Moses Brown Versatones perform at Gloria Gemma 5K

November 13, 2016

By Abby M. ‘17.

I have been singing with the Versatones, Moses Brown’s student-led a capella group since my freshman year, and I am now a senior. We had the opportunity to perform the National Anthem at the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Awareness 5K in Providence, RI. I can remember doing this same performance four years ago, as a freshman. I recall being so nervous but very excited to be a part of this tradition. We sang sophomore year again, and when one of my fellow leaders helped organize it this year, that same excitement returned. I saw this elation in the new members of our group, and witnessing it was a moment of immense pride.

4Breast cancer is an illness that has affected many people and their families. Two women in my family have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so to attend this race and to see the camaraderie between those who participate is compelling. Those who are still battling breast cancer, survivors, or family members who have lost loved ones come together in an incredibly inspiring way, in pink workout gear, to celebrate their lives.

To be a part of such a positive custom, celebrating incredibly unyielding survivors and families during my final year here at Moses Brown, was an honor.


The Path, a poem


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As part of middle school’s preparation for Sarah Kay’s event here today, seventh graders have been writing poetry. In class, they read poetry like Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son” and various Sarah Kay poems. Seventh graders also wrote their own poems with metaphors. We’re pleased to … Continue reading

Setting the Stage

Located at the center of our 33-acre campus, this 34,000-square-foot multifunctional facility is designed to be the physical heart of Moses Brown. Sitting at the crossroads of all three divisions, it connects to a fully-renovated Walter Jones Library and will become the new social, artistic, intellectual, and spiritual hub of campus.

The Woodman Center can be quickly reconfigured for performances, meeting for worship, art and cultural exhibitions, and social functions – and with a lobby café, new classrooms, costume and scene shops, and professional-grade sound and lighting, it is poised to transform life at Moses Brown.

Chloe Johnston 2

Chloe Johnston ’95, performer, professor, writer, director

“Like a lot of little girls, I wanted to be an actress. I was in A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep for years! At MB, I loved theater classes with Barry Marshall. But playwriting class changed things for me – suddenly we weren’t just interpreting a story, but creating the story. After MB, I headed to the University of Chicago – it seemed like a place for weird people, so it might be good for me. Young artists can take chances there. I started a company with my friends, and suddenly we were in American Theatre magazine. We had a good script, and people paid attention.

For me, it goes back to those early days in the Chicago ensemble scene, creating and performing tons of work every week. We didn’t choose between writing, performing, and directing. We did it all. Now that I teach acting, I sneak in a little devised work, encouraging students to make their own text, not to see themselves as ‘just’ actors. That mindset started in Barry’s classes at MB.

I also learned a lot from Tom Andrew. Jamie German made a huge impression on me: her honesty, her rigor, the way she lives her life…such an inspiration. In Jamie’s Seminar on Scientific Thought, we read texts that were so beautiful, they’re still with me now. Moses Brown also taught me that part of being a good teacher is simply listening to your students.”

A carnival of animals visits Moses Brown

Poems, music, and animal crackers! What could be better?

By Hilary Major, LS, MS, US strings instructor

Carnival of the Animals is a well loved piece of music, by both children and adults. When Camille Saint-Saens wrote it in 1886 he would not let it be published while he was alive. He thought it was just for fun and he did not think it was serious enough to be published. He left instructions in his will that the piece could be published once he died and so, after Saint-Saen’s death in 1921, the piece was published. Ogden Nash wrote poems to go along with the suite in 1949. Often the poems are read along with the performances of the music. I bought an arrangement of the piece for string orchestra a few years ago to do with the orchestra, and while I was studying the score and looking through YouTube videos of various performances. I found some great clips of the poems being read by Roger Moore. I thought it would be great to have a middle school drama class read the poems while we performed the music for lower school. Then, while walking through lower school after school one day, I saw in the snack cabinet some animal crackers, and it all came together. Poems, music and animal crackers, what could be better?

Exploring identity through Corita Kent-inspired art

Under the guidance of the upper school Student Diversity Leadership Conference attendees, 8th grade students engaged in an activity about the multiple identities we each possess. Students were led to think about these identities—which receive the most attention in the media, which are overlooked, which they value most, etc.–and share their thoughts with one another to raise their collective awareness of the issues and struggles we have in common.

The 8th grade Studio Art classes then were asked to choose one issue from the presentation which spoke loudest to them and then created graphic, pop-art collages – inspired by the work of ’60’s,’70’s artist-activist, Corita Kent.

-Cathy Van Lancker, visual arts instructor

Art for Social Justice

By Maureen Nagle, middle school English teacher

After reading To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking about issues of racial prejudice and institutional racism in the novel, our seventh graders then took part in a three-week intensive investigation of racial justice issues in America today.

Students reflected upon aspects of their own identities, considered their exposure to other races through a racial diet exercise, and read articles about the race-related issues in Ferguson, North Charleston and right here in Providence.

Upper school students then led a workshop called “Art for Social Justice” to teach seventh graders about spoken-word poetry and the power of poetry to speak our truths. Seventh graders then worked with partners to write original racial justice poems.

Our unit culminated with our racial justice poetry slam where students courageously took to the stage and wowed their audience with powerful poems that only inspired us to continue our work for racial justice. (See an example of the student work via the YouTube video above.)