High School Music
Description of Dept/Philosophy
The NHS Music Department is one part academic program and one part performing arts company, with well over a hundred NHS students performing in its three large ensembles and many chamber groups each year. First and foremost, we serve an important educational role, helping our students to develop creativity, perceptiveness, self-expression, responsibility and a thirst for excellence, traits that help them achieve success in other subjects and fulfillment in life.
We also serve a functional role for the school and community, as our musicians perform high quality music at over 20 events, ceremonies and gatherings each year, both on campus and off. We help fulfill music’s role as an indispensable part of our cultural life, helping people celebrate, mourn, dance in joy and heal pain.
NHS Music is also in many ways an extended family. Older students and alumni shepherd in younger students, who fearlessly blaze their own trails. Parents tirelessly offer support, advocacy and much more. Our family wouldn’t function without any of these parts, and we’re thankful for every one of them.
Many of our students are selected to perform each year with honor ensembles at the local, state and national level, as well as in Europe, and have gone on to study at Juilliard, Berklee, Princeton, Oberlin, Ithaca and many more of the finest colleges and universities in the country.
John O’Briant has taught at NHS since 2006, where he conducts the wind and jazz bands and serves as the Arts and Wellness Curriculum Corrdinator. He has degrees in music education and conducting from Connecticut College and Radford University, and has studied with composer/conductor Mark Camphouse and NY Philharmonic staff conductor Michael Adelson.
A teacher since 2001, Amy Cortright has directed the NHS Chorus since coming to Norwell in 2006, where she works full-time in the mathematics department teaching calculus and algebra. She previously directed the Duxbury HS Madrigal Singers, founded and directed the A Cappella Singers at Avon Middle High School, ad coordinated performances of colonial era a cappella music at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Mrs. Cortwright studied at McGill University with Montreal Symphony Chorus director Iwan Edwards.