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Fine Arts

The Fine Arts staff at Cardinal O'Hara High School consists of exceptional and dedicated educators who branch across the wide breadth of performing and visual arts.

Fine Arts Department Overview

The Fine Arts staff at Cardinal O’Hara High School consists of exceptional and dedicated educators who branch across the wide breadth of performing and visual arts. Our educators have extensive experience in their fields- both in and outside of the classroom- which they actively employ while teaching their students. Courses range from beginner with no experience necessary, to advanced, rigorous courses which are designed to enrich our experienced students. In all scenarios, students are pushed and nurtured to grow as artists and as people. 

Our program allows all students the opportunity to shape and build a unique experience by choosing to take a wide variety of courses across any and all of the visual and performing arts. Students may create their own sequence in the arts where they may choose to be active in many disciplines or to specialize in one. Our educators work tirelessly to prepare those who choose a different career field to be active and appreciative of the arts in our world.  

Although New York State Regents requirements include one (1) credit of a fine art, most COHS students will complete many more prior to graduation. COHS believes the study of the arts is not only an important elemnet of a well rounded education, but also a critical element of human life. The arts are uniquely human and one of the most profound forms of expression. We believe all students have the right to this all important education. 

Fine Arts Department Goals

  1. To introduce students to a variety of artistic outlets thereby introducing O’Hara students to a well rounded education and appreciation for all the arts.
  2. To encourage students to ” think outside the box” and show them how to imagine or use their energies in creative ways. Whether it is choreographing a dance move, formulating an idea for a painting or photograph, finding that extra-special note in a choral arrangement or finding sounds within an instrument.
    Our main objective is to let each student find their inner self through some type of artistic expression and recognize how beautiful each individual is for what they are and what they can do.
  3. To provide the basic foundations on which to build an understanding of the arts. This is inclusive to vocabulary, theories, different artists, techniques, time periods and history in all arts (choral, visual, instrumental, dance). We encourage our students to learn not only with an actual hands on approach but reasons and ways musicians, artists, dancers and singers chose to do what they did and how this changed or enhanced our modern day arts.

COHS Performing Arts Center

The COHS Performing Arts center is home to performances by the COHS band, chorus and song corps as well as a yearly musical, monthly masses and various awards assemblies.

The PAC has recently undergone upgrades including new lighting, sound, seating and carpeting as well the installation of air conditioning.

In addition, we have recently restored our Baldwin D 9″ Concert Grand Piano and look forward to show casing it this year. 

The PAC is available for rental. Click here for more information or contact the Advancement Office at 695-2600 ext. 312 for more information. 

Fine Arts Class Information

Mr. Colin Sperrazza
Department Chair

  • Chorus
  • Song Corps
  • Music Theory
  • Concert Band
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Individual Instruction

Ms. Katie Calarco

  • Dance 

Mr. Troy Furco

  • Studio in Art
  • Digital Photography
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Graphic Design


Course Descriptions

Visual Arts

A broad range of media used and experimented with as well as an art history component that helps students understand the timeline of art throughout history up until today’s contemporary art.

This course will allow the serious art student time to develop individual skills on an independent basis. Students will develop a theme or medium to guide their indepth exploration for the year. Art history and current trends in art will be discussed and explored through selected projects. Portfolio preparation for college acceptance will also be taught with emphasis on matting, photographing work, and presentation.

A course that looks at basic drawing techniques such as charcoal, soft pastel, pen and ink, and collage. Painting is also practiced using watercolor, acrylic and tempera. This is a fun class that also discusses art history in depth.

Advanced drawing and painting supports the student who wants to pursue a college major in the visual arts compile a portfolio of assorted works using various mediums.

This course will allow students to explore the history of photography and the different skills and techniques involved with taking photographs. Digital photography & film will be used, and students will learn how photography evolved to where it is today. Students will learn how to tell a story, capture a moment, and even sell a product during this course.

A course, which incorporates photography, media, the elements of art, principles of design, traditional art media, computer design such as Photoshop and endless possibilities of creating unique art pieces.

Performing Arts

This is Cardinal O’Hara’s beginner band. Students in Concert Band do not need prior musical experience to join. Students have the opportunity to learn a new instrument, or expand upon what they already know. They will learn about basic musical elements and how to play in an ensemble setting. Students also attend weekly lessons in small groups. 

This is Cardinal O’Hara’s advanced band. Students in Wind Ensemble refine the skills they have learned on their instruments, perform various styles of music, and learn numerous musical elements in an ensemble setting. Students also attend weekly lessons in small groups.

This course is designed to introduce and expound upon the “whys” and “hows” of music. Starting from the most basic elements of music with notes on the staff, rhythm, clefs, keys, and meter, the course quickly moves into the way all of these are combined to create melody and harmony. We analyze music, learn the rules (and how they are broken), and compose some of our own. Knowledge and skills learned in this class will give students the necessary tools to not only understand what they are hearing and seeing while listening to or performing music, they will also be able to understand how to compose music and learn instruments such as piano or guitar with more ease. While being a member of an ensemble (band or chorus) is not required for enrollment, it is highly recommended.

Mixed Chorus

This is arguably the most visible ensemble in Cardinal O’Hara. Song Corps is our advanced chorus which requires the successful completion of Mixed Chorus with teacher recommendation or for transfer/advanced freshmen, an audition or teacher recommendation for entry. Song Corps not only performs on at least two concerts per year, but we also serve as the school’s mass choir who sings on monthly masses. Frequently, the ensemble goes on overnight/weekend trips where we not only perform, but also tour. This includes our tri-annual Disney trip. Students in Song Corps will be challenged with high level repertoire, rigorous rehearsals, and rewarded with lasting friendships, memories, and outstanding performances. Students may wish to audition for All-County, Area All-State, and All-State ensembles. All students who are enrolled in Song Corps will receive weekly small group lessons.

Classes consist of ballet, modern, tap, jazz and hip-hop styles.  Each marking period different styles will be studied. The students will learn dances and combinations as well as important choreographers and the history of those styles.  The students also have performance opportunities throughout the year.

A two year program based on the National Restaurant Association ProStart® program, and is open to juniors and seniors. The course provides an introduction to restaurant management, hospitality and beginning and advanced culinary techniques. Completion of both years can result in college credit at local community college culinary programs. Whether a student plans a career in the restaurant industry, is seeking a leg up for temporary or summer employment, or simply wishes to begin their adult life with knowledge of the essentials of cooking – this program is for you.