Music, poetry, and prose celebrated the achievements of black Americans.
At Pingry, we believe that music is an indispensable part of a well-rounded education. With that in mind, we offer students the opportunity to study vocal and instrumental music as well as music theory, addressing the needs of both experienced and experimental musicians through individualized and group instruction.
Our performance courses expose students to a wide range of musical styles and genres, from J.S. Bach to Duke Ellington, as we believe that a strong foundation in the classic repertoire not only allows students to experience musical performance with greater understanding, but also encourages them to explore other musical styles and textures.
No background in music? Don’t worry! Many of our programs require no more than a commitment to consistent rehearsal and performance attendance. Eager to take your skills to the next level? Our department includes professional musicians who offer students private study in particular instruments or vocals.
For course descriptions, please refer to the Curriculum Guide .
To listen to past music performances and view photos, please browse the Pingry website and the Multimedia Gallery.
Middle and Upper School
Pingry offers Middle and Upper School students a host of ways to catch the beat including 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Bands, and Upper School Wind Sinfonia. Jazz Ensemble is an Upper School elective. All groups hold performances throughout the year and all ensembles perform at the Winter Festival concert in December and the Spring Festival concert in May.
Upper School bands also perform at a separate instrumental concert in the spring and the Jazz Ensemble performs at the Upper School Ensembles Concert in November well as at other concerts, both at Pingry and in the community.
Basking Ridge Campus Band Director: Sean McAnally
Lower School students begin to experience the joy of music through a variety of general music classes and performance in music ensembles. Fourth- and fifth-grade students may also begin playing a band or string instrument, developing their skills in the Lower School Band and its yearly music concerts.
Pingry offers Upper School students numerous ways to find their voice! The Men's and Women's Glee Clubs are open to all boys and girls in Forms III-VI, while membership in the Balladeers and Buttondowns, our more selective girls’ and boys’ a cappella groups, is gained through spring and fall auditions. Each ensemble contains approximately 18-22 female or male singers among grades 9 and 12. And all perform many genres of music: a cappella madrigals; a cappella and accompanied classical music; music in foreign languages; world and traditional music; and popular repertoire in the college a cappella group style.
Women's Chorus Director: Jay Winston
Men's Chorus Director: Dr. Andrew Moore
Middle School students can also have their voices heard through the Girls' and Boys' Choruses, comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. Music is mandatory for one trimester, and students will participate in at least one concert. Eighth grade students have the option to participate for a full year.
The 6th Grade Boys' and Girls' Choruses meet for a full year and participants perform in the winter and the spring music concerts.
Boys' Chorus Director: Dr. Andrew Moore
Grade Girls' Chorus Director: Jay Winston
In Grade 4, students are introduced to the joys of group performance. Our Lower Chorus is part of the music curriculum and offers students the opportunity to sing in an ensemble, learn the fundamentals of music, and perform in school concerts.
Lower School Directors: Patty Finn, Tom Berdos
Lower, Middle and Upper School
Love music, but lack a background in the discipline? Our Handbells classes are a wonderful way to get your feet wet, offering students the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of music and perform in an ensemble. We begin with important music basics such as rhythm, meter, tempo, and pitch and progress to learning, rehearsing, and performing a variety of music written for handbells.
Handbells is offered as a scheduled trimester elective for 8th grade students and has one major performance per trimester.
Teacher: Jay Winston
Upper and Middle School
At the Basking Ridge campus, strings are the thing! In the Middle School, 6th and 7th grade students rehearse separately from the 8th graders, but combine at the concert as the Middle School String Orchestra. Middle School students who choose orchestra/strings as their music option will rehearse during conference period (CP). The Upper School String Orchestra welcomes any student who plays a string instrument and rehearses during CP.
Teacher: Vera Izano
Students at the Short Hills Campus can begin to experience the pleasure of String Orchestra in the 4th and 5th grades; beginners are accepted.
Teacher: Caryn Lane