, as they worked in groups to create inflatable sculptures, which were recently on display in the Donovan Arts Center lobby. Art teacher Daniel Vance said he designed the unique project, in part, to bring students together on a collaborative project. “The students worked in groups of four to make large inflatable structures by using plastic sheet material and tape and inflating them with box fans,” said Vance. “The general idea is just to get the kids working in a group, for them to brainstorm ideas, and also, to be able to compromise, while making a finished project that is physically larger than all the members of the group.”


DSC_0512 (1)Recorder Concert

Lotspeich students in grades three through five put on a beautiful concert using recorders and a number of percussion instruments in early March. Music teacher Robin Wilson led the musical group through a number of complex tunes that the students have worked on since the beginning of the school year.


From The Buzz, Feb. 25, 2016

DSC_0115Film Students Excel Using Professional Level Software

Students in Jason Knarr’s Film and Animation class are creating and producing short films using the professional Adobe Creative Suite to visualize and edit their work. In its fourth year, the Film and Animation class has provided students with cutting-edge film design and editing skills using professional software, such as Adobe Premiere and the suite of Adobe packages. With 15 iMac computers in his lab, Knarr said the students gain invaluable experience with the software, which allows them to work with a medium that is relevant to them. “With this generation, almost everything our students see moves,” said Knarr. “If they are going to be comfortable being creative, they have to have access to tools that are relevant to them, such as video photography, digital photography, gaming, and other current mediums. These are all so much a part of this generation’s aesthetics.” The computers are utilized in his Graphic Design and Digital Imaging classes as well. Knarr said he often hears from alumni who share they were moved up quickly in the ranks in internships and first jobs because, instead of having to learn professional graphics software, they were already proficient with it. Knarr said the professional technology offerings in his courses are made possible partly through monetary gifts from parents to the art department.


IMG_5547The Importance of Being Earnest

Congratulations to our students, faculty, and the fine and performing arts department, for putting on a lively performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. The eight-person cast put on a beautifully-timed performance, full of personality and passion. The play ran on Feb. 5 and 6. “In the Seven Hills production of The Importance of Being Earnest, the eight member cast had just over four weeks to master their roles,” said theater director Stephanie Park. Shelby Davis (junior) Kaleb Kemp (sophomore), Sophie Janidlo (sophomore), Jake Lautman (senior), George Long (sophomore), Matisse Peppet (junior), Kenneth Remaklus (senior), and Kaylan Young (senior) spent time developing their characters using style exercises and through intensive blocking rehearsals.  Kaleb and Abby Smith (both sophomores) put in many hours designing the elaborate costumes and hats. Ian Wilson (junior) designed the lights and Robert Hill-Guarino (sophomore) acted as stage manager.

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IMG_0101Welcome to India – Art Installation at Doherty

Third, fourth, and fifth graders are working on the annual 2016 art installation project entitled “Welcome to India.” Art teacher Mimi Stricker said the students are exploring India’s animals, places, and culture. Throughout the creative process, the students have formed teams, brainstormed, and researched their topics on India, which has incorporated sketching, engineering, and design. “The students have been able to transfer the ideas from their minds onto paper, and finally into real life 3D forms,” said Stricker. “They are working to construct their concepts with a sound foundation, balancing weight and gravity while working as a team and creating something fantastic.”


DSC_0117Third Grade Paddle Art

Canoe Paddle Art, by the Lotspeich third grade art classes, was created to compliment their classroom unit on Native Americans. Some students used design styles of the North West Coastal tribes while other students made their own design choices. Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop said the students were able to practice using their art medium on a wooden surface, which allowed them to better understand the basics of painting on fibrous material.


elf jr logoMiddle to Put on Elf The Musical, Jr.

The Middle School theater spring production of Elf The Musical, Jr., will have the school community feeling like it’s Christmas in May. The students are preparing for the musical, which is based on the movie Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Middle School theater teacher Jacob Hauser is very excited to direct this recently-released show and was incredibly impressed by the phenomenal turnout for auditions. “We are very lucky to have such a talented pool of actors, and this show has over forty parts that will give everyone an opportunity to shine,” said Hauser. “The movie became an instant Christmas classic, and the musical retains all of the warmth and fun. Plus it adds some catchy tunes that will have the audience humming all the way home.” Elf the Musical, Jr. is the story of a human raised in the North Pole by elves who returns to New York City to find his real dad. Hauser said the show will feature nearly 50 students on the stage, with dozens more working behind the scenes.


From The Buzz, Feb. 4, 2016

DSC_0321Art Students Explore Acrylics in Gray Scale

Upper School art students are learning the fundamentals of painting in grey scale in Daniel Vance’s art class. “This is a small painting assignment for the students to get their feet wet,” said Upper School art teacher Daniel Vance. “The students are working in black and white, learning how to use the paints and brushes without the worries of color. This allows us to focus on paint and brush handling.” Vance said the students are painting the images of black and white photos they took earlier, as part of a photography class with Upper School art teacher Jason Knarr. “We wanted the project to be completely owned by the students.” Vance said once the students feel comfortable with the grey scale painting, they will then advance to work with more color mixing.


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Upper School Winter Play

In the Seven Hills production of The Importance of Being Earnest, the eight-member cast had just under five weeks to master their roles. Sophomores Sophie Janidlo, Kaleb Kemp, and George Long, juniors Shelby Davis and Matisse Peppet, and seniors Jake Lautman, Kenneth Remaklus, and Kaylan Young, spent time developing their characters byincorporating style exercises and intensive blocking rehearsals. Kemp and sophomore Abby Smith both put in many hours designing the elaborate costumes and hats, while Junior Ian Wilson designed the lights. Sophomore Robert Hill-Guarino acted as stage manager. “The plot revolves around two wealthy London bachelors, each pretending to be a fictitious man called Earnest, both their lady loves having vowed only to marry a man possessing the above name,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “The intimidatingly gorgon-like Lady Bracknell interferes, and mayhem ensues.” Park said high farce and witty dialogue have helped make Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people” his most enduringly popular play.



Lower School Instrumental Music Concert

The Lotspeich fifth graders performed a variety of instruments during a morning assembly in late January. “We heard music of Bartok and Beethoven from Olivia Morris and Max Steinman on the piano, music from The Sound of Music and Taylor Swift by Josie Domet and Mark DeBlasio on the violin, and Kansas’ Dust in the Wind performed by Daniel Yi on the guitar,” said Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson.


Seven Hills Students Host Citywide Poetry Open Mic

The Seven Hills’ Louder than a Bomb team recently hosted a citywide open mic featuring some of Cincinnati’s best young poets in our very own Black Box Theater. Click here to read a review written by Maria Bobbitt-Chertock for Canvass, Seven Hills student e-newsletter.


From The Buzz, Jan. 14, 2016


Middle School Students Work with Ceramic Slabs

Seventh and Eighth graders are wrapping up their clay units in Elissa Donovan’s class. The units, which focused on constructing clay slabs, built on the students’ visual art skills from previous years, said Donovan, and incorporate advanced technical skills. “When you work with clay, you learn many techniques to build the pieces you need and learn how to properly attach them,” said Donovan. “When constructing with slabs the students must first roll out clay with rolling pins to a consistent thickness. Then they need to allow the clay to evaporate and reach the right consistency called ‘leather hard’ so they can build with it.” Donovan said eighth graders began their clay totem project by researching the characteristics of designs found in South Pacific and Pacific Northwest artwork. Seventh graders began their slab projects by researching Celtic knot designs. The students then crafted small boxes out of slab and carved them with intricate Celtic designs.



Seven Hills Alumnus Leads Instrumental Music Clinic

The Seven Hills School welcomed Seven Hills alumnus Ahmad Muhammad `06 and band Jaw Gems to Hillsdale Campus in early January. Jaw Gems, an up-and-coming beat music band based in Portland, Maine, performed throughout the day and held several music clinics with Middle and Upper school students. “I think the school should do it’s very best to offer the kids culturally rich, live arts experiences, especially when the music is new, fresh, and unique. “I invited Jaw Gems because Ahmad made such a huge difference and impact on the program when he was here and I want to do my best to support him and the ensemble in their music endeavors,” said Rising. “I was not surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reaction by the students (grades 6-12) and I know many of them were really into the whole experience. Music is a language that connects all of us and experiencing something new, refreshing and live is amazing for the brain, and, more importantly, the soul.”


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Learning the Art of Puppetry

As part of a step toward learning more structured theater techniques, kindergarteners are working with creative dramatics teacher Russell White to practice the art of puppetry. “The students know that the puppeteer’s job is to make the puppet they are using look alive on stage,” said White. “Kindergarteners are just starting to play with the puppets but they are also learning about techniques, such as lip syncing, focus, ambient movement, and entrances and exits.” White said the students are given an opportunity to expand on the improvisation rules they previously worked with in acting classes. During the puppetry unit all Doherty and Lotspeich students in kindergarten through fifth grade are involved in weekly classes.



Fourth Graders Draw Human Form

Using their classmates as models, fourth graders studied gesture drawing with Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker. “They learn how to “loosen up” their drawing skills and capture the human form through timed sessions,” said Stricker. The students started out with 30-second drawings and worked their way up to 10-minute sessions. The students have an awesome time posing for each other…some of the positions are quite challenging as they attempt to hold them for their time slot. “This exercise allows the students the freedom to draw without perfection,” said Stricker. “We throw that word out in the hall when we enter into the art room. It’s a time to explore, to imagine, and create.”


From The Buzz, Dec. 18, 2015

DSC_0954 (1)Upper School Art Show

The accomplished works of visual art students were on display in the Donovan Arts Center for the Upper School art show in December. The art on display ranged from line drawings to graphic design to ceramics and animation. The students’ work was presented by art teachers Jason Knarr and Daniel Vance. Dozens of students and families stopped by to enjoy the gallery. Please click here to take a closer look at some of the art in the show.


16USChoralWinter Choral Concert

Upper School students sang beautifully in the Winter Choral Concert in December. The students performed as a men’s chorus, a women’s chorus, in a joint format, as well as a chamber ensemble. The concert took place just after a whirlwind choral tour at the Doherty Campus, a visit to the Twin Lakes Retirement Community, then to the Lotspeich and Middle schools.


18MSSymphonicSymphonic Ensembles

Student musicians in the Middle and Upper School symphonic ensembles, as well as the contemporary ensemble, all directed by instrumental music teacher John Rising, played from a broad genre of compositions during their instrumental concerts in December. Please click here to view a video of the Middle School symphonic ensemble play a score from Star Wars.



Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 1.53.32 PMSecond Grade Holiday Concert

Second graders took the audience on a musical trip around the world during their holiday concert in December. Led by music teacher Robin Wilson, the students sang a number of festive songs describing Los Posadas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and Christmas. The students delighted the audience with a special number, Pickle in Tannenbaum, which describes a German family tradition that includes hiding a pickle in the Christmas tree. Congratulations to our second grade stars, Robin Wilson, and creative dramatics teacher Russell White!


DSC_0262Fourth Graders Sing at Talbert House

Fourth graders spread holiday cheer at the Talbert House 50th Anniversary Gala in November at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati. Congrats to the students and Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson and Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop, who accompanied them on mandolin.


DSC_0916Sixteen young string musicians performed beautifully in The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills strings recital in December. 


DSC_0113Holiday Concert at Doherty

Doherty students took audience members on a multicultural journey during their annual blockbuster holiday program in December. “Our songs focused on a number of cultural observances, from Las Posadas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas,” said Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon. Students from pre-kindergarten through Unit III fifth grade sang a number of selections with a culmination of an all-school sing-along. Congratulations to the students, Mrs. Eynon, and creative dramatics teacher Russell White. Click here to view photos from the Dec. 18 holiday program.


From The Buzz, Dec. 3, 2015

IMG_0559Stunning Performance of Maelstrom by Upper Theater

In a stunning performance that rocked sold-out audiences in the Black Box Theater, the Upper School theater cast delivered a winning original play Maelstrom, written by our technical theater teacher, Trey Tatum. The performance was directed by Upper School theater teacher, Stephanie Park. The performance may also be up for a nomination from the Cappies of Greater Cincinnati, a prestigious non-profit organization of student judges that seeks to inspire and advance the talent and creativity within high school theater. The Cappies awards are judged and named in the style of the Oscars. Click here to view a gallery of photos of Maelstrom taken by Seven Hills senior Jake Lautman.


DSC_0737Painting Study in Acrylics

The petite easels bearing tiny paintings of birds in the front hallway of Lotspeich are an eye-catching collection of the fifth grade’s study of acrylics. The 3”X3” pieces on canvass are the third part of the fifth graders painting unit, said Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop. The students created three acrylic paintings in three different styles, and three different sizes. “Painting this small was a challenge for the students, and a lot of fun,” said Knoop. “The students especially enjoyed adorning the little easels with pinecones and acorns!”


DSC_0741Holiday Instrumental Music Concerts – Dec. 3 & 6

Music is in the air throughout the DAC and beyond, as Middle and Upper School musicians prepare for a whirlwind of holiday performances. Instrumental music teacher John Rising and student musicians in the Middle and Upper symphonic ensembles, and contemporary ensemble, have been practicing for several weeks for their performances, which are sure to spread holiday cheer. The Upper symphonic ensemble performance is Dec. 3 at 7:00 pm and the Middle concert is Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4:00 pm.


T3g8IUGgjzC4PLwyyZ0m1UYI4ZG1GEEBeMJnJIhn2OADoherty Students Prepare for “Seasons of Celebration”

Doherty students will take audience members on a multicultural holiday journey during their annual blockbuster holiday program at 9 a.m. on Dec. 18. “This year we will be taking a holiday journey through song, harmony, and movement,” said Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon. “Our songs will focus on a number of cultural observances, from Las Posadas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas.” Students from pre-kindergarteners through Unit III fifth graders will sing a number of selections with a culmination of an all-school singalong of the Doherty traditional song, “It’s Christmas.”


From The Buzz, Nov. 19, 2015


Middle School Chorus Delivers Entertaining Performance

Congratulations to our Middle School Chorus for a fantastic performance. The vocal concert included a broad repertoire, from Bowie and Queen, to spirituals, to old world folk music. The concert also included a few numbers performed by the Upper School Chamber choir. Congrats to our Middle School students and to fine arts department chair Tina Kuhlman and accompanist Lynne Miller. Click here for a video of the sixth grade performance during the concert.


MAELSTROM ADVERTISEMENTUpper School Play – Maelstrom

The Upper School Theater department performs Maelstrom on the evening of Nov. 19, opening the show for their three-day run. Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park and theater technical director Trey Tatum said the students have worked, line by line, stitch by stitch, and step by step, to ensure a production that is sure to please and, rightfully, disturb. Park said she is pleased with the students’ attention to detail and commitment to their art to create costumes, design sets, and capture the tone and pace of the classic dark comedy, Maelstrom. The play will run at 8 p.m. on Nov. 20 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 21 in the Black Box theater on the Hillsdale Campus.


 IMG_6889Doherty Students’ Art Recently Displayed in Walnut Hills

As part of an ongoing, close-knit relationship with Open Door Ministry, students on the Doherty Campus recently participated in an October art show at The Church of the Advent in Walnut Hills, home to Open Door. “The Church of the Advent had a show entitled, ‘Art at the Advent, As We See It,’ an exhibit of fine art from many viewpoints,” said pre-kindergarten teacher Ginger Rubin, who is affiliated with the church. “They requested art from our students and Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker.” Rubin said the fifth grade Shoe project was perfect for the theme of the show. Every fifth grader had work displayed in the church’s chapel, which was the entrance to the rest of the artwork in the show. Stricker’s personal artwork was also on display in the chapel. “There was high praise from the many people who attended the show,” said Rubin.


From The Buzz, Oct. 30, 2015


Middle School Play a Haunting Success!

The Middle School Theater produced and performed the horrifically hilarious comedy Twisted Tales of Terror on Oct. 23 and 24. The 53-cast production delivered a strong, six-story tale that had the audience howling with laughter. “I was very pleased with the energy that all the students brought to their roles. Their enthusiasm really helped the comedy shine through,” said Middle School theater teacher Jacob Hauser. “It is easier for the audience to laugh when they know the cast is having a good time.”


Image-4Students Design Costumes for Maelstrom

The hard work that goes into a play starts with the first step onto the practice stage – and the first stitch. Upper School theater students and theater teacher Stephanie Park are working, stitch-by-stitch, to create the costumes, set design, tone, and pace for the classic dark comedy Maelstrom. Park and theater technical director Trey Tatum said the students, and the entire school community, have donated random items, which are being used to turn the Black Box into a convincingly eerie, mysterious set.


DSC_0413Fifth Graders Put on Spectacular Show!

Dazzling the audience with show-stopping tunes, Lotspeich fifth graders put on a spectacular revue entitled, “Broadway Beat.” The students performed a number of songs from various musicals, including The King and I, Rent, Wicked, The Music Man, Grease, A Chorus Line, and Hairspray. Congratulations to our fifth grade artists, music teacher Robin Wilson, and Lower School drama teacher Russell White, who wrote the script. Wilson said the students have been working on their performances since the start of school.


Glass Art for Insect Day

Sixth graders recently learned how to score, cut, and shape sheet glass. The students’ latest project required the students to understand the molecular makeup of glass before they manipulated the small glass pieces with candle flames, said Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan. The structures of the insect sculptures were then fused together in Donovan’s kiln. The eye-catching glass insects are on display near the Middle School entrance for Insect Day in late October.


From The Buzz, Oct. 15, 2015


Slide1Middle School Play – Oct. 23

The Middle School Theater is gearing up for their first production – a season-worthy play entitled Twisted Tales of Terror. Don’t let the title of the play fool you. Rather than the grisly, blood-curdling Halloween scenes you would expect, the 53-student cast will put on six classic horror stories that all have a comedic spin or “twist,” said theater teacher Jacob Hauser. “Our students have put no less than 80 hours of practice into this production,” said Hauser. “This production has been great for our student artists because, with the six individual story lines, a number of students have had the opportunity to play lead roles.” The production opens at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23, and concludes on Oct. 24.



Traditional and Virtual Drumming

Units I, II and III have been working on reading rhythm patterns and working in small groups with hand, conga, tom, and bass drums. Doherty music teacher Maria Eynon said Unit II students are working toward taking their drumming from conventional instruments (hand drums, congas, toms, and bass drum) to nontraditional ones (found objects) similar to STOMP. Unit III will be taking their drumming into the virtual world using the classroom iPads.


A Look inside the Practice Room – Chorus

Students who perform in chorus spend dozens of hours to memorize lyrics, hit the right pitch, work collaboratively, and put the right tone into their art form. Choral director and fine arts chair Tina Kuhlman invited us into one of her Middle School choral classes where it all begins. Kuhlman said students are currently working on a number of songs and techniques that will be performed during upcoming holiday performances. Click here to view a video of Kuhlman and her students during choral practice.


DSC_0160Picket Fence Friends

A trip to the Leyman Science Center from the Lotspeich building reveals a wall of friendly faces. The paintings on recycled wooden planks, which have been mounted on a white picket fence, bear the colorful images of the fifth grade artists who painted them. Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop said she had the picket fence available and started thinking of ways to use the structure with her fifth-graders. “We are learning to paint on flat surfaces, and learning that we can add shadow and light to create three-dimensional images,” said Knoop. “It is also beautiful to see the diversity present throughout our student body, through the lens of the art form.”


From The Buzz, Sept. 24, 2015

IMG_4048Learning Silent Improvisation

Although the Middle School theater studio has been very quiet lately, the room has been full of students in action. Middle School theater teacher Jacob Hauser asked his students to develop their silent acting skills in a recent workshop. As part of the exercise, students performed short silent scenes that included situations in which speaking was unnecessary or not permitted. The students were required to establish their role, setting, and action in complete silence. “Beginning actors generally want the script to do all of their work,” said Hauser. “Improvisation allows them to focus on their tools of body, voice, and imagination.” Hauser said the sixth-grade theater class is based completely on improvisation.



Nine to play in Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras

Nine students, violinists Samantha Chun, Nick Purple, Aishwarya Varma (also viola), Kathy Wang, and Sarah Zhang; cellists Nina Fatuzzo, Ada Huang, Meg Yuan; and violist Max Yuan, were selected to play in the highly competitive Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras, (CSYO). Under the umbrella of CSYO, Chun, Fatuzzo, Huang, Purple, Wang, and Yuan will play in the Philharmonic Orchestra, while Varma, Yuan, and Zhang will play in the Concert Orchestra. The CSYO holds auditions for student musicians in grades 9-12, and in grades 7-12, for the CSYO Concert Orchestra. The CSYO, under the direction of CSO Assistant Conductor William C. White, is composed of students in grades 9-12 who represent more than 30 high schools in southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky. Performances for both orchestras are scheduled at Music Hall for December 13, 2015, March 13, 2016, and May 30, 2016.


Evolution of Dance

Fifth graders on the Doherty Campus are learning steps for and rehearsing the Doherty Evolution of Dance at the Homecoming Pep Assembly this Friday. Doherty Campus Lower School music teacher Maria Eynon said the fifth graders have been working on a number of dances from the 1950’s to now, including the Hand Jive, Twist, Popcorn Dance, Cotton Eye Joe, Electric Slide, Cha Cha Slide, and Cupid Shuffle. Eynon said the students are looking forward to performing during a special Homecoming event, in which the fifth graders are introduced during a morning pep rally assembly at 8:45 a.m., Friday, Sept. 25, on the Doherty Campus.


From The Buzz, Sept. 11, 2015


Collaborative Art!

Starting off their project from the very first day of school, Middle School students built a brilliantly appointed Seven Hills float that adorned the Kennedy Heights Arts Center parade to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Kennedy Heights Cultural Campus in Kennedy Heights on August 29! Art teacher Elissa Donovan explained that students applied papier mache and paint to bouncy balls, added a few PVC pipes and tubes to each and created Stingerbee “bodies” to attach to the float. Collaborative art is a central part of Donovan’s extensive arts curriculum. The students also constructed the float and several participated in the parade!


DSC_0659Slab Built Pottery

Students in Daniel Vance’s art class recently began working on slab built pottery projects – an art that requires a lot of physical effort and patience from the artist. “Essentially the problem was to make a piece of ceramics that is more than 18” in length for the advanced students, and 12” in length for the beginning students,” said Vance. “The piece is built using slabs of clay, which are slipped using a slab roller, and scored together.” Vance said the students are focusing primarily on construction techniques, which will allow the young artists to decide the aesthetics of their pieces.


DSC_0664Line Drawing

Students in Jason Knarr’s class started off the year with a very technical, meticulous artform – line drawing, styled after famous artists, such as Albrecht Dürer. The artform requires students to only use straight lines to create their image which requires a great deal of concentration and skill. “It’s an eye-hand coordination technique,” said Knarr. “It’s contour drawing, they’re not allowed to shade. It’s more about describing the detail with a pure line rather than shading and mottling.” Knarr said students will continue to work on the basics of line drawing as a foundational skill before moving on to more complex projects.


DSC_0682Weaver Fish

As part of a study on dimensionality and texture, second graders in Jody Knoop’s art class recently completed a project entitled “Weaver Fish.” “With the ceramic weaver fish, they combined two very different textures,” said Knoop. “They also learned how to make a simple loom and weave into it. It was two lessons in one, and they loved it!” The Weaver Fish are on display in the front hallway of Lotspeich.


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From The Buzz, June 11, 2015

DSC_0329Bach & Boombox Founder Visits Seven Hills

Renowned local cellist and founder of Bach & Boombox Nathaniel Chaitken presented a riveting musical education class to Middle School students in May. Chaitken, a local musician who was a regular cellist at the White House. shared selections from his varied oeuvre, which spans modern to baroque. His curriculum, which seeks to breakdown the commonalities between pop music and classical, was invited by instrumental music teacher John Rising and enthusiastically received by students and who asked several questions and enjoyed hearing Chaitken’s brilliant performances in Hillsdale Commons.


DSC_0654Shedding Light on Amazing Art

Lotspeich fifth graders designed spectacular functioning lamps in the forms of everything from pandas and serpents as part of an art-meets-engineering class with Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop. The unique works of art were on display in the Lotspeich corridor.


223376Upper School Theater Brings Home Cappies Win

After receiving eight first-time Cappies nominations, including “Best Musical,” The Seven Hills Upper School cast and crew of Nice Work if You Can Get It performed at the Aronoff Center on May 22. Freshman Kaleb Kemp brought home a Cappies win for “Best Supporting Actor,” for his debut role as Cookie McGee, a tremendous accomplishment for Kemp, the entire cast and crew, and Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “All of the students were very excited to perform on the Aronoff stage,” said Park. It was an extremely validating experience for everyone to have our work recognized by an outside audience.” Read the Cincinnati Enquirer article about the Cappies awards here.


Will Graber
Will Graber

Juniors to Appear in Opera Showcase

Seven Hills juniors Will Graber and Claire Piorkowski are among 23 local high school performers selected to appear in the Young Artist’s Preparatory Program (YAPP) summer showcase, Cincinnati’s premiere apprentice program designed for exceptional vocal performers between 14 and 18 years of age. The program, which is taught exclusively through Cincinnati’s Musical Arts Center – one of very few high school opera programs in the United States – culminates in an annual showcase performance. This year’s participants come from all over the Greater Cincinnati area, representing 18 local communities and 15 different high schools. Many have been recognized for their talent – over half of them are Cincinnati Arts Association Overture Awards winners, finalists and semifinalists. This year’s showcase includes scenes from Mozart’s Magic Flute and Cosi Fan Tutte, Bizet’s Carmen, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and others. Performances take place at the Anderson Center on June 11, 12 and 14. Tickets are available via Musical Arts Center (513-321-2766) and at the door.

Claire Piorkowski
Claire Piorkowski



Collaborative Art Installation on Doherty Campus

As part of Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker’s annual collaborative art installation, third, fourth, and fifth graders worked in groups to create a beach-themed scene of animals, ocean life, people and things out of recycled trash. Using cardboard boxes, cans, newspaper, and several other materials, the students constructed, plastered, and painted their cool pieces of artwork. The students conceptualized designs, sketched out their ideas, and then turned their visions into a 3D piece of artwork. Stricker said the students exercised teamwork and the ability to accept the risks being taken in their groups, while establishing a collective product. “Our students’ eyes lit up when they saw how their artwork played a part in the big art installation,” said Stricker. “This is what art is all about!” Click here to see students at work on the collaborative art project.


DSC_0061Middle and Upper School Choral Ensembles

The Middle choral ensembles performed last week and Upper ensembles performed Tuesday evening. The students sang a number of complex tunes, which ranged from the sixth grade’s hip medley of pop culture tunes, to traditional folk tunes, to beautiful nonsensical operatic lyrics, to an emotional “On My Way,” by Phil Collins, performed by the seniors at the conclusion of the program. Congratulations and thank you to our Middle and Upper School choral ensembles, choral director and fine arts department chair Tina Kuhlman, and accompanist Lynne Miller. Click here to view the Middle School program and name listings. Click here to view Upper School Chorus name listings. Click here to view a gallery of photos from the Middle and Upper School choral performances.




Middle and Upper School Symphonic and Contemporary Ensembles

Dozens of talented musicians shared the melodic fruits of their yearlong efforts on May 17 in Founders Hall. The Middle School ensembles played a number of works, including Stone Age Stomp by Timothy Loest and It Don’t Mean a Thing by Duke Ellington. The chamber ensemble played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart and the Upper School ensembles played a number of pieces, which ranged from the James Bond Suite to songs by Led Zeppelin to Caravan by Juan Tizol. Congratulations to our talented student instrumental musicians and instrumental music teacher John Rising. Click here to view the Middle School instrumental ensemble program and listings. Click here to view the Upper School instrumental ensembles and name listings. Click here to view photos from the concerts.



From The Buzz, May 14, 2015

DSC_0711Upper’s Nice Work Claims 8 Cappies Nominations – Students to Perform at Aronoff

S’Wonderful! The Upper School musical performance of Nice Work if You Can Get it was DELISHIOUS! Congrats to the stellar cast and theater teacher Stephanie Park. The production was so beautifully executed, it grabbed a Cincinnati Cappies nomination for for “Best Musical.” Our students will perform an excerpt of the show during a Cappies gala on stage at the Aronoff Center on May 22. Upper School theater students at The Seven Hills School recently claimed eight nominations, including “Best Musical,” for their recent performance of the musical Nice Work if You Can Get It. The students’ portrayal of the comedic tale of social dichotomies during the prohibition-era also earned them the privilege of an opportunity to perform at the Aronoff Center on May 22. Tickets can be purchased to attend the gala and show from the Aronoff Center box office either in person or online at “We are thrilled to receive this prestigious recognition for our students’ tireless efforts and hardwork on and off the stage,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “It is an honor to receive eight Cappies nominations, including Best Musical, and we are looking forward to performing on stage at the Aronoff.” The Aronoff performance will take place during the Cappies gala, during which winners will be announced. Click here to view photos from Nice Work if You Can Get It.

DSC_0949 2Seven Hills CAPPIES nominations for Nice Work if You Can Get It:

  • BEST MUSICAL!! – The Seven Hills School Upper School Theater
  • Lead Actress in a Musical: Maria Bobbitt
  • Supporting Actor in a Musical: Kaleb Kemp
  • Supporting Actress in a Musical: Kaylan Young
  • Male Vocalist: Kenneth Remaklus
  • Featured Actor in a Musical: Jeff Welch
  • Featured Actress in a Musical: Kate Murphy
  • Lighting: Ian Wilson


DSC_0767Lion King

Performing for a sold-out Friday night show and a nearly sold out second performance, the Middle School theater group – Seven Stars Theater – delivered an exceptional performance of Disney’s The Lion King Jr. in early May. The creative, interpretive costuming and unique props, including life-size puppets crafted by Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan and her seventh and eighth grade students, enhanced the sophistication to the production. The student’s acting and singing abilities showcased the talent and dedication of the cast. Congratulations to Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon, her student cast, and the faculty and students who worked behind the scenes. Click here to view a Playbill listing of the production. Click for a gallery of images from the musical


P1000970Il Palio di Siena

While studying Italy for Cultural Connections week, kindergarteners, first graders, and third and fourth graders on the Doherty Campus learned about the history of a very unique horse race, Il Palio di Siena. Students studied the race with librarian Linda Wolfe and Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker in a cross-curricular project. They read about the Palio races in Siena, Italy, with Wolfe and worked in groups to create their horse, rider, and their contrade (similar to a crest or shield). Students also learned that the Palio is the only horse race that runs clockwise. “They spent a lot of time learning about this event and how to draw horses and riders. Unique contrades were created to represent their groups. The entire school enjoyed walking through these races and spectators each day as they journeyed through the hallways.


Students Produce One-Act Plays

Students in Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park’s advanced production class presented their work during a one-act play festival in early May. The following students recently produced and directed plays in the Donovan Arts Center Black Box theater:

  • Junior Maria Bobbitt presented Apres Opera with cast members Jake Moses, Kate Murphy, Kenneth Remaklus and Kaylan Young.
  • Senior Mitch Polonsky presented “Krapps Last Tape.” The cast member was George Karamanoukian.
  • Senior Kate Murphy presented “The Green Hill.” The cast members were Natalie Lucas, Mitch Polonsky, Mary Grace Ramsay and Kelen Thalinger.



IMG_1326Learning about Natural Fiber through Art

After watching Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop shear Lana the sheep, third graders artfully took a little bit of Lana’s winter coat home with them. Using Lana’s cleaned, carded, and spun wool from the year before, students created small sheep figurines. The students molded the figurines out of clay. Once the figurines were removed from the kiln, they wrapped them in a handful of wool and added water. Once the water had been applied to the figurine, the students pressed the wool around the figurine. Students learned about the shrinking properties of as they watched the figurines dry. They added finishing touches by gluing on jewel-like beads for the eyes.



From The Buzz, April 16, 2015

20150410_100823Performing Arts Students Tour Chicago

Fine arts department chair Tina Kuhlman said students attended performances at the Performing arts students took a four-day tour of Chicago’s art world in early April. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Lyric Opera, Apollo Theater, and Art Institute. The students, accompanied by Kuhlman, Upper School dean of students David Brott, and instrumental music teacher John Rising, also had an opportunity to participate in a clinic with the Second City comedy improvisation performers. Said Kuhlman, “The performances and workshop we attended were of such a high quality that everyone got so much out of it, and had such a great experience. I’m ready to go back!”


DSC_0208Industrial Design in 3D

Students in Jason Knarr’s graphic arts class are learning about and applying their knowledge of industrial design. “We are learning how to use 3D software to create designs, which we will print on our 3D printer,” said Knarr “Last semester we experimented with furniture design.” Knarr said his students also used 3D software to create and print perfume bottles. He also plans to put students’ art to work – Knarr said he plans to install in the art studio cabinet pulls that the students are currently designing.


The Tempest Program3_663_Shakespeare in the Park

Seven Hills Middle School theater students, The Seven Stars Theater Company, will perform their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest at 11 a.m. on Sat., April 18, at the Washington Park Civic Lawn as part of The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s PROJECT38 free Shakespeare Festival. Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon invites families to bring a picnic and a blanket and come to support the middle school actors and enjoy a live 1940’s radio show version of The Tempest. The show runs about 90 minutes.


Disney’s The Lion King Junior Tickets Now on Sale!

The Seven Stars Theater Company is excited to announce that tickets are on sale for their production of Disney’s The Lion King Junior! “We are one of the first groups in the United States to have the opportunity to produce an abridged version of The Lion King and are very excited about the production,” said Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon. The Lion King features a cast of 46 students with sets, costumes, and props created by the 7th and 8th grade art classes and 8th grade theater classes. Tickets are $5 and are available from Click on “Buy Tickets” on the left side of the page, then type “Seven Hills” into the search box to purchase tickets to the show.


From The Buzz, March 12, 2015

unknownSenior Performs in All-State Orchestra

For the third year in a row, string bassist Christopher Janidlo has been selected to perform and represent Seven Hills in the All-State Orchestra. Janidlo, who recently traveled to Cleveland to participate in his third stellar year, spent three days rehearsing with this prestigious orchestra composed of the best orchestral musicians in the state. The orchestra played Triumphal March by Verdi, Wild Dove by Dvorak, and A Spanish Dance by Manuel de Falla. Janidlo, who is becoming an all-state veteran, said he especially enjoyed working with this year’s conductor Jeffrey Grogan of New Jersey, for his “palpable love of music and its power to tell stories.” He also said the conductor had a talent to corral what is sometimes difficult for any conductor to do: “Believe it or not, the hardest volume to play – especially for talented high-schoolers who just want to play loudly all the time – is quiet,” said Janidlo. “The conductor got us to play quieter than I think any orchestra I’ve ever been in.” Instrumental music teacher John Rising called Janidlo’s placement as second chair in the string bass section in the All-State orchestra “a really big deal and an amazing accomplishment.” Next year’s All-State performance will take place in Cincinnati.


IMG_6376Schoolhouse Symphony

Pre-kindergarten through first grade students on the Doherty and Hillsdale campuses participated in another lesson on the science of instruments with the professional musicians of Schoolhouse Symphony in February and early March. The students, accompanied by their teachers and music teachers Maria Eynon and Robin Wilson, listened to a welcoming arrangement by the sextet. The musicians then broke down the mechanics of their instruments – flute, violin, clarinet, cello, French horn, and tuba – and explained the concept of vibration and how to make vibration occur within the chambers of the instruments. The students gained a clearer understanding of the inner workings of each instrument and participated by singing along with the musicians.



From The Buzz, Feb. 26, 2015

FullSizeRenderStaying Warm with Art

Art teacher Jody Knoop’s early February unit on crocheting could not have come at a more perfect time, with temperatures dropping to sub-zero during this month. As soon as students completed their utilitarian assignments of crocheting their own warm fuzzy accessories, they reaped immediate rewards by wearing their art. “They love this project and it is so practical,” said Knoop. “The students crocheted hats and scarves mostly. This is a skill they will never forget and can use again and again.”


pages 3-25B FINAL.indd

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Nine faculty members and six students performed in two lively mid-February productions of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. “Putting together this piece was an exciting process,” said Upper School Theater teacher Stephanie Park. “Not only did we have the opportunity to work with a smaller cast of students, we also were able to allow students and teachers to relate and work with each other in an entirely new way. It was a unique collaborative effort.” Park said, along with rehearsing for Putnam Spelling Bee, many of her theater II students have been simultaneously working with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company to create an audio book for Pericles, Prince of Tyre. “Shakespeare Company teaching artist Caitlyn McWethy continues to visit us to help students discover how to use the speaking voice to portray a wide range of characters,” said Park. Seven Hills’ theater students’ audiobook version of Pericles will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on April 19, at the Washington Park Bandstand.


overtureOverture Awards

Several students recently represented Seven Hills in the semi-final rounds of the Cincinnati Arts Association Overture Awards, a program that recognizes, encourages, and rewards excellence in the arts among Tri-state students in grades 9-12. The Overture Awards is the area’s largest solo arts competition and offers scholarships in six artistic disciplines: creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theater, visual art, and vocal music. Students who officially represented Seven Hills were junior Nia Page, creative writing; junior Mekhala Rao, folk and ethnic dance; senior Mitch Polonsky, musical theater; junior Kenneth Remaklus, musical theater; sophomore Natalie Lucas, visual art; and sophomore Devi Namboodori, instrumental violin. In addition, junior Will Graber represented Lincoln Chapman Studio for musical theater. Junior Claire Piorkowski represented the Musical Arts Center for vocal music.


lionMiddle School to Perform Lion King

Seven Hills Middle School’s Seven Stars Theater Company “just can’t wait” for their spring production of Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. on May 8 and 9 in Founders Hall. “We are so excited to be one of the first nonprofessional productions of this incredible story in the country!” said Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon. Seven Hills production of Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. will feature a cast of talented sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. Stay tuned for more information about this amazing production.


The Tempest Program3_663_The Tempest

As part of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s PROJECT38 endeavor, the Middle School theater group, Seven Stars Theater Company, produced William Shakespeare’s The Tempest on Feb. 20. “The students did an excellent job of interpreting the characters and turn of events in this 17th century tale of revenge,” said Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon. Although the second performance was canceled due to inclement weather, theatergoers will have another chance to see the production at 11 a.m. on April 18, at the Washington Park Bandstand. The students will present the play as part of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s PROJECT38 festival in Downtown Cincinnati this spring.


From The Buzz, Jan. 29, 2015

unnamed (2)Junior Theater Festival

Middle School students excelled in their performances at the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, GA. in mid-January. Eighth grader Drew Vecellio and seventh grader Courtney Hammonds won All Star Cast Awards. The Seven Hills group also was one of eight groups out of 101 to receive an Outstanding Student Choreography award. Students also came face to face with a number of celebrities, such as Thomas Schumacher, the head of Disney Theatrical, singer and actress Megan Hilty, Frozen writer Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Darren Criss of Glee. “The students had an amazing time,” said Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon. “This was a really big deal and there were kids from 26 states and three countries in attendance. We were the only school from Ohio to attend.”

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theater_masks_silhouetteUpper School Spring Musical

The cast for the Upper School spring musical ensemble for Nice Work if You Can Get It is currently working hard on learning the choreography. The students are working with two student choreographers from Northern Kentucky University – Maddie Burgoon and Molly Watson. “The students are working extremely hard, and several are pulling double duty,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “Juniors Maria Bobbitt and Kenneth Remaklus, sophomore Emily McLennan, and freshman Brett Miller are rehearsing simultaneously for two productions – Nice Work if You Can Get It in April and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Feb. 6.”


P1000292Fifth Grade Instrumental Concert

Congratulations to the fifth graders who performed instrumental recitals at a recent morning assembly in January. Music teacher Robin Wilson said each grade will hold a recital, including fourth grade on Feb. 9; third grade on March 16; second grade on April 13; and first grade on May 11. Click here to view pictures from the January recital.


Ellen Lu
Ellen Lu

Senior Flautist Excels in Honor Bands

Congratulations to senior Ellen Lu, who has spent most of January playing in two different honor bands. The first was hosted at Xavier University and the second at NKU, both part of the tri-state honor band symposium. “Ellen received second chair by audition, which is quite an achievement,” said Middle and Upper School music teacher John Rising. “She is a fantastic musician. Making these honor bands is a big deal!” The Tri-State Honor Band Symposium is billed as a program for the area’s finest student wind and percussion players and their directors.


pages 3-25B FINAL.inddTeachers and Students to Act Together in One-Time Show

Want to see Seven Hills faculty, such as Head of Middle School Bill Waskowitz, Upper School Dean of Students David Brott, and Fine Arts chair Tina Kuhlman on stage? Email for your free tickets to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Blackbox. Only 150 tickets available! Check out the star-studded cast at –


From The Buzz, Jan. 15, 2015


Middle School Art in Clay

Elissa Donovan’s Middle School art students recently used clay as a medium for a number of projects. While eighth graders made masks, seventh graders crafted food objects out of clay, following guidelines to represent the texture, dimensions, and color of the actual foods depicted in their artwork. Sixth graders designed whistles using the art of hand building. The students learned the physics of whistles as they all began by creating the same teardrop shape that allows air to move through the chamber to create a whistling sound. Once they crafted the whistle, they embellished them, turning them into birds, rabbits, flowers, and many other colorful objects.


2015 JTF Group

Junior Theater Festival

Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon will take 14 Middle School theater students to the prestigious Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta on Jan. 16 – 18. Damon said the students will present 15 minutes of The Music Man. Seven Hills students will join students and teachers from 101 educational musical theatre groups — representing 26 states, the district of Columbia and two countries, held Jan. 16-18, 2015, at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta. Seven Hills students performing at the festival are: Terrence Cooney-Waterhouse, Linley Dawson, Malika Dinan, Evan Flagel, Jake Groom, Annie Halonen, Courtney Hammonds, Amy Lacey, Hannah Levin, Rachel Michelman, Bridget Mulica, Sophia Mulica, Madison Peltier, Drew Vecellio. Click here to read more about the trip in this recent Playbill article.


Upper School Spring Musical

The cast list is in for the Upper School spring musical Nice Work if You Can Get it.The setting of the story is in New York during Prohibition. It is a hilarious comedy featuring the fabulous music of George Gershwin,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park, adding that students would be working with a professional choreographer. “Expect to see some exciting dance routines.” Click here to view the full cast list of 29.



Unique Choreography Lesson

Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park invited professional local fight choreographer John Baca to run a fight choreography clinic with her Theater I students. Park said fight scenes often need to be taught to appear natural on stage. The lessons will be something her younger students can build upon throughout their theater careers on and off campus. Park’s students used lightsabers as props during their combat lessons.


From The Buzz, Dec. 19, 2014


Upper School Symphonic and Contemporary Ensemble Concert

Upper School student musicians played a number of exhilarating tunes for a packed room in early December. The symphonic ensemble played nine pieces that ranged from a piece entitled Seven Hills Overture by John Fannin to an artful suite of English Folk songs. The contemporary ensemble played a beautifully executed run of six jazz songs, which included pieces from Bobby Hebb, Thelonious Monk, Pete Townsend, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. The jazz songs also featured a number of breakout solos from an impressive group of jazz artists. Congratulations to our stellar musicians and instrumental music teacher John Rising. Click here to view pictures from the performance.

Symphonic Musicians:

Flute – Alayna Choo, Micah Cummings, Harper Duncan, Rebekah Jonas, Ellen Lu, Ellie Pasquale, Piper Spooner, Claire Stewart, Juliana Yip-Ono

Clarinet – Ben Agin, Lukas Geiger, Austin Murph, Jessica Nordlund, Jacob Weinstein, Nicolas Williams, Jai Williams

Violin – Stefan Antonnson, scott Arnold, Lena Bauer Leah Blatt, Samantha Chun, Maliq Lee, Matthew Maring, Drew Miccoli, Devi Namboodiri, Anni Varatharajah, Sean Yoshitomi-Gray

Viola – Connor Barhart

Alto Sax – Alyssa Akiyama, Micahel Barresi, Daniel Sauers

Tenor Sax – Clay Hausberger

Cello – Nina Fatuzzo, Alex Jiang, Nia Page, Steven Paul

Keyboard – Jonathan Harsh, Carly Jones, Louann Kovach, Vaibhav Vagal

Percussion – Nicole Barresi, Esther Kim, Charles King, Patrick Samah, Curtis Sun

Contemporary Musicians

Alto Sax – Timothy Cawdrey, Daniel Grass, Ben Schiff, John Stewart, Jeff Welch, Corey Wilson

Tenor Sax – Calin Arbenz, Clay Hausberger,

Flute – Clay Hausberger

Baritone Sax – Calvin Arbenz, Clay Hausberger

Trumpet – Matthew Clayton

Piano – Evan Smithers, Quinn Shim

Vibraphone – Micha Bachrach

Guitar – Eliza Clark, Quinn Hoffman, George Karamanoukian, Jack Lane, Brett Miller, Alex Smith

Bass – Chris Janidlo

Percussion – Brian Goertemoeller, Jeremiah Weaver




Middle School Instrumental Ensemble Concert

The Middle School instrumental ensembles dazzled the audience with a number of selections that stretched across the globe. The talented musicians played several songs of American, Latin, and African origin, as well as classical and folk music. Congratulations to our student musicians and instrumental music teacher John Rising, who included on the Middle School program a quote from Plato that states, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Click here to view pictures from the Middle School performance:

Instrumental Ensemble performers:

Sixth Grade:

Flute – Helena Godsman

Violin – Shriya Kilaru

Alto Sax – Wes Gardner

Trumpet – Garrett O’Brien

Cello – Caroline Chalmers, Meg Yuan

Bass – Matthew Coulson

Guitar – Lara Geiger, William Hawgood, Max Maislin, Max Setzer

Piano – Emma Cohen, Bart Cooper, Zachary Domet, Kurt Drath, Kylee Ellis, Lucy Maras, Aaron Ziegler

Mallet Percussion – Aidan Finn, Kavin Loganathan

Percussion – Michael Fitzgerald, Matthew Harrington, George Hausberger, Luc Robinson, Scott Williams, Benjaim Yoo

Seventh Grade

Flute – Ella Samaha

Violin – Emma Dorsch, Adam Firestein, Yash Gaitonde, Aliyah Murph, Anika Parameswaran, Eleanor Yi

Clarinet – Rosalind Roland

Alto Sax – Henry Cook

Trumpet – Kyle Plush

Guitar – Krish Gupta, Stephen Walsh

Mallet Percussion – Jonathan Bennett

Piano – Santosh Hanumanthu, Naina Manocha, Nina Martinez Diers, Christian Mueller, Rohan Patil, Matthew Wabler, Kevin Wang

Percussion – Camden Finney, Alex Grass, Ethan Stanley

Eighth grade

Flute – Leanna Yuan

Clarinet – Sussan Spooner

Violin – Avery Dorsch, Claire Harrison, Aryan Katneni, Chris Nathan

Viola – Max Yuan

Alto Sax – Michael Nordlund

Tenor Sax – Rohan Sachdeva

Trombone – Patrick Kilcoyne

Bass – Andrew Santamarina

Guitar – Evan Flagel, Greg Kalin, Luke Keller, Max Lane

Mallet Percussion – Neil Badlani, Polyxeni Drath, Amisha Mittal

Piano – Charles Clark, Siddhant Gupta, Jamie Holcomb, Felix Karthik

Maya Patel, Emma Schneider

Accordion – Antoine Langreé

Percussion – Dominic Keller, Jonas Keller, Keelan Parlier


DSC_0891Upper School Winter Choral Concert and Tour

The Upper School chorus and chamber chorus sang a beautiful mix of traditional and modern pieces, including songs in Latin and Italian during a sweeping tour and concert throughout the week of Dec. 8. The students performed on the Doherty Campus, at Kenwood Towne Center, Twin Lakes Retirement Center in Montgomery, and in Founders for Lotspeich and Middle School students. The chorus will performed an evening concert on Dec. 11. Congratulations to our 40-student chorus, to accompanist Lynne Miller, and to fine arts department chair and choral director Tina Kuhlman for a performance that incorporated stunning vocals and a collectively magical sound.


pages 3-25B FINAL.inddUpper School Teachers to Perform in Play – Feb. 6

The star-studded cast for the popular one-act musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, is complete. Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park recently released the cast listing, which includes students and faculty. Park said the show is set for Feb. 6, but will likely run more than once because it is sure to be a hit! The clever Tony Award-winning play, will be performed by the following:


Maria Bobbitt – Marcy Park

Shelby Davis – Olive Ostrovsky

Will Graber – Chip Tolentino

Emily McLennan – Logainne Schwartzandgrubernniere

Mitch Polonsky – William Barfee

Kenneth Remaklus – Lief Coneybear


Dave Brott – Dan Schwartz

Nate Gleiner – Carl Grubenierre

Tina Kuhlman – Olive’s Mom

Jason Knarr – Mitch Mahoney

Marielle Newton – Lief’s Mom

Stephanie Park – Rona Lisa Perretti

Brian Phelps – Lief’s Dad

Brian Sebastian – Olive’s Dad

Bill Waskowitz – Jesus Christ

Russell White – Vice Principal Douglas Panch


DSC_0949Sassmannshaus Recital

Eleven student musicians from pre-kindergarten through Upper School serenaded family and friends in the Lotspeich Library during the The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills fall recital in early December. Each student played songs on violin from a number of composers, including Bach, Schumann, Paganini, Suzuki, Mozart, Hummel, Corelli, and Boccherini. Several students also played traditional and folk music. The student musicians played under the direction of teachers Michaela Luchka and Lydia Woodin. The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills is part of the School’s afterschool enrichment offerings.

The student musicians were:

Lotspeich : Isabelle Anthony, Mark DeBlasio, Xavier Dejean, Elan Little, Maya Little, and Hannah Sprig

Middle: Adam Firestein, Shriya Kilaru, and Anika Param

Upper: Scott Arnold and Leah Blatt

Congratulations, musicians! Click here to view a photo gallery of the recital.


From The Buzz, Nov. 25, 2014

IMG_5514Shakespeare in Hollywood

The Upper School’s play Shakespeare in Hollywood was a great success! The cast and crew produced a three-show wonder, telling the tale of fabled Shakespearean characters Oberon and Puck’s journey to Hollywood onto the set of Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. The students’ hard work in honing the delivery of their lines and roles in the play since the beginning of school executed beautifully the dual styles of farce and Shakespearean verse. “I am very proud of our students for a beautiful production,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “It was a terrific show.” Congratulations to the 31-student cast, junior Will Graber, who helped choreograph the show, Park, and technical director Trey Tatum, who put together a gorgeous set. Click here to view play photos taken by Brian Arnold.



Seven to play in Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra

Seven students, violinists Samantha Chun, Cathy Fang, Nick Purple, and Kathy Wang; cellists Nina Fatuzzo and Ada Huang; and string bassist Christopher Janidlo were selected to play in the highly competitive Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, (CSYO). The CSYO holds auditions for student musicians in grades 9-12, and in grades 7-12, for the CSYO Concert Orchestra. The CSYO, under the direction of CSO Assistant Conductor William C. White, is composed of students in grades 9-12 who represent over 30 high schools in southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky. Founded in 1964 by former Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Max Rudolf and area music educators, the CSYO is dedicated to the cultivation of talent and provides outstanding young instrumentalists the opportunity to perform repertoire not normally available through their school music programs.



Glass Art

Students in all grades learned about glass art throughout the month of November. Eighth graders in Elissa Donovan’s Middle School art class visited the Brazee Street School of Glass in mid-November, as part of their glass unit. “This year they are learning to create molds in sand and fill them with molten glass, a skill called glass casting. “In essence, they are creating glass tiles,” said Donovan. Seventh graders went on a field trip last week to Neusole Glass as part of their glass unit to pull molten glass into glass flowers. Six graders also are working in school on their glass unit. They are learning to cut and shape sheet glass, which is then fused together in Donovan’s kiln. Six graders created glass insects for Insect Day in late October.


DSC_0483Character Trees

Art teacher Mimi Stricker asked her fourth grade students in Unit III to use trees to tell a story about themselves in a fall lesson entitled, “Character Trees.” The project related artistic ideas and work with personal meaning. “The students researched tree silhouettes. They practiced drawing different kinds of trees and then created beautiful tree silhouettes on large paper,” said Stricker. “We discussed and brainstormed what a character tree would look like. What would it include?” Stricker said the lesson also incorporated answers to several questions, including, what makes you unique? What are things that you love? What are your personal goals? Students used several media to complete the beautiful project, including black acrylic paint, colored pencils, construction crayons, and soft pastels for the background color.



Theater Achievements

Several Upper School students are taking their passion for theater arts beyond the classroom. Juniors Kate Coley, Will Graber, and Sophia Pardo; and senior Stuart Edward participate in Cincinnati Actor’s Studio and Academy (CASA). Coley said students in Studio work on a variety of acting techniques like Laban, Grotowski, clowning, and industry skills such as “directability” and body language. The students currently are preparing for a production of Hair, which opens Thanksgiving weekend. In addition, freshman Sophia Janidlo was selected to participate in the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department’s Acting Certificate Program. This two-year program is designed for the serious acting student to develop and hone their skills in preparation for a possible theater/acting major in college.


From The Buzz, Nov. 13, 2014


Middle School Choral Concert

The Middle School Chorus sang a number of beautiful songs from across the globe during the Nov. 11 concert. The sixth grade chorus sang the West Indies Sloop John B., Mysterious Moon, and Bonse Aba from Namibia. The seventh and eighth chorus sang Six Parvis Magna; In Winter, a traditional German Carol; and Turn Me ‘Round, a traditional spiritual. The combined chorus concluded the program with an Israeli folk song entitled Artza Alinu. The chorus made the delivery of technically complex tunes sound easy – a definite sign of much practice and dedication. Fine and Performing Arts Chair Tina Kuhlman extended a special thanks to the Administrative Assistant to the Head of School Andi Guess and the maintenance staff for rehearsal and concert set up, and Head of Middle School Bill Waskowitz and the Middle School faculty for their support. Kuhlman also thanked the students for their enthusiasm and hard work. Congratulations to our students, Kuhlman, and accompanist Lynne Miller.




Renowned Furniture Designer Visits Graphic Design Class

Renowned furniture designer Colin Nourie gave Jason Knarr’s graphic design art students a lesson on the intent of design. Nourie shared his story as a furniture designer; talked about his signature work with teak, a very sensitive, aromatic wood marketed heavily in Indonesia; and discussed the story behind the trend for high-level office furniture. Nourie, who has designed for Steelcase and Herman Miller, shared a piece of good advice, saying, “Fail as fast as possible. The faster you get through the failure, the faster and more you learn.”


shakes_hollywoodShakespeare in Hollywood – Nov. 20-22

The Upper School theater department is set to put on Shakespeare in Hollywood, an anachronistic tale in which Shakespeare’s most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, have magically materialized on the Warner Bros. Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Instantly smitten by the glitz and glamour of show biz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play themselves. “The show is going great,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “The costumes look fantastic and the students are doing a wonderful job with the dual styles of farce and Shakespearean verse. It’s going to be a terrific show!” In addition to their performance, the cast of will collaborate with the ninth-grade English classes to perform short scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. An open dress rehearsal for Shakespeare in Hollywood will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20. The opening show will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21, and will continue at 2 p.m. and at 8 p.m. on Sat., Nov. Tickets are $5. To purchase, please enter the following link into your browser:


LogoSeven Hills Joins Cappies

The Seven Hills Upper School recently became a member of the The Cappies of Greater Cincinnati, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that seeks to inspire and advance the talent and creativity within high school theater. “The Cappies of Greater Cincinnati strives to recognize our talented community of young people by upholding the mission of this international organization,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “The fall play, Shakespeare in Hollywood, is our Cappies entry.” Park added that 50 student critics from other schools will see Seven Hills’ Upper School play and write reviews. Seven Hills students would then be eligible for awards at the end of the year, based on critiques from the Cappies reviewers, and will be invited to participate in a gala event at the Aronoff. Among the Cappies critic team members are junior Maria Bobbitt, freshmen Seth Friedman and Brett Miller, and sophomore Samantha Eng.


DSC_0238Making Plaster Masks

Upper School art teacher Daniel Vance worked with students just before Halloween to create the right blend of material and media to make plaster molds. The artform, which calls for precision and planning, took on shape as students applied strips of cloth to the plaster mixture and made face molds. Vance said students would later use the molds to create decorative masks.


From The Buzz, Oct. 31, 2014


Bye-Bye Birdie Review

Congratulations to the Middle School theater students (Seven Stars Theater Company) and theater teacher Rachel Damon for a perfectly funny, beautifully-timed production of the premiere of the Young Performer’s edition of Bye Bye Birdie, on Oct. 24 and 25. The 32-student cast skillfully tapped out wonderful dance sequences and sang familiar songs with great energy. It was apparent the students worked hard to put together such a production, and had fun while they were doing it! Click here to view a photo gallery of the blockbuster performance.


_LHC0678Fifth Grade Play – Rock n’ Roll Forever!

Seven Hills’ 36 fifth graders spent several weeks to put together an energetic, toe-tapping play, Rock n’ Roll Forever. Music teacher Robin Wilson said students practiced for several weeks to play up their 50s and 60s-era musical review – there is a little disco too – with characters such as Elvis, The Beatles, Little Richard, and The Beach Boys. The play by John Jacobson and John Higgins, was adapted by Seven Hills theater teacher Russell White and Seven Hills parents Susan and Jeff Routh. Congratulations to our fifth graders, music teacher Robin Wilson, and Russell White! Click here to view a photo gallery of the play.




Learning About Line Drawing

Cincinnati artist Tom Gaither, who also is a grandparent of third-grader Annie Gaither, presented a line drawing lesson to Jody Knoop’s third grade art class in mid-October. Students watched as Gaither completed two small landscapes during his presentation, while he explained his watercolor and sketching techniques. Students learned the difference between scribbling and “controlled scribbling,” the latter of which can be used to create texture in a piece. Gaither also taught students an art trick – sprinkle a little salt in paint to give the colors a mottled, airy look. Knoop said Gaither’s presentation ran in conjunction with students’ unit on line drawing.


Janidlo Janidlo

Students Selected to Play in Southwest Regional Orchestra

Senior Christopher Janidlo and sophomore Alex Jiang have been selected to play in the prestigious Southwest Regional Orchestra. Janidlo, who is in his fourth year of playing for the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, has also been selected to play in the State Honors Orchestra. Said instrumental music teacher John Rising, “Chris plays bass in the school’s Contemporary Ensemble and Alex plays cello in the Symphonic Ensemble. Both are fantastic musicians!”

Jiang Jiang


DSC_0252Monster Makeup

Equipped with makeup with names like “fresh scab,” “blood gel,” and “flesh,” Stephanie Park’s Theater I students transformed their faces and arms into believably real gore. While the students enjoyed learning the art of special effects makeup in time for Halloween, they also gained valuable performing arts skills. “This is a very difficult artform to perfect and they are doing an amazing job,” said Park. “These are my freshman students and already they are learning something that we will use in at least one of our productions this year.”



From The Buzz Oct. 16, 2014


Tickets on Sale for “Bye Bye Birdie”

The Seven Stars Theater Company at the Seven Hills Middle School is excited to announce that tickets are on sale for the Ohio premiere of Bye Bye Birdie, Young Performer’s Edition. Set in fictional Sweet Apple, Ohio, in 1958, Bye Bye Birdie is based on the real-life story of Elvis being drafted into the army. Featuring a cast of 32 talented Middle School students and written by the creative team behind Annie, it includes a mix of musical theater and rock and roll songs, such as Telephone Hour, Honestly, Sincere, and Put on a Happy Face. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 25 in Founders Hall. Said Middle School drama teacher Miss Damon, “This Tony Award-winning musical comedy is sure to be fun for the entire family, so be some of the first people in Ohio to see this brand new version of a classic musical!” Tickets are $5 and are available from Miss Damon during fruit break. Click here to view a trailer of Seven Hills’ premiere show!



Seven Hills pep band, Pepsplosion, played beautifully in virtual darkness under the night sky during Homecoming’s closing ceremony. Under the direction of instrumental music teacher Mr. Rising, the band played a number of songs on the balcony of the DAC facing the new athletic complex. Pepsplosion entertained hundreds of Homecoming attendees with a number of intro tunes for sports teams, playing excerpts from movie scores and pop tunes.


DSC00117Schoolhouse Symphony

Mrs. Wilson’s first grade, kindergarten, and pre-kindergarten students enjoyed an exciting visit from Schoolhouse Symphony, a program composed of six professional musicians who provide music education for Lower and Middle School students throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions. The early October lessons, provided by the group of musicians, help teach musical concepts such as high and low, fast and slow, and soft and loud, as well as instrument families. The program focuses on the flute, clarinet, French horn, trombone, violin, and cello. The lessons also introduce a wide range of musical genres from musical composers Mozart to John Williams. The symphony visits Lotspeich three times each school year.



From The Buzz Sept. 28, 2014

kiss kiss bang

Dancing Steps in Music

As part of the tradition of movement in Doherty music teacher Mrs. Eynon’s classes, fifth graders learned a new dance step that also incorporates a history lesson.“It’s called ‘Miss Kiss-Kiss Bang’ and it’s an upbeat contemporary swing dance that can be done as a line dance or a partner dance and one that we’re adding to the fifth graders’ dance repertoire,” said Mrs. Eynon. The steps use a basic “step-ball-change” dance step, but with changes in direction, all throughout each set. The fifth graders at Doherty are having fun working out the steps and getting the hang of this dance style. Said Mrs. Eynon, it has become their number one request every time they come to music.


DSC_0744Learning the Notes

Lotspeich third graders are learning to hone their pitch and tone by playing Orff instruments and singing “John Kanaka” using the Curwen/Kodaly hand signing method. Music teacher Robin Wilson said the method helps students to improve their music sight reading skills by looking at the difference in height between the different signs. As they move their hands in distinct ways, the muscle memory of making the sign also will create a solid understanding of the scale.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________artsoniaView Student Art on

The halls of Lotspeich are full with dozens of art projects but many more pieces are available for viewing on a special website called “Artsonia.” “This is where I upload your children’s artwork so that parents can view what they are creating in their art classes, send their artwork photos to friends and family, and/or purchase items, such as T-shirts and tote bags,” said Mrs. Knoop. “Twenty percent of the purchase price comes back to the school.” Mrs. Knoop said the art pieces are available at Once you reach the site, just type in Seven Hills.


IMG_0932Tree Study in Art

Doherty art teacher Mimi Stricker introduced a new arts technique to her Unit III students. The class, which is part of Mrs. Stricker’s study on trees, requires students to select a tree type, create silhouettes using Exacto knives, and mount the designs using the images of at least three trees. Mrs. Stricker said the project gives students an opportunity to learn about textures, shadowing, and abstract imagery, while also allowing them to research different types of trees.



Middle and Upper Begin Work for Shakespeare Project

In an exciting launch of a new partnership with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Middle and Upper School performing arts students recently received word they will perform “The Tempest” and “Pericles,” respectively, in a Cincinnati-based spring production. The students will be presenting the play as part of the PROJECT38 festival in Downtown Cincinnati in April. “The Tempest” will be directed by Middle School theater teacher Miss Damon. “Pericles” will be directed by Upper School theater teacher Miss Park.


From The Buzz Sept. 11, 2014

DSC_0688Collaborative Art for ZooFari

Mrs. Donovan’s Middle School art students have the exciting, annual opportunity to create an art centerpiece for the Cincinnati Zoo’s signature charitable event, Zoofari, which this year is entitled “Flight of Fancy.” From the first day of school, students have worked collaboratively to build an armature for a 10-foot-nest and a 15-foot vining plant. The nest is uniquely made from stuffed nylon stockings that are woven to create the structure. They also worked together to paint dozens of leaves, stems, and branches, said Mrs. Donovan. Seven Hills Middle School students have crafted a number of large-scale art projects for Zoofari’s elegant themes. Last year students built a 12-foot-tall lion head. The students and Mrs. Donovan were featured on page A-6 of this year’s Sept. 6 Cincinnati Enquirer.




Upper School Teacher Named to Cincinnati Shakespeare Co. Board

Upper School theater teacher was recently named Associate Board Member of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Miss Park said she looks forward to being part of such a connected community partner and hopes she will be able to help expand and enhance opportunities for Seven Hills’ theater students.


chicagoSkylineTraveling Program for Upper School Arts Students

Fine arts chair Mrs. Kuhlman announced a new opportunity for performing arts students, a three-day trip to Chicago from April 8 – 11, over spring break. “Traditionally, just chorus have had this opportunity,” said Mrs. Kuhlman. “I wanted to open this up to not only chorus students, but also to instrumental ensemble and theater students.” Mrs. Kuhlman said students will attend performances at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Lyric Opera, Apollo Theater, and Art Institute. Students also will have an opportunity to participate in a clinic with the Second City comedy improvisation performers. Mrs. Kuhlman said more than 100 performing arts students are eligible to attend. Cost of the four-day trip is about $800 and includes meals, hotel, and all events. Financial assistance is available, including opportunities to work at the Resale Shop to help fund the cost of the trip. An informational parent meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 18, in the DAC chorus room. A final mandatory student and parent meeting will be held on Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in Founders to discuss the final details.


urlSeven Hills Becomes Member of PROJECT 38

The Upper and Middle School theater programs are both members of PROJECT 38, an innovative arts education initiative of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC), to take place in spring 2015. As part of PROJECT 38, Seven Hills will be given one of the 38 plays in Shakespeare’s canon. Over the course of the year, teaching artists from CSC will visit Seven Hills to bring that play to life in various ways. This could be through a traditional production, a monologue or scene, a dance piece, or a music piece, or a mural, according to the CSC. The project will culminate in the PROJECT 38 festival at the end of the school year, which will become a multi-day celebration in which Seven Hills students and students from other participating schools will gather and share what they’ve created with each other, their schools, and with the community at-large.


BYE-YPE-web-logo-wide-541x346Middle to Present First “Bye-Bye Birdie” Edition

Middle School theater teacher Rachel Damon recently announced Seven Hills will perform the Ohio premier of “Bye Bye Birdie: Young Performers Edition.” Shows are October 24 and 25. Known for songs, such as An English Teacher, Put on a Happy Face, and One Boy, the musical is considered upbeat, old-fashioned, and fun. Miss Damon said the Middle School theater said is thrilled to be the first in Ohio to perform this new edition of the musical.

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Lindsay Finn Award-winning photoJunior’s Photography Used as Cover Art for Local Journal

Take a look at the cover of the June issue of Sycamore Living and you will see a brilliant photo of a very thoughtful face. The face in front of the camera is that of a Sabinyo gorilla in Rwanda. The face behind the camera is Junior Lindsay Finn, the photographer who took the beautiful photo. Lindsay is an award recipient at the recent Montgomery Photography Reception and Exhibition. Congratulations Lindsay!

Lindsay Finn Lindsay Finn



DSC_0625Farewell to Art Teacher Diane Kruer

During the closing faculty ceremony, faculty paid loving tributes to retiring faculty. Music teachers John Rising and Tina Kuhlman shared hilarious and endearing remarks as a send-off for retiring Upper School art teacher Diane Kruer, who taught for 29 years at Seven Hills.


knarrUpper School Student Senate Award

Congratulations to Upper School art teacher Jason Knarr, who is this year’s recipient of the Upper School Student Senate Award.


From The Buzz May 30, 2014

Kruer Big hugCoffeehouse

The School community was treated to an evening of the arts during Upper School’s annual Coffeehouse event, known for its sophisticated array of visual and performance arts held in the Donovan Arts Center. Upper School art teachers Jason Knarr and Diane Kruer, and Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park coordinated the evening, which included a special tribute to retiring art teacher Mrs. Kruer. The event also included a memorial tribute to Ryan MacKenzie `11, who passed away in August of 2013. The MacKenzie family, including senior Erin MacKenzie, mother and Unit I and II coordinator at the Doherty Campus Elisa MacKenzie, father David MacKenzie, as well as friends and alumni were in attendance. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.


10 minute playsUpper School Ten Minute Plays

Upper School theater students regaled the School lunchtime audience with their Ten Minute Play Series, a number of riveting short plays in mid-May. Directed by students, the students and one faculty actor – Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park – put on three plays entitled Making the Call, Off the Rack, and Downtown. The plays are a production of Mrs. Park’s Acting Workshop Class.


USMusicUpper School Music Concert

Congratulations to the Upper School Orchestral Ensemble, the Contemporary Ensemble, and music teacher John Rising for their Spring Instrumental Concert performance in Founders Hall in mid-May. The student musicians played a number of selections in a number of musical genres. Mr. Rising thanked senior musicians for their dedicated, long-term musical efforts and in turn the soon-to-be graduates thanked Mr. Rising for his commitment and leadership. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.


Middle School Instrumental Ensemble Concert

Congratulations to the Middle School Instrumental Ensemble and music teacher John Rising for their Spring Instrumental Concert performance in mid-May. The student musicians played a varied selection of musical pieces confidently and beautifully in Founders Hall. Look for photos from this event in the next Buzz!



Choral Concerts

Congratulations to music teacher and Fine and Performing Arts Chair Tina Kuhlman and the Middle and Upper School Choruses, who performed a number of vibrant and moving choral selections for the School community in late May. Look for photos from this event in the next Buzz!


From The Buzz May 16, 2014

IMG_0263Disturber of the Peace

Upper School theater students delivered a stunning April production of their original work, Disturber of the Peace, an adaptation of the Miss Buncle’s Book, by D.E. Stevenson’s. “This was a completely original work from start to finish; the students wrote it, designed costumes, built the sets, and constantly revised the production to make it work,” said Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park. “It truly showcased the talent and hard work of our students. We ended up with a show that was visually brilliant.” Ms. Park said students began work on the production at the start of the school year. Click here to view a photo gallery of the performance.


IMG_286442nd Street

Middle School theater students tapped their way into Seven Hills’ history with the first large-scale dance musical performance in recent history. The cast of, amazingly, 42 students delivered a brilliant performance of 42nd Street in late April, and sang beautifully. Middle School drama teacher Rachel Damon said she is proud not only of the performance but also of how the students worked together throughout the process to hone such a complex presentation. “Our dedicated theater students gave it their all,” said Miss Damon. “We are all so fortunate to have an opportunity to take on such a big task and with collaboration, to present a beautiful show.” Click here to view a gallery of the performance.


DSC_0351Teacher from Indian School Visits Art Class

As part of her Titcomb Award, Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan hosted a visit from Sarika Khurana, an art teacher from the Sanskriti School in New Delhi, India. Mrs. Khurana visited Seven Hills for two weeks in early May. “She came as part of a faculty exchange that we hope will develop into a student exchange between the schools,” said Mrs. Donovan. While here, Mrs. Khurana taught the Middle School students the art of henna. Her lesson entailed making prints on paper and later, learning how to use the paper designs as a guide to create beautiful henna designs on their hands and arms. Mrs. Donovan said she continues to use the opportunity given her through the Titcomb Award to foster and build an ongoing educational exchange between Seven Hills and Sanskriti School. Many thanks to the aunt of Lotspeich parent Nupur Anand, who introduced Mrs. Donovan to Sanskriti School.



kytrifecta2Art Teacher’s Work in Covington Exhibit

The works of Upper School art teacher Diane Kruer will be featured in the upcoming Covington Arts Center TRIFECTA. The exhibition brings together three diverse shows, featuring 48 artists from the region. Click here to read the article, which features Mrs. Kruer.


_LHC4313Music Concert at Lotspeich

Congratulations to Lotspeich third and fourth graders and music teacher Robin Wilson for a stellar concert in early May. The third and fourth grade concert showcased the talents and hard work of students who sang, danced, and played instruments to a number of musical selections. Click here to view a picture gallery of the event.


From The Buzz April 24, 2014

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Disturber of the Peace

Upper School theater students will perform their labor of love beginning April 24 – a play they have diligently and artully adapted for several weeks. In a longtime Seven Hills Upper School theater tradition, students worked with their teacher Stephanie Park to adapt the play from D.E. Stevenson’s British classic Miss Buncle’s Book, which will incorporate British vernacular and beautiful costuming in a culmination of months of hard work. The performance will take place in the Donovan Arts Center Black Box Theater. Show times are 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, and at 8 p.m. on April 25 and 26.


spring show1

First Grade Spring Show

First graders welcomed spring with a flourish during a stellar performance entitled “How Does Your Garden Grow?” Led by Creative Dramatics Teacher Russell White and music teacher Robin Wilson. The students performed a number of bright and sunny tunes while dressed as insects, flowers, spring veggies, and woodland creatures. Click here to view a gallery of photos from the show.

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Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 1.26.10 PMMiddle School Theater Students Promote 42nd Street in YouTube Trailer

The Seven Stars Theater Company at The Seven Hills School is proud to present their 2014 Middle School spring musical 42nd Street. Come and join our talented cast of 42 students for the first dance show in the history of The Seven Hills School on May 2 and 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Founders Hall on The Seven Hills Campus. The production is approximately two hours with an intermission. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door or in advance from Miss Damon. Please click here to watch the trailer, which was produced by Miss Damon.


Local Playwright to Perform at the DAC

Well-known Shakespeare and Moliere actor Tim Mooney will partner two of the greatest playwrights of all time in a tag-team display of stamina, talent, and memory, combining his two one-man shows Moliere Than Thou and Lot O’ Shakespeare at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29. Admission is free. Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park said the production will offer a great opportunity for the School community to see a quality community performance right on the Hillsdale Campus in the Donovan Arts Center Black Box Theater.


From The Buzz April 10, 2014


Instrumental Concert at Lotspeich

More than 35 students in grades three through five performed musical and vocal selections during the annual Instrumental Concert at Lotspeich directed by music teacher Robin Wilson just before spring break. The student musicians played violin, piano, guitar, and trumpet, and sang to a standing-room only crowd in the Lotspeich Library. Musical selections ranged from Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera to Beethoven and Bach. Click here for a gallery of the event.


42nd st.Toe-Tapping Preparations


Performances are not the only thing Middle School theater students are polishing lately. The students also helped Middle School drama teacher Rachel Damon paint and polish shoes that will be used in the upcoming 42nd Street Musical. Miss Damon said some students helped out with painting the vibrantly colored tap shoes, which will be used frequently in this high-energy, full-scale production that features tap dancing. The students are fine-tuning choreography with help from eighth-grader Shelby Green and sophomore Will Graber. The two-day show opens at 7 p.m. on Friday May 2, in Founder’s Hall.

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Photo by Lindsay Finn Photo by Lindsay Finn

Junior wins local art award

The City of Montgomery recently named Seven Hills junior Lindsay Finn a winner of the 27th Annual Montgomery Photo Contest. Lindsay took the photos during a March 2013 trip to Virunga National Forest in Rwanda – the park where American zoologist Dian Fossey conducted her famous research on mountain gorillas. The subject of her piece entitled The Thinker, is part of the Sainyo gorilla family. Lindsay is one of 20 recipients of this prestigious award. The winners were announced at the recent Montgomery Photography Reception and Exhibition. The event, sponsored by the Arts Commission, featured an exhibit of nearly 225 photographs. The competition included adult entries from the Greater Cincinnati area and student entries representing 10 schools. Each award recipient received a professional critique of his/her winning photograph and a $100 award prize.

Lindsay Finn Lindsay Finn


logo for TAP program logo for TAP program

Students Art Selected for Local Exhibit

Ten seventh graders’ artwork will be displayed at a graduation ceremony and student art show that will run in Cincinnati in April and May. Art teacher Elissa Donovan thanked her students for their hard work and informed them that their work was selected. The students’ work was completed as a result of their involvement with Visionaries & Voices artist Deondre Hyde.

The following students’ artwork will be on display: Avery Dorsch, Jonas Keller, Luke Keller, Patrick Kilcoyne, Rachel Michelman, Michael Nordlund, Maya Patel, Susanna Spooner, and Emma Schneider.

Visionaries & Voices is a non-profit organization that works with artists with disabilities.

The student artwork will be on display during an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday April 25, and will continue to be on display from April 25 – May 16, at 3841 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45223.

The Visionaries & Voices Teaching Artist Program (TAP) expands opportunities for artists who have an interest in teaching, speaking, and public leadership positions in the field of visual art. Artists who participate in TAP commit to an intensive 30-week training?program to develop professional skills and gain hands-on classroom experience. The annual TAP Graduation Ceremony and Student Show is the culminating event of the TAP year.


From The Buzz March 13, 2014

pottery5Study of Form and Function

Advanced pottery students in Diane Kruer’s class of juniors and seniors are finishing up clay teapot projects as part of an in-depth study on the balance of function and aesthetics. The project required students to create a piece reflecting their personal interests while maintaining the utility of the vessel, said Mrs. Kruer. The students’ teapots were inspired by a range of images and interests, including a Hindu goddess, Dumbo the elephant, sea life, nature, and Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.





Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 4.45.40 PMRecorder Concert

All 117 Lotspeich students in grades three through five put on a spirited recorder concert in mid-February. Music teacher Robin Wilson led the musical group through a number of fun tunes that the students have worked on since September. “This is the second year that we have combined the three grades on the stage. The students performed beautifully,” said Mrs. Wilson. The recorder concert also incorporates student percussion performances.


From The Buzz Feb. 20, 2014

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All-State Orchestra

Three students, sophomores Kathy Wang and Alex Jiang, and junior Chris Janidlo, performed in the All State Orchestra, composed of the finest high school musicians in the state. Upper and Middle School music teacher John Rising said the students rehearsed for multiple hours over three days, and ended with a concert held in Columbus in early February. “The concert was amazing and the program, as one would expect, was difficult,” said Mr. Rising. “Rarely does a school our size and with such a small music program, send even one student, let alone three. The fact that we have so many talented musicians in Middle and Upper School is awesome and I expect we will be sending more kids to All-State Band, Chorus and Orchestra in the future.”

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Members of the NKU Improvisation Troupe demonstrate an impromptu musical scene with Sophomore Kenneth Remaklus Members of the NKU Improvisation Troupe demonstrate an impromptu musical scene with Sophomore Kenneth Remaklus

NKU Presents Clinic to Upper School Theater Students

The NKU Improvisation Troupe recently presented an animated clinic for Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park’s students. The unpredictable presentation in the Donovon Arts Center Black Box gave students a revealing glimpse into the unique world of improvisation, as NKU students collectively transformed into a buffalo, the city of Paris, France, a clock, a roller coaster, and an amoeba, all from on-the-spot requests from Seven Hills students in the audience. The class was not only a spectator event – several Seven Hills theater students volunteered to participate with the troupe as well, which included a drumming session, rock opera, and impromptu lyric composition session.



From The Buzz Feb. 5, 2014



Their Cup of Tea


As students in Upper School theater teacher Stephanie Park’s class work to infuse authenticity into their British-based spring play, Disturber of the Peace, they are tapping into two very useful resources that can’t be “Googled” – British-born Head of Upper School Nick Francis, and Upper School science teacher Barbara Scarr. Miss Park said her students have truly taken ownership of this play, which students adapted from the book, Miss Buncle’s Book. “We invited Mr. Francis and Ms. Scarr because they are from England and they can teach us about all of the mannerisms and nuances involved in tea time,” said Miss Park. “We dressed up and used real tea cups. This will help with their British accents as well.” Mr. Francis and Ms. Scarr enjoyed tea time with the theater students, which took place in the Black Box Theatre at the Donovan Arts Center.



globalart3“Giving Back to Our World” Through Collaborative Art Projects at Doherty

From the youngest to the oldest, Doherty students produced dozens of brilliant art pieces as part of collaborative projects to benefit a partnership with children in Guatemala.

The artwork, which focused on Guatemala this year, was auctioned off at the Annual Pancake Breakfast and Art Sale Auction on the Doherty Campus on Feb. 1. The artwork was created by all the Doherty students from children in the Beginnings Parent and Toddler Enrichment Program through fifth graders. The collaborative art projects involve mixed media, including painting on canvas, marker, watercolor, and metal embossing. Art teacher Mimi Stricker said the annual project allowed students to “give back to our world.” “Our students not only love creating beautiful art to help others but also having open conversations and dialogues about different cultures and people in our world, and what it means to help others,” she said.



From The Buzz Jan. 17, 2013

Maria Bobbitt (foreground) recently performed a leading role in "Little Shop of Horrors." Maria Bobbitt (foreground) recently performed a leading role in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Sophomore Makes the Cut in Overture Awards

Sophomore Maria Bobbitt has made it to the semifinals in the prestigious, highly competitive Overture Awards Scholarship Competition, a program that recognizes, encourages, and rewards excellence in the arts among Tri-state students in grades 9-12. Maria has placed among only a handful of students in the musical theater category. She will compete again in the second half of January with hopes of moving on to finals. The Overture Awards is the area’s largest solo arts competition and offers scholarships in six artistic disciplines: creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theater, visual art, and vocal music. Students may win scholarships that range in amounts from $750 to $3,500. Judges at all levels of the competition are drawn from the professional arts community. Finalists will be posted on Jan. 21.


edtweet“Ed and Tweet”

Students in Diane Kruer’s sculpting class recently completed another installment of the colorful new structure just outside the Upper School office. Not only is “Ed and Tweet” pleasing to the eye, it is practical. Upper School Administrative Assistant Barb Hepp uses the new structure to communicate pertinent information to Upper School students. At 7-foot-tall, Ed and Tweet (the bird on Ed’s shoulder) can’t be missed!


From The Buzz, Dec. 20, 2013


Upper School Chorus

Upper School students sang beautifully in the Winter Choral Concert in December. The students sang in several languages during the evening concert, which took place just after a whirlwind choral tour at the Doherty Campus, and downtown at the PNC Bank and Chemed buildings. Fine Arts chair and choral director Tina Kuhlman directed the performances.



DSC_0422Symphonic/Contemporary Ensembles

Upper School instrumentalists recently regaled the audience with a winter performance entitled “An Afternoon of Amazing Instrumental Music.” The Symphonic Ensemble performance featured pieces by several composers, including James Swearingen, Gene Milford, Quincy Jones, Percy Grainger, and Clifton Jameson Jones. The Contemporary Ensemble jazzed up the mood with numbers by several composers, including Paul Desmond, Vince Guaraldi, and Dizzy Gillespie, as well as improvisational solo performances. Congratulations to Director and music teacher John Rising for a beautiful performance. The spring concert will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, in Founders Hall. Click here to view a photo gallery of the concert.


DSC_0401Strings Concert

Eleven Seven Hills student musicians serenaded family and friends in the Lotspeich Library during the The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills fall recital in mid-December. Each student played songs from a number of composers, including Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Suzuki, Menken, and Vivaldi. Several students also played traditional and folk music. The student musicians played under the direction of teachers Michaela Luchka and Lydia Woodin. The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills is part of the School’s afterschool enrichment offerings. Congratulations, musicians! Click here to view a photo gallery of the recital.


MSChorusMiddle School Chorus

Congratulations to Tina Kuhlman, fine arts chair and choral director, accompanist Lynne Miller, and the Middle School chorus – 135 strong – who sang a number of festive tunes during the Middle School Choral Concert in mid-November.


DSC_0303Middle School Instrumental Concert

Congratulations to Middle School musicians and music teacher John Rising for their beautifully skilled Middle School Instrumental Concert in mid-December. The students wowed the audience with a number of complex, seasonal tunes. Click here to view a photo gallery of the concert.



Doherty Holiday Program

Congratulations to music teacher Maria Eynon for a dazzling winter program performed by Doherty students. After weeks of preparation, students sang and performed artfully, setting the tone for the season with a magical performance.


From The Buzz, Nov. 26, 2013


Little Shop of Horrors

The night popped with campy comedy, intuitive timing, and all-around sharp talent during Seven Hills’ presentation of the musical Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Upper School theater and drama teacher Mrs. Park. Click here to view a gallery of the wonderfully creepy rock musical.



The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Gilded by a drape of brilliant LED lights, eye-catching artistry, and in-tune performers, the Middle School theater department, led by Mrs. Damon, showcased the beauty and enchantment of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before the hundreds of audience members in the School community. Click here to view a breathtaking gallery of photos from the performance.



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Beginning Pottery

Students tried their hand at pottery in Mrs. Kruer’s class with much success. The students designed gargantuan clay pumpkins with ghoulish grins and jagged teeth. The use of color and art media were so accurate, the pumpkins could have been mistaken for the real thing!



From The Buzz, Nov. 7, 2013

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Middle School Play Opens Thursday, Nov. 7!

The Middle School will perform a matinee of The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe for fourth and fifth grade students on Thurs., Nov. 7. Opening Night will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, in Founders Hall, followed by a performance at 3:30 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 9. Both performances will take place in Founders Hall.

Theater teacher Rachel Damon said students have driven the play’s production and design, and have worked artfully and diligently to produce a visually outstanding performance. “The kids are really excited,” said Miss Damon, adding that audience members will have an opportunity to receive autographed playbills immediately after the Friday and Saturday performances. Click here to review a playbill of the cast and production.




Three to Play in Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra

Three students, cellist Nina Fatuzzo, cellist Ada Huang, and string bassist Christopher Janidlo were selected to play in the highly competitive Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras CSYO). The CSYO holds auditions for student musicians in grades 9-12, and in grades 7-12, for the CSYO Concert Orchestra. The CSYO, under the direction of CSO Assistant Conductor William C. White, is composed of students in grades 9–12 who represent over 30 high schools in southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and northern Kentucky.

Founded in 1964 by former Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Max Rudolf and area music educators, the CSYO is dedicated to the cultivation of talent and provides outstanding young instrumentalists the opportunity to perform repertoire not normally available through their school music programs.


Two Seven Hills Musicians Invited to Perform in All-State Orchestra

Junior Christopher Janidlo and Sophomore Alex Jiang were selected to play in the prestigious All-State Orchestra, which will take place during the Ohio Music Education Association state conference in Columbus during the first weekend in February 2014. Music Teacher John Rising said,” Being selected to this orchestra is a BIG deal and having two students selected from a school the size of Seven Hills is not common.” Congratulations to Alex and Chris!



photoRat Attack – Bird is the Word

The Radical Artists Tactical Squad–”RATS”–commit random secret acts of art in the community. They selected Mrs. Brown’s room to install a bird they constructed titled “The Bird is the Word.” The feathers are cut from old novel pages that formerly belonged to Patty Flanigan, Seven Hills’ iconic and beloved theater teacher of 39 years, who passed away in October 2010.



From The Buzz, Oct. 10, 2013


Folk Music Fun

A musical medley of mandolin and guitar folk tunes filled the air in the library during the weekly assembly in the Lotspeich Library. First through Fifth Graders tapped their feet, clapped, and swayed to the beat. Students were especially excited because they knew one person in the musical trio very well–Art Teacher Mrs. Jody Knoop! The trio, which is composed of Knoop and fellow musicians Spencer Funk and Ed Stapleton, played several folk tunes, including “American Roots Music”–or contemporary folk. Mrs. Knoop said she enjoys performing in the trio because it is a fun challenge.

“I have played a variety of instruments, starting with ukulele at age six,” said Mrs. Knoop. Students especially enjoyed a song Mrs. Knoop sang, about a wolf that comes “scratching at your door.”


DSC_0153Contemporary Ensemble

Student musicians played a number of beautiful jazzy tunes during the Alumni Reunion Concert in the Donovan Arts Center in early October. More than 40 Seven Hills Alumni attended the concert, which took place shortly before a reception in the Hillsdale Commons. The Contemporary Ensembe is led by Middle and Upper School Music Teacher, Mr. John Rising.



The Upper School Acting Workshop is currently working on adapting a novel into a play. The novel being adapted is Disturber of the Peace, by D.E. Stevenson. Originally published in 1936, the novel fell into obscurity until its recent rerelease. The book has received critical acclaim. D.E. Stevenson has been heralded by some as a “new favorite classic author.” The Seven Hills School is excited to have obtained the rights to this novel, and looks forward to bringing it to life as a theatrical work.


Lessons in Improv

The Upper School Theatre Department and Middle School English Departments combined last week when Mrs. Park’s the freshman and sophomore improvisation class taught a section to Mrs. Hayes’ English class. The Upper School students led the Middle School students in a series of games and exercises that encouraged the growth of spontaneity, risk-taking and imagination.



From The Buzz, Sept. 25, 2013

DSC_0175Taking Flight in the Red Barn

Action! The young students huddled into different poses on stage in the Red Barn, as Creative Dramatics teacher Russell White shouted out different scenarios. “Family Portrait!” he said. The students smiled warmly and struck proper poses. “You just ate too much cake at a birthday party!” The students bowed over and puffed out their cheeks. Some dropped to the floor from the pretend sugar binge. “You are showing your project at the science fair!” Mr. White said. Students posed proudly with huge grins and bright eyes. “Theater class in the Red Barn on the Hillsdale Campus offers students an opportunity to show leadership and gives all students opportunities to be in the spotlight,” said Mr. White. “It’s a confidence booster and also lays the groundwork for strong public speaking and improvisational skills.”





Kate Coley

Student to Establish International Thespian Society Chapter at Seven Hills

Sophomore Kate Coley has noticed an uptick in the number of students interested in the performing arts. A devoted fine arts student and natural leader, Kate has begun to research the process for creating a Seven Hills chapter of the International Thespian Society (ITS), an organization that honors the dedication of those in theatre – actors, singers, writers, directors, costume designers, and everything in between.

“I have gathered students who are just as passionate for theatre as I am to induct them into ITS,” said Kate, adding that the organization, Troupe #7931, would heighten excitement about the theatre program, raise money for the program and the school, and raise money for theatre-based events. Kate said she already has experienced the benefits of having an ITS at her school in Columbus, where she was a previously a student.

“I have already seen … attendance for shows increase and more focused students in the theatre department,” Kate said, adding that the Troupe would also have the opportunity to be part of the Ohioan thespians at an annual conference.

Said Kate, “I cannot wait for Troupe #7931’s induction ceremony, and for the students of Seven Hills to start seeing how important theatre truly is.”


Student’s Take on First Musical Production in Several Years

By Seven Hills Student Alanna Quinlan, Writer for Canvass, TSHS Student Newspaper

For those of you who don’t know about the ambitious undertakings occurring this year, I would like to introduce you to our fearless leader and director, Stephanie Park. She has performed on Broadway in Titanic and Getting Away with Murder, and in a revival of The King And I and a national tour of Miss Saigon. Park has chosen Little Shop of Horrors to be Seven Hills’ first musical in many years. Just two weeks into the school year the whole play has been cast and rehearsals will soon be getting underway. The main leads have surprisingly all been cast to underclassmen aside from the Audrey 2(the plant).

The Little Shop of Horrors is about a timid flower shop worker, Seymour, who discovers a peculiar plant. After the shop’s popularity grows Seymour, played by Kenneth Remaklous (10), learns that the plant, played by Mitch Polonsky (11), is a carnivore. In order to retain his popularity he feeds the plant leftover food, but soon learns that the plant needs more. As Audrey 2 persuades Seymour to feed the plant humans, Seymour learns that he doesn’t need the popularity that comes with his friend, Audrey 2. He realizes all he needs is the love of his crush, Audrey, played by Maria Bobbitt (10).

For all of those who find the musical enticing or know people cast in it, Ms. Park and I highly encourage you to support the theatre department on November 21, 22, and 23 at 7pm on Thursday and at 8pm on Friday and Saturday. For a full cast list, visit Canvass at




From The Buzz, Sept. 12, 2013


An Upper School student creates a mold in art class

Five Upper School Musicians Earned Seats in Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra

Congratulations to the following Upper School musicians, who were recently named to the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra: Nina Fatuzzo (cello); Ada Huang (cello); Chris Janidlo (string bass-first chair) Alternates: Samantha Chung (violin) and Nicole Tiao (violin).

The Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) is composed of students in grades 9–12 who represent more than 30 high schools in southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and northern Kentucky.

Founded in 1964 by former CSO Music Director Max Rudolf and area music educators, the CSYO is dedicated to the cultivation of talent and provides outstanding young instrumentalists the opportunity to perform repertoire not normally available through their school music programs.


Junior Invited to Perform on National Stage

Congratulations to Christopher Janidlo (string bass) who was recently invited to perform in the National High School Honors Orchestra. The National High School Honors Orchestra (NHSHO) is a performing group of 100 competitively selected high school musicians who assemble biennially to perform at the ASTA National Conference. Junior and senior students submit an audition of required literature and three minutes form literature of their own choosing. Separate audition committees for strings, winds, and percussion select the 100 students for the orchestra. The students are required to be members of their school orchestra.


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Eighth Grader Selected to Sing at Tennis Open

Congratulations to Natalie Choo, a Seven Hills eighth grader who was one of just seven students in the tri-state area who were selected out of hundreds of contestants, to sing the National Anthem at the Western & Southern Open.

Choo said she loves to sing because she feels it helps her to be herself. Click here to watch news coverage of Choo on



King of Middle School Art

Teacher Elissa Donovan and her students are partnering with the Cincinnati Zoo to create a breathtaking 12-foot-tall lion head. The brilliant sculpture, made from a meticulously crafted armature, will be showcased and auctioned off this month at the Zoo’s largest annual fundraiser, Zoofari. Donovan said dozens of seventh and eighth graders contributed to the collaborative community art project. The King of the art room won’t be around for long. Donovan plans to transport the lion head to the Zoo this weekend, where she will attach a magnificent golden mane.