The Arts

At Friends Academy, students engage in the widest variety of arts offered by any school on Long Island, discovering their passions, finding their voices, and exploring their identities in programs built for success.
Andrew Geha

At Friends Academy, students in the Arts develop and share their unique voices with the world. Through classes and co-curricular opportunities in dance, music, theater, and visual arts, students collaborate with each other, with our faculty, and with active professional artists, gaining experiences that shape them as creative thinkers and problem solvers, and forming personal connections which last a lifetime. 

– Andrew Geha, Director of Theater

Previously Shown!

Are ya ready kids? This year's Upper School Musical, "SpongeBob Squarepants The Musical," is adapted from the beloved Nickelodeon series.

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Art Lens: Video Stories

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At Friends Academy, our youngest music students begin by learning how to sing, listen, and use rhythm in their earliest classes as they grow their abilities to sophisticated large ensemble and solo performances in their Upper School years.  Our faculty follow National Standards in small and large group lessons and many of our NYSSMA students are selected to attend All-County, All-State, as well as All-Eastern. By harmonizing individual ability with community values, our students are able to contribute beautiful vibrations to the world.

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Visual Arts

The Visual Arts at Friends Academy are designed to help students explore their identity and creative expression through visual language.  Students are scaffolded through curriculum that is designed to support idea development, art appreciation, and skill-based learning from Early Childhood through to our most advanced students. Students are challenged to push themselves out of their comfort zones by using a variety of cultural and stylistic inspirations to figure out just where they fit in the community and the world.

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In this collaborative art form, students learn and sharpen the skills they need to effectively and successfully communicate a story as they work together – either as a large ensemble, a small group, a pair, or even an individual. Our youngest Middle School students dive into the fundamentals and then, as our young Upper School thespians, are taught a large range of recognized acting techniques, with the goal of formulating their own individual methodology of character development. Learning the ropes also includes the technical side of theater and how the magic happens when they work backstage. Our students regularly feel the lights on their faces and hear the applause from the audience when we take our high standards of excellence to the stage.

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At Friends Academy, our Dance program provides a unique opportunity for students to simultaneously develop individual and ensemble work as they improve their physical skills and artistic expression. Using movement to develop executive functioning and analytical skills, this program enables each student to improve their confidence and feel more in touch with the physical world.

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Identity, Culture, and Community

All arts programming at Friends Academy asks our young learners to explore and reflect on who they are, their relationship with their community, and the world at large. Our goal is that each student develops their skills, techniques, and passions – and that as they grow, they learn to find their voice and share it. Our students have gone out into the community and let their artistic lives speak through service opportunities like The Witness Project, Art Therapy, Music Therapy, and regular performances for local Senior Citizens. Regardless of where your child finds their passion within the arts, they will be a part of making the Friends Academy arts a visible presence for the entire community.

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Signature Programs


Honors Arts Seminar

The Honors Arts Program enables a student with a strong passion for art to engage with similarly dedicated artists in a program designed to develop their abilities as independent creators.  Beginning in ninth grade, students can formally apply to this program, where they are guided through designing self-directed projects, developing a mentor relationship, and learning to talk about their challenges and triumphs within the creative process.  Each student works from plan to presentation to individually to grow their critical thinking and reflection skills while they strengthen their creative voice, ultimately presenting it to peers, faculty, and the community.


Middle School Arts Week

In this long-standing annual tradition, we offer every Middle School student a week of Arts celebration and exploration.  Students can choose to participate in the Middle School play as either a cast or crew member, or engage in a variety of Arts workshops, including African Drumming, pinhole photography, sculpting with natural materials, musical improvisation, and more. Workshops are presented by guest artists and the Friends Academy faculty.  For this one joyous week, fifth through eighth graders meet new friends, learn new skills and find out more about themselves.  The week culminates in a huge sharing where students reflect on what they’ve learned and celebrate each other’s work, capped off with a celebratory performance of the Middle School play.




Should I Participate?

All NYSSMA Festivals are optional activities in which students elect to participate. Participation has no bearing on a student’s grade, and, in fact, is not a choice made by all students. Students must be prepared to set aside several months for steady practice prior to the festival date in order to be fully prepared.

Students must be motivated to practice and put in extra effort to participate in NYSSMA in order to do their best. It is suggested that students have a private teacher to prepare. While it is not required that a student have private instruction, it is understood that because not all students participate, the school music teacher has limited time to devote to NYSSMA preparation. School lesson time cannot be devoted to NYSSMA preparation.  


  • A great sense of accomplishment that hard work pays off, plus a prepared solo on the instrument of choice.  
  • An opportunity for someone to listen to the student’s musicianship and offer constructive help.  
  • A possible consideration for selection into the All County, All State Music and Long Island String (LISFA) Festivals the following school year.

Please consider carefully all of the above as you and your child decide on whether or not to embark on this musical experience. Once you have made your decision, please register online as soon as possible.

Festival Dates

*/**Levels 5-6 & ALL STATE – INSTRUMENTS and VOCAL*
Herricks High School: March 31 & April 1

*/**Levels 1-4 – VOICE or INSTRUMENTS and JAZZ PIANO (not Classical Piano)
Locust Valley High School: April 18 & 19            

Levels 1-6 – CLASSICAL PIANO (not Jazz Piano)
Molloy Public Square: May 17 & 18

Woodmere Middle School: May 19 & 20

Levels 1-6 HARP
Syosset High School: May 5 & 6

Holy Trinity High School: April 21 & 22
*Students will have to be in coordinating school music ensemble to participate.

**Fall 2023, the student will have to be in the corresponding ensemble voice-Chorus, strings-Orchestra, wind/brass/percussion-Wind Ensemble/Jazz Band in order to be eligible for All-County or All-State consideration. You may not sign up for an All-State audition if you do not participate in the corresponding ensemble.

Register for NYSSMA

Contact or 516-465-1734 if you have any questions about NYSSMA.

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