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Pius PAC


Performing Arts

The Performing Arts Program at Pius XI Catholic High School is designed to enable students to:

  • Perform a wide variety of repertoire, both alone and in groups.
  • Authentically communicate the message of the repertoire, using appropriate technical and interpretive tools.
  • Develop a working understanding of the collaborative nature of group performance.
  • Describe, analyze and evaluate the meaning of a wide variety of repertoire and media.
  • Develop a sense of their artistic potential.
  • Understand and express other points of view—social, cultural, historical, etc.—through performance.
  • Find beauty and power in the performing arts.

Program Highlights:

  • A full four-year, scoped and sequenced curricular program in Dance, Drama, Vocal and Instrumental Music that ranges from absolute beginner, to college audition major preparation and AP Music Theory.
  • State-of-the-Art Father Robert V. Carney Performing Arts Center featuring the 500 seat Wendy Joy Lindsey Theater.
  • More than 150 various performance opportunities each academic school year including: concert performances, musicals, plays, dance recitals, liturgical service, Wisconsin School Music Festivals, Community Performances, Opera Scenes and even a Madrigal Dinner.
  • Pius XI is one of the most highly awarded programs in the state, receiving Tommy Awards for Outstanding Musical, Best Direction, Best Musical Direction, Best Choreography, Best Set and Lighting Design, and many Outstanding Lead Performers. Our Comedy Sportz team has been the high school league champions 4 times in the past 10 years
  • Our combined total of Wisconsin School Music Association Honors Project students ranks Pius XI High School as the #1 private school in the state for Accepted Honors Students, and one of the top ten among all public and private schools in the state.
  • Our Performing Arts students have received millions of dollars in academic and merit scholarships to attend some of the most prestigious performing arts programs in the country.
  • Pius XI students perform with NYU summer music theater intensive program, Boston Conservatory summer musical theater dance intensive, NAfME all-national honor choir, all national Catholic Honor choir, First Stage, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy, The Sunset Playhouse Rising Star Program, ComedySportz, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus and the Florentine Opera.

For a complete list of courses and descriptions for the 2023-24 school year, click here to access our curriculum guide.

Performing Arts Faculty

  • David Barker – Instrumental Music
  • Miguel Barrenechea – Instrumental Music
  • Tina Coe – Dance
  • Talia Hyatt – Choral Music
  • Kate Sarner – Theater

Visual Arts

“Learning to think creatively in one discipline opens the door to understanding creative thinking in all disciplines. We believe it is the creative thinkers among us who will become the visionaries of tomorrow.” Pat Frederick, visual arts faculty.

The Visual Arts Program at Pius XI Catholic High School is designed to:

  • Help students recognize that art is primarily a means of communication.
  • Empower students with the ability to communicate visually with honesty and accuracy by giving them the necessary thinking and technical skills to discover their own voice.
  • Help students to respond thoughtfully, analytically, sensitively and critically to the voice of others.
  • Help students interact intelligently and responsibly with a culture that is increasingly becoming more visually adept.
  • Be taken all four years. The four year sequential curriculum begins with a solid foundation in technical visual skills. Creative thinking skills are added gradually until students become adept at problem Eventually, by senior year, our students learn how to formulate their own problems and to work independently. Most students begin their art studies at Pius XI with little or no art background.

Tradition of Excellence:

  • Pius XI visual art scholars are routinely offered more than $3 million in college scholarships each year.
  • In an era of diminishing resources when many schools are reducing or eliminating the arts, our commitment to the “artist-scholar” remains unwavering.
  • The program has produced five Presidential Scholars and numerous merit and scholarship awards through the YoungArts Competition (ARTS), the nation’s most prestigious art award. In the past eight years alone, we have had 11 YoungArts National Finalists, as well as seven National Scholastic Arts Portfolio Gold Medal winners and more than 100 National Scholastic Silver Portfolio Winners.
  • The quality of instruction by the art faculty has been recognized by invitation to the White House five times since 1995, and has been recognized for excellence by the Education Department of Harvard University and the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools and has been the subject of 2 doctoral dissertations.
  • Pius XI graduates pursuing post-secondary education in art can be found in some of the country’s most prestigious art programs including Art Center, The Rhode Island School of Design, the Maryland Institute College of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Washington University and Tufts University.

For a complete list of courses and descriptions for the 2022-23 school year, click here to access our curriculum guide.

Art Faculty

  • Catherine Burnett, NBCT
  • Danielle Gagliano
  • Anne Harvey
  • Meghan McKale
  • Vivian Reiter
  • Will Swenson