Wolf Trap Welcomes a New Class of Grantees with 13 New Performing Arts Projects

Wolf Trap Welcomes a New Class of Grantees with 13 New Performing Arts Projects
Feb 16, 2024

High School Students Will Perform at The Barns at Wolf Trap on April 25

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts has announced this year’s grantee projects, helmed by 13 public high school and middle school teachers across the DMV. Projects range in discipline and scope, pairing students with disabilities with student mentors, exploring cultural heritage through music and dance, and working with professional artists to create original compositions.

The grants are part of Wolf Trap’s Grants for Performing Arts Teachers, an annual program that issues financial awards to support area public school teachers who are working to bring new and exciting performing arts experiences to their students. All grantees and their students are invited to participate in a pre-professional day of learning at Wolf Trap; high school students are also invited to perform at The Barns at Wolf Trap on Thursday, April 25.

“Wolf Trap’s Grants for Performing Arts Teachers provides teachers with grants to fund innovative performing arts projects. Because of their grants, teachers can expand the scope of their projects, bring in professional artists, incorporate new technologies, or create additional resources, providing extra learning opportunities for their students,” said Cate Bechtold, Director, Internships and Community Programs for Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. “This year, we were able to extend this opportunity to middle school performing arts teachers, expanding the reach of our program to hundreds of new students and their teachers.”

Meet this year’s grantees and learn more about their projects:


“Capoeira and the Sister Arts of the Diaspora”

Grantee: Sharkey Andrews

School/County: McKinley Technology High School (DC Public Schools)

Project Details: Theater students at McKinley Technology High School will be empowered through learning the rich history and practices of the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira, the music and dance of maculelê, and the Brazilian folkloric theater tradition of Puxada De Rede. Students will study the importance of preserving cultural traditions and celebrate the resistance and resilience fostered by these art forms.

“Dance for a Change”

Grantee: Meredith Barnes

School/County: Fairfax High School (Fairfax County Public Schools)

Project Details: Through collaboration with a dance historian and guest artists from Imagination Stage, Fairfax High School students will choreograph small group pieces by drawing inspiration from American dance icons who used their work to address injustices. This will allow students to leverage the power of the arts as a means of social commentary.

“Rent: School Edition”

Grantee: Tony Cimino-Johnson

School/County: Rock Ridge High School (Loudoun County Public Schools)

Project Details: Under the guidance of professional theater artists and substance abuse counselors, students will craft an informed, advocacy-driven production of Rent and foster awareness around homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and substance abuse in their community. Students will also engage in a series of service projects through a local soup kitchen, a coat drive, and a partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

“United Sound”

Grantee: Patrick Fritz

School/County: Stone Bridge High School (Loudoun County Public Schools)

Project Details: United Sound at Stone Bridge High School aims to increase accessibility to music by pairing students with disabilities and general education music student mentors to provide instrumental instruction, support, and community building experiences. As mentors explore the pedagogy of their instrument and mentees begin to cultivate their musical artistry, the project serves to foster deeply meaningful relationships and create equitable opportunities and outcomes both in and out of the music classroom.

“Cultural Loops”

Grantee: Candis Gamble

School/County: Suitland High School (Prince George’s County Public Schools)

Project Details: The mission of Cultural Loops is to strengthen and unite Black and minority voices through the art of dance. With an artist-in-residence, students at Suitland High School will learn about the Dunham technique—a modern dance style with African and Caribbean cultural roots—and explore the intersection of choreography, storytelling, and injustice. Additionally, students in Suitland’s music technology class will create the musical backdrop for these dance performances.

“An Homage to Hip-Hop”

Grantee: Hannah Kerr

School/County: Albert Einstein High School (Montgomery County Public Schools)

Project Details: Albert Einstein High School is throwing a birthday party unlike any other. To celebrate 50 years of hip-hop, students will collaborate with guest artists and take workshops centered around the music, dance, and other cultural and artistic aspects of the genre as outlets for self-expression and social activism. These workshops will culminate in a two-night showcase of original performances and a Q&A session to engage the local community.

“Heritage Festival”

Grantee: Barry Moton

School/County: Anacostia High School (DC Public Schools)

Project Details: In preparation for its Heritage Festival in the spring, Anacostia High School will welcome a professional dancer, a drummer, and a theater artist to offer students an exploration of African American, Colombian, and Brazilian artistic traditions. After learning traditional music, dance, and storytelling techniques, students will create interdisciplinary works to explore the festival’s theme of “Borders”—whether that be the physical borders that influence the lives of immigrants or the metaphorical boundaries that often hinder cultural connections. Through this project, students will be empowered to become culturally aware, empathetic, and globally connected individuals.


“Mariachi Melodies: Exploring Spanish Heritage Through Music”

Grantee: Jacquima Caulton Burgess

School/County: Friendship Armstrong Public Charter School

Project Details: After learning about mariachi music, middle school choral students at Friendship Armstrong Public Charter School will share the vibrant world of mariachi with their community. Students will partake in workshops with teaching artists, culminating in a mariachi concert complete with a professional band.

“Musicians for a Change”

Grantee: Karine Chapdelaine

School/County: Groveton Elementary School (Fairfax County Public Schools)

Project Details: Sixth-grade orchestra students at Groveton Elementary School are creating and premiering a unique musical piece centered around student-identified social justice issues. Inspired by familiar melodies, students will use improvisation to compose variations, connected by original poetry. The piece will illustrate how music can be used as a tool for advocacy and self-expression.

“All My Heart”

Grantee: Tiffany Hitz

School/County: James W Robinson Secondary School (Fairfax County Public Schools)

Project Details: Composer Michael Markowski will work with band students at Robinson Secondary School as they learn his newest commission, All My Heart. Students will have the opportunity to connect with a professional composer and meaningfully engage with the composition process, allowing them to experience a new instrumental arrangement and explore the composer’s experience in creating work.

“Group Artist Lesson”

Grantee: Sandra Jean

School/County: Eliot-Hine Middle School (DC Public Schools)

Project Details: Beginning band musicians at Eliot-Hine Middle School will welcome resident artists who will provide instrument-specific guidance through a series of weekly lessons. The opportunity to connect with professional musicians will provide students with small group instruction on technique and musicianship and demonstrate that hard work and dedication can lead to a successful music career.


Grantee: Damaris Odebode and Erik Jacobs

School/County: Willard Middle School (Loudoun County Public Schools)

Project Details: “Choirpalooza” is Willard Middle School’s annual celebration of choral music that’s centered around an artistic theme selected by students. Singers will collaborate with professional musicians and a lighting designer to create an immersive concert experience for their local community.

“Go-Go Grooves for Justice: Generations Unite Through Past and Present Musical Narratives”

Grantee: Nicholas Prosini

School: Friendship Public Charter School

In this innovative go-go music education and performance initiative, teaching artists will engage band students in a series of interactive sessions that delve into the historical roots of go-go music and offer instruction on go-go performance technique, culminating in a final performance showcasing student compositions. By intertwining historical context with 21st-century societal challenges, the project aims to foster an understanding of the past and inspire critical thinking about current issues.

Wolf Trap’s annual grants program acknowledges high-quality instruction and performance achievements of public high school and middle school music, dance, and theater teachers. Awardees receive a financial grant in support of special projects that align with Wolf Trap’s performance and education priorities. For more information about Wolf Trap’s Grants program visit wolftrap.org/grants.

Thank you, General Dynamics, for making this program possible.