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Pius PAC

Performing Arts Academy

PAA-LOGO-2015Welcome to Pius XI Catholic High School Performing Arts Academy!

Dear Pius XI Performing Arts Academy family,

Over the past 10 years, we have been so proud to work with grade school musicians as they begin their lifelong love of playing music. To learn to play an instrument is to learn a completely new language and means of expression; it takes passion, patience and perseverance and the support of schools, parents and leaders. For all of this we are truly grateful.

You may not realize that for years, the difference in what we charged families and the cost of program delivery (staff, transportation, performances) has been covered by small grants as well as Pius XI Catholic High School’s operational budget. As health care benefits and insurance costs continue to rise, the programs continued to operate at an ever-increasing deficit.

Like many schools in the area, the pressures on the Pius XI budget are great and we have had to make the most difficult decision to deactivate the Academy’s instrumental music program for the 2018-19 school year. This decision was not taken lightly as the 10-year investment is a significant valued part of our school community. However, as faithful stewards of the funds entrusted to us, we can no longer operate a program which cannot not sustain itself.

Your student’s school has been made aware of this decision, and if you have already registered for the Academy this year your fees will be refunded directly from your school.

You as parents and families have been allies in giving your students an opportunity to use their God-given gifts and abilities to pursue excellence and achieve a higher potential. We could not have come this far without your support.

Our sincerest apologies for the sadness and inconvenience of this news. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Chief Financial Officer, Lynn Roskos, at 414.290.7000, or e-mail


Mark Ostap                                    Jack Herbert
Principal                                         Interim President


Our History

Founded a decade ago, the Performing Arts Academy (PAA) was formed by a small group of dedicated Pius XI faculty who felt beholden to our founding patronesses, the School Sisters of St. Francis. The School Sisters have nurtured and shaped the musical and cultural scene of southeastern Wisconsin for over 140 years. In the spirit of our founders, it became the mission of the PAA to provide quality performing arts education to elementary and middle school students in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who otherwise would not have access to such programs.

Our Programming

Instrumental Music
Grade schools contract with the Performing Arts Academy to hire and staff instrumental music teachers in their K-8 schools. We provide scoped and sequenced instrumental music curriculum that is delivered to students by certified and licensed music educators. Currently, more than 160 students receive instrumental lesson instruction in band and orchestra in nine grade schools. Students receive a lesson and an ensemble rehearsal once a week on their campus. They perform for their school concerts and liturgies. In addition, all PAA students come together twice a year to perform in “All-Academy” Concerts that takes place at the Father Robert V. Carney Performing Arts Center at Pius XI Catholic High School. The PAA also provides enhancement opportunities such as honors recitals, a Tri-M music festival, and even a performance at the “Ballpark Day of Faith.”

Vocal Music
In addition, the PAA offers vocal music enhancement programs such as “Christmas at the Cathedral” (where PAA vocal students come together to work with a guest director and perform on the Pius XI Christmas Concert), Voice Class (small group voice lesson instruction), and the Tri-M music festival for singers.

All PAA faculty members meet quarterly to discuss lesson planning, share ideas and coordinate programs. They are regularly observed and coached by both the Executive Director and Director of the Academy.

Theater and Dance
Since 2008, many grade schools have taken advantage of our PAA programs in theater and dance. Delivered largely in a workshop format, the PAA has provided activities such as: acting and improvisational classes, after school dance classes, play writing workshops and even provided staff and assistance in producing musical theater shows in the schools. In addition, the PAA hosts a “Dance Infusion” workshop for young dancers in local studios, and offers children’s shows that feature combined casting of PAA and Pius XI High School students. These shows perform matinees that are attended by our PAA and other local grade schools.

Our Impact

In its first nine years, the PAA has evolved into an exciting center of activity that offers affordable performing arts programs in Theater, Dance, Vocal and Instrumental music to grade school students in 10 Archdiocesan grade schools. In October of 2010, the PAA was featured in Momentum magazine, the official journal of the National Catholic Educational Association. In this publication, the PAA was recognized for its visionary leadership in providing arts education. Ms. Karen M. Ristau, NCEA President, had this to say about the featured programs:

These good leaders….have a powerful sense of purpose and know that vision does not come from the mountain top. A vision for the future emerges when people join as a team to imagine, when leaders invite others to join in creating a shared vision, and when multiple perspectives inform decision making to build long term effectiveness.